3 Small Local Businesses That Rock Facebook


Facebook has many options to help out small local businesses. Here are 3 businesses in the Ottawa Valley that are engaging their customers on Facebook and doing it very well.

Odi’s Kingburger

Odi’s Kingburger is a small, family-run, drive-thru, burger joint in Renfrew, Ontario. Their Facebook Page is the right mixture of professional, personal and interaction with customers. They hold regular contests with their fans and their followers post photos of their food and tag Odi’s in them. They have really embraced social media and it’s worked well for them.

The Rainbow Heritage Gardens

Rainbow Heritage Gardens is an organic farm in Cobden, Ontario. They deliver vegetables weekly all over the valley during the season. They update their Facebook newsfeed at least every day with beautiful photos and updates of their farm life and recipes. They create the story behind their product with their Facebook Page.

Skylight Drive-In

Skylight Drive-in is a theatre in Pembroke, Ontario. They are the only drive-in theatre in the Ottawa Valley. Their Facebook page is constantly updated with the new features. They also engage their followers by asking questions and getting feedback. Skylight also uses Facebook to post their Frequently Asked Questions. Since they are a seasonal business it’s important to take advantage of the time they are open and build those relationships.

What can you take away for your business?

When you have a Facebook Page it’s important to interact with your customers on a regular basis. Making a social media marketing plan and stick to it. Make sure you use eye-catching content in your posts. Post like images, videos and contests bring in views.

If you need help with your Facebook Page, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Why You Need A Facebook Page For Your Business

Facebook Scrabble

Have you been thinking about taking the plunge and setting up a Facebook page for your business? Are you still on the fence about creating one?

You’ll probably notice that other businesses in your town are on Facebook, maybe even your competition. Facebook has 1.09 billion active users every day, as of April 2016. That’s a lot of potential clients you could be connecting with.

The advantages of a Facebook business page

A Facebook business page will increase your exposure to your potential clients. With all those active users, so many of them are searching Facebook for businesses that they will need. If you aren’t online you won’t be able to compete.

The cost for starting a Facebook page is free. This can help lower your overall marketing costs for your business. Their online advertising is fairly inexpensive depending on your audience and it’s much easier to hit your target audience.

Having a Facebook page helps build your business’ brand. Building your brand with an authentic voice is important and a business page gives you this opportunity. Having familiar graphics mirrored on your page gives your brand consistency.

Facebook pages help with your Search Engine Optimization and your website. Search engines quickly index Facebook pages making your page searchable and helps potential clients find you. Your page can also drive customers to your website bringing up page views there.

Facebook has a great insights page. It allows you to track user interaction on your page. You can also see when your fans are online to better plan when you are going to post. There are many factors you can track like your fan’s demographics.

Sharing content about your business is super easy. Sharing photos, links, and live video allows you so much flexibility. There is a scheduling feature built right in so you can easily plan out ahead of time. This lets you create a proper marketing plan.

If you need help with setting up your Facebook page, creating meaningful content or setting up a Facebook ad campaign please contact me.

10 Brands That Use Instagram Like A Boss!

Instagram Cameras

Here’s a list of awesome brands that have great accounts. They use different techniques to draw attention and followers.

If you are looking for ways to improve your Instagram account, it good to study a few people who you like. Do they use beautiful imagery that ties in their brand? Or do they engage people with contests or conversation? Most accounts don’t take themselves too seriously and have fun with it.


Sue B. Zimmerman helps people manage their Instagram accounts. Her images have a colour theme and are just fun to look at but her images also have helpful advice to grow your followers on your account.


Canada Soccer’s Instagram account follows different Canadian soccer athletes. They have posted a wonderful mix of marketing materials as well as on the fly behind the scenes photos. Keeping up to date as a fan is fun this way.

A photo posted by Canada Soccer (@canadasoccer) on


Karen Kavett is a DIY Youtuber. Her Instagram features her DIY projects and bits and pieces of her personal life thrown in there. She has an eye for colours and definitely is following her personal brand.

A photo posted by Karen Kavett (@karenkavett) on


Jamie Oliver’s Instagram is filled with foodie goodness. He makes good use of the video feature to showcase his Youtube videos in a teaser format. Food is always an Instagram favourite.

A photo posted by Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) on


Goulet Pens sells premium fountain pens to enthusists online. Their Instagram account is filled with wonderful handwriting, pens and stationary that would make anybody drool. They use a lot of bright colour in their photography.

A photo posted by Goulet Pens (@gouletpens) on


House of Targ is a pinball arcade that serves perogies in Ottawa, Canada. The retro graphics used are so much fun and really matches their brand. House of Targ is all about fun.

A photo posted by House of TARG (@houseoftarg) on


Pantone is a colour communication and inspiration company. Their Instagram account is really creative and inspiring. They use their colour swatches in their photography. It’s really important to have fun with Instagram and Pantone does.

A photo posted by PANTONE (@pantone) on


Vega is a plant-based nutrition company. Their account has different recipes that focus on their products and vegan living as well as active living. The photos are beautiful and have a clear style that keeps their Instagram account consistent.

A video posted by Vega (@vega_team) on


Ottawa 2017 is an event account for Canada’s 150th anniversary. This Instagram account is filled with beautiful tourist photos from around the city and some of the preparations for the event. This is a great way to raise anticipation of an event.

A photo posted by Ottawa 2017 (@ottawa_2017) on


Sharpie has a wonderful Instagram account filled with sketches, crafts and Sharpie markers. Some of the images are fan submitted which adds to the interactive element. Talking to your followers is really what Instagram is about.

A photo posted by @sharpie on

Explore Instagram for accounts that you love and take a look to see what makes them great. You can learn so much from other’s example.

Please follow my Instagram account at highfivecreative.

*followers as of June 2016.

What Makes An Awesome Business Logo?

Awesome Business Logo

So are you thinking about having a logo designed for your business? Or are you wondering if the logo you already have is awesome? But you’re not a designer and don’t know what to do.

The logo for your business is a major branding element. This decision is up there with choosing a business name. Your customers will see your logo over and over again and if it’s awesome, they will identify with it. A bad logo can break your business’ brand. Here’s some helpful information to educate yourself before talking to a designer.

Logos are made up of shapes, colours and type treatments. There are 5 major types of logos:

  • Symbols or Icons are logos made up of imagery.
  • Wordmarks are usually the business’ name designed with an appropriate type treatment.
  • Letter Marks are a logo that’s made up of letters. Signing your initials on a document is a cruder version of this.
  • Combination Marks are logos made up of any combination of these different types. Usually a symbol with the business name next to it.
  • Emblems are logos that have emphasis on the brand name within the design. A lot of sports teams use this kind of logo.

Now that you understand the types of logos. Let’s see what qualities make up an awesome business logo:

  • Not trendy. You want a logo that stands the test of time. If it’s too trendy it will quickly become tired. Ever look at the logos from TV shows in the 90’s. They look silly now but back then they were “cool” right?
  • Original. A logo needs to stand out among your peers and competition. You want your target market to be able to recognize you. It’s a good idea to look at your competition’s logos. You don’t want your logo to look like these.
  • No clichés. Authentic and original is the way to go. You don’t want to be gimmicky.
  • Simplistic. I have found that less is more with logos. If someone only sees your logo for a second, will they see your brand or only a bit of the logo? The logo will also look good big or small, which is really important.
  • No clipart. Just no clipart.

You might be thinking that designing a logo sounds easy but hiring a graphic designer is so important. I have a post detailing why your business needs a graphic designer.

Before you talk to your designer, here are some important things to consider. They will save you money in the long run.

  • Where will you be using your logo? Do you need it on your cheques, website, email newsletter, store sign, billboards, newspaper ads, t-shirts, embroidered or etched items? This is very important information for your designer.
  • Will you be sending out your logo to other designers? You should consider your designer writing up even a simple brand guideline for your logo. This gives instructions on how to use the logo within the brand. This is important for keeping consistency within your business’ brand. Here’s an example of a brand guideline for Skype.

There are always exceptions to the rule but generally, these rules are important. If you interested in hiring a freelance graphic designer, please contact me and I can help make your business’ logo awesome.

Blogging is Good for Small Business


Do you wonder if your small business should start a blog? Is it worth the extra time and effort?

It seems like everybody who has a business website has a blog. As a small business owner, the appeal would be the low cost. The cost of a blog is the time investment for all your writing and creation of other content. Being organized and having systems in place you can write up a blog on a weekly basis pretty easily.

Here are some of the benefits of having a business blog:

  1. It will increase your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Good SEO will bring up your website’s listing on Google. If you keep your blog updated with fresh relevant content it gives Google something to crawl. Keeping your business high in Google search results makes it easier for customers to find you on Google.
  2. It gives readers a look into your personality and business. Being able to look behind the scenes it quite helpful. People hire people they like and know. When people are able to read your blog they feel like they know you even if you’ve never met.
  3. Establishing yourself as an expert. If you allow readers to see what you do or give advice you will start to establish trust with your readers and future customers. You don’t want to give people so much information that they don’t need your business but helping people so they even know how to hire you is a good idea.
  4. Your blog is working even when you’re on holidays. Most businesses are not open all the time. Having a website with a blog will allow visitors to read up on you even when you are not available.
  5. The content is owned by you. All the content you write, you own. Some businesses use the content to create e-books for profit. Writing posts over time grows your content into something much larger.

Fitbit is a great example of a company blog. It’s a health blog, focusing on nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Which supports their product which monitors these things. They also are able to post about their company culture which is a trust builder. While Fitbit is a large business and posts very frequently, I think there’s a lot a small business can take away from their example. Beautiful on-brand posts with relevant information is what every small business should strive for.

If you are thinking about creating a website and blog for your business please contact me.

Should Your Website Be Responsive?

Responsive Website

Have you been thinking about having a website designed for your business? Or maybe you already have a website but everyone has been telling you it has to be responsive and you’re not sure exactly what that means?

Responsive websites are designed to be viewed effectively on your desktop computer, laptop, tablet and cell phone with ease and comfort. This is achieved through the code by scaling images, text, video and other content depending on the screen size.

If you ever have viewed a website not optimized on your cell phone, you will understand the frustration. You have to pinch in to read the text and scroll left and right. It’s not fun at all. I’ve left websites for this reason alone.

If you aren’t sure if your website is responsive there are a few online tools to help you out. One is Responsive Test. There are many different devices to test your website on.

Here’s 3 reasons why your website should be responsive:

  1. Better Business Owner Experience. As a business owner, time is money and the less time you spend updating your website or paying someone else to do it the better. With a responsive website, you have one update only. A responsive website will grow with the times as well. As newer devices come out on the market, your website will be adaptable. All these things save you money over time.
  2. Search Engine Optimization. Google puts mobile users first. If your website doesn’t have a mobile-friendly option, google will drop you in their search rankings. This means that if you are a pizza restaurant and someone Googles “pizza Ottawa”, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you will drop below the others that are. You could miss out on potential clients.
  3. Great User Experience. A responsive website will engage viewers regardless of what device they choose to use. More and more people are using their mobile devices on the go to get directions or call a business. You don’t want to lose out on business because your website isn’t ready for this.

You should take all these things into consideration if you are having your website redesigned or if you starting out with a new website. If you need a designer to work on your website, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Graphic Designer

Desk View

Have you been wondering if you should hire a graphic designer? Have you been wondering if you can afford it?

When you’re starting out with your business, you can save some headaches by hiring a graphic designer from the beginning.

Graphic Designers save you time

How much is your time worth? You probably don’t have time to learn a new skill. A professional knows the software and gets it finished in a timely manner. They understand typography and colour theory. Knowing Photoshop does not make you a designer and your time is better spent taking care of your business.

Graphic Designers save you money

All the proper software that a designer owns is pretty pricey and usually isn’t practical for one-time use. Professional work gets noticed both online and offline. Bad design is very costly in the end. If your logos are designed in the wrong program, they might be low resolution and in the wrong colour format. Printers will charge extra to fix these problem files if they are sent to them. Hiring a graphic designer will make you sidestep these issues. A graphic designer doesn’t have to be on your payroll, they can freelance.

Graphic Designers gets your brand seen

A professional designer knows how to keep your brand consistent across all platforms. If you have brand guidelines, your designer knows how to follow them. When your demographic can recognize you from your competition, it’s like money in the bank. Their experience and education will help your business be more authentic with your customers.

Graphic Designers give your business
a professional edge

If you have a professional logo, stationary, business cards and website, you will make a great first impression. These impressions are made on clients, vendors and employees. When your presentation matches your brand it might make all the difference in winning that sales pitch. It’s the small things that give your business that edge.

Graphic Designers give good advice

A good designer can recommend different methods to save money on printing and other services. It’s always good to be upfront about your budget. Designers understand how to work around a budget. We are also creative people with some fresh ideas.

Are you interested in hiring a freelance graphic designer? Please contact me and I can help make your business awesome.

Kate Spade & Co.

Kate Spade

Kate Spade & Co. is one of my favourite fashion and housewares brands. Some of the things that come to mind when I think of the brand are patterns especially polka dots, cute dresses, handbags and their social media marketing.

Kate Spade & Co. is an American fashion house that started in 1993 selling beautiful handbags. Their main target market at the time was upper-middle-class women. Her first shop opened in Soho, New York City in 1996. In 2004, they had expanded to 13 stores all over the United States. While originally only selling handbags, the company expanded to sell stationary, organizers, eyewear, pyjamas, umbrellas, and shoes.

Later on, they expanded to a full women’s clothing line, bedding, and home decor. Kate Spade now has over 175 stores around the world and sold in more than 450 stores internationally. The company is now owned by Liz Claiborne.

Kate Spade has a very distinctive brand voice and social media allows it to be heard in a much more authentic way. It allows their audience to take part in the brand by tagging, pinning, liking, tweeting and following. Kate Spade was an early adopter of Social Media and it’s been one of their best marketing decisions.

The following are Kate Spade’s social media accounts:

Looking through all the accounts you can pinpoint three different types of posts they use. Each type together creates a balanced marketing plan that keeps the viewer interested and isn’t always selling to the customer.

Featured Product Post

This type of post, is showcasing their product (or a service). It’s usually a well polished photo that has magazine quality.

honey, we shrunk the hayden! a favorite handbag, now made adorably mini: http://bit.ly/1TVm1fU(bonus: a crossbody strap means it's practical, too!)

Posted by kate spade new york on Monday, February 15, 2016

Event Post

This post is a behind the scenes of an event. Usually a photo that could have been taken on a phone. This gives the audience the feeling of being right there or maybe their best friend just posted their weekend photos. Authenticity is key for this type of post. It’s selling the brand more than a specific product.

Storytelling Post

Their #missadventure videos come to mind in this category. They star Anna Kendrick in her adventures around New York while wearing Kate Spade. They are quirky, fun and targeted towards women in their 20’s. The story might span more than one post, helping people come back for more. These posts are designed to get likes and be shared. They are brand building and loyalty posts.

What can you take away for your business?

Don’t underestimate a good social media plan for your business. Look at having consistence posts that are a combination of featured product/service, events and storytelling. Don’t feel confined to these either. Social media is always evolving and so is your business. Just make sure your posts are not constant selling to your audience. People don’t respond well to that.

If you need help with your social media, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Branding Icon is a series of case studies with the intention of looking at the branding techniques of exceptional businesses. All the logos and other marketing materials are owned by Kate Spade & Co. High Five Creative was not involved in the creation of these assets.

Google Images Are Not For Free Use

Stock Images

Let me repeat, Google Images are not for free use. It is literally just a search engine for any images on the internet. This can land you in a lot of trouble down the road.

Recently I read this blog post “The $7,500 Blogging Mistake That Every Blogger Needs to Avoid!“. It’s a cautionary tale about using a random google image in your blog and how you can be sued. It’s not good practice to take and use random images from Google Image for your business’ use.

So you want to know how to avoid this trap? Just don’t do it. Here are some good alternatives.

  1. Create your own images. Learn to take your own photos. There is a lot of weekend photography courses out there. If you are only using the photos online on your blog, newer cell phones have great cameras built right in. You might have all the equipment you need already.
  2. Hire a photographer or designer. When you hire a professional make sure you own the rights to use the images in the way you would like to. One tip, if you own a blog and have an editorial calendar, you can batch your images with a professional and have the same look across all of them.
  3. Images you have licenses for. You can buy licenses for images from stock image websites. Here’s a list of great stock image websites:
  4. Creative Commons licensed images. Using an image that has a Creative Commons license is an option. There is a feature on Google Image search for images with a CC license and here’s more detailed instructions. Make sure it’s a genuine license because Google does not check. Here’s a huge list of free stock websites.
  5. Fair Use images. These are the logos of companies you are talking about in your posts. Most companies have a page where they have their logos and other assets available to the media. An example would be my post about Tiffany & Co. There are examples of their work in the post and a disclaimer at the foot of the post.

If you need help with original custom images for your social media, website or any printed work please contact me.

What is a Brand?


If you are one of the people who believes a brand is just a matter of having a logo designed, you are not alone. Having a logo is just one facet of branding.

Branding encompassing not just the design and look of your business but the communication you put out to the public among other things. A good brand will identify and differentiate you from your competition.

A simple way to think of it is: a branding iron was used to put an impression on cattle to identify a cattle rancher’s property. You want your brand to identify your business or product by creating an impression.

Your brand can create an impression many ways:

  • Name: This could be your business name, product or service
  • Logo: The mark that visually identifies a brand. This could be just a wordmark or symbol.
  • Tagline or Catchphrase: Nike has a very memorable tagline. “Just Do It”
  • Graphics: Kate Spade has so many patterns for her lifestyle line. They all work with her brand not against it.
  • Shapes: Coco Cola’s bottle has a unique shape. It’s trademarked and very much part of their brand.
  • Communication: Blog posts, advertising, customer service and social media are all ways that your brand developes.
  • Colours: Tiffany Co.’s robin egg blue colour is Pantone #1837. The colour is protected and only Tiffany’s is allowed to use it commercially.
  • Sounds: A unique tune or set of notes can denote a brand. Lucasfilm’s THX’s surround sound test is an example.
  • Scents: Different perfumes are trademarked.

The most important thing is how people feel about your brand. A brand can only be as good as the product or service provided. If you can create a positive emotional response with your brand you have hit the jackpot.