Using A Broker For Your Business Mobiles: What Are The Key Benefits?

It is the question on the minds of procurement managers and business owners nationwide and one that could significantly impact the productivity of a business, “is it better for me to go direct to a major network for a business phone contract or use a broker?”

Often businesses operate under the misconception that going to a network directly will garner them the most cost-effective prices and ultimately the most ‘secure’ deal due to the fact that they are dealing with a big name in the telecommunications industry. But is this always this case? Below we explore some of the benefits that a business mobile broker could bring to your business.

Why should businesses use a mobile phone broker?

Contract range
With extensive marketing budgets and overall market share it may appear that a network will have anything and everything your business needs from a mobile contract, but the packages that networks offer to businesses tend to be rather rigid in their offering and therefore a business may end up with a deal that is not necessarily the best package for the requirements of each individual. The end result of this is multiple contracts with multiple networks that not only leads to an administrative nightmare but also increases costs exponentially.

Moreover, a business may not even fully understand the intricacies of their requirements, with which the business is able to run efficiently. Where a broker can assist is in the negotiation of these contracts due to the strong connections they have with these large networks, developed over many years of working alongside each other and due to the sheer volume of potential custom they can bring. This ultimately leads to the brokers effectively negotiating the ideal contracts to suit a business model.

Their effective negotiation skills and their ability to identify the most suitable packages for a business is precisely the reason why a broker is a much more cost-effective solution. Many perceive that a broker’s cost is simply added on top of an already established cost structure, however, the buying power that a broker will bring to the table is second to none and therefore effective negotiation is part and parcel of their role. Furthermore, as brokers aren’t supplementing substantial marketing budgets or operating their services with a specific profit target to maintain their share price, they are able to offer these cost-effective solutions without adding an astronomical fee on top.

Account management
Now a business has a contract in place, what happens when something goes wrong, they have a query or they simply need some support with a mobile device? For those dealing directly with large networks this usually means waiting on hold for an inordinate amount of time and subsequently being passed from pillar to post until you reach the right person. The fact of the matter is that large networks are simply inundated with these type of queries, and more often than not your first contact will not have adequate training to provide you with the support needed and don’t know one business from the next.

Mobile brokers will have a strong team behind them, with decades if not centuries of expertise between them in the mobile communications industry. These teams will know a business, know their requirements and will ultimately be able to regularly assess that their current mobile contract meets the ever-changing needs of a business. This investment in high quality customer service is one of the major factors that entices businesses to use a broker each and every time they require a mobile contract.

As we have demonstrated, the use of a mobile phone broker can be an invaluable asset to any business looking for the right mobile solution. Whilst deciding to go with a broker is a fantastic first step, choosing a poor broker is on a par with a poor network, therefore choosing that ideal broker for your business is essential; check their reviews, their finances, ask for referrals, anything so that you feel confident that they will provide your business with the best service.

Why Image Masking Is Necessary

In Post-processing, it is nearly impossible for a designer to avoid using the image masking features and methods. Image masking opens up a new window of endless editing effects and a dedicated designer is bent on taking every single opportunity.

Sound knowledge about these options and functions will ensure a satisfying end result. Now to address the question at hand:

Non-Destructive: As opposed to erasing a background using the Eraser Tool, masking technique does not obliterate the image details. They are cleverly hidden below various layers so that they can help us out in case we need to make changes. On the contrary, the Eraser tool permanently deletes these pixels and it is close to impossible to bring those back in case a tweaking is required.

Transitions: The basic or simplest function of image masking technique is to have a “hide and seek” effect in some areas of the photo. This transitioning effect can be created using brushes and gradients for soft masking. This requires delicate strokes and soft brushes. This transparency of pictures can be controlled. The opacity level can be adjusted to suit the photo and its background. This is not the only technique for achieving this effect, but it is the simplest.

Editing Specific Areas: Many times we are faced with projects where we need to edit a small portion of the photo; such as, changing the color of someone’s clothes in a photo and fixing shadow/light issues. You can use masking techniques to highlight the portion and edit it as you wish e.g. color correction, brightness, contrast, exposure, shadows etc.

Removing / Replacing Background of Translucent Objects: Masking is an easy option when it comes to removing backgrounds of translucent objects. Any object with any level of transparency can be isolated from its background by careful masking. Even in cases of semi-transparent clothes’ photos, this technique can be applied.

Single Advantage of Clipping Mask: Clipping mask, when compared to Layer Mask, has the advantage of making different areas visible by simply moving the clipped image. It can be determined by the user which part of the background they want to be visible and which part they don’t by using clipping mask. Other than this one advantage, regular layer masking is more than good enough for most masking work.

Creating Collage Photos: Collage images are fun and it is even more interesting when you play with the masking tools while making a collage. Interesting and cool effects can be made by using a number of pictures and masking them. Soft brushes in varying gradients and hues of gray will definitely make these blending smooth.

5 Tips for Typography Best Practices

This was my first year at Typographics 2018. Typographics 2018 is a conference for typography enthusiasts around the world, that’s held at Cooper Union. There were panelists from San Francisco, Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Japan; it really felt like a truly international experience.

I had the chance to sit in on both the conference and TypeLab parts of Typographics. Here are a few highlights from the panels/breakout sessions that I really enjoyed:

1. Emojis = Pictures + Character (Jennifer Daniel, Google Emoji)
Emojis are images that may translate into different meanings across different devices. Jennifer gave an example about how the “dumpling” emoji looks different across different chat platforms -every culture has a dumpling!
I found an interesting tension in this statement -emojis should have a consistent user experience (across platforms), yet still be personalized to their users.

2. Ubiquitous type is can cause user confusion (Mr. Keedy)
Mr. Keedy created Keedy Sans, a popular font in the 90’s. The font was considered “uncool” 10 years later and used everywhere. Keedy sans is used on teenage girl makeup packaging, as well as winebars. This could create a bad user experience for people because of lack of branding. Last year, Mr. Keedy refreshed his font -to create greater customization and allow Keedy fans to layer the font for interesting visual effects.

3. Braille is a form of typography (Ellen Lupton, Cooper Hewitt)
Ellen talked about how blind individuals read Braille in a unique way -holding it across their body. She also demonstrated a blind person’s experience watching music videos by showing the accessibility voiceover.

4. Brand holds content together with design (Gale Bichler, NYTimes)
Gale foused on how the New York Times(NYT) has branded itself as a publication that experiments with many types of fonts. NYT can play around with different types and massive fonts as illustration. If someone picks up a page from the floor, they can usually tell that it’s from the New York Times because of branding.

5. Picking fonts is like eating ice cream. (Veronika Burian and Jose Scaglione, Type Together)
When combining fonts, look at mechanic and organic feels. Veronika and Jose talked about how people like humanist fonts, with a hint of a calligrapher’s hand. Ideally, you should find a balance typefaces share a common language.

The overarching theme is that typography is wide-ranging and crosses various mediums. Visual languages include symbols, braille, and audio caption. The challenge now lies in how to design the best experiences for these new forms of language.

Why Packaging Labels Should Be Clear

It is an age when consumers are the most demanding. When purchasing a product, any customer has a specific set of requirements, which the buyer needs to meet. The requirements of the consumer are based on the kind of product which is being purchased and of course the purpose of use. Thus, it is important that retailers and manufacturers offer complete transparency, especially in case of food products.

Labels are an integral part of packaging. But the important fact is that the labels should ideally serve their purpose. They should offer all that the customers are looking for in terms of information. If the labels are not informative or clear, the manufacturer might lose out a chunk of customers.

Importance of Packaging labels Clarity

Source of Information:

Labels are the only source of information about a product. A label needs to be clear so that the consumer gets all the necessary information needed before use of the product. If there is no such information, consumers might be in doubt and they will lose faith on the product. This is especially important in case of food products, where consumers need to necessarily have some information on the product. This includes information, on the calories, nutrition count, method of use, storage information and more.

This is also most important in case of pharmaceutical packaging. Buyers need specific information related to the product, which includes ‘best before date’ and composition information. If labels are not clear, customers will not buy the product next time. They will instead opt for another product which offers them complete information related to the product.

Brand Image:

If your package isn’t clear and professionally done, your company might lose its integrity. The consumers might have suspicion in their minds about the product since they have no clarity of information regarding different things. It doesn’t help the brand image. Besides, consumers never purchase anything unless they are aware of the content. Would you like to purchase a package of cookies if you are not aware of the calories or the ingredients?

Also, having a clear packaging is not enough. You need to know what should be included in the packaging label as per the manufacturer. There is usually no formal definition of what needs to be included in the label. But, you need to include information as per the requirements of Food and Drug Administration authority. Thus, labels which do not offer clear information also mean they are not complying with the safety standards.

If there is a natural product, the label should be clear with information. Such information includes words like ‘minimally processed’, ‘gluten free’, ‘simple’ or natural. If such words are present, the buyers are actually sure that the product is safe for use. Also, there should be certification or logo about the product being safe for use.

Thus, whenever you buy a product, ensure that the product has a clear label. It includes all necessary information about the product. If there is no clear label, it might be possible that the company is hiding something.

Fixing Personal Branding Errors

When it comes to personal branding, there really is no right or wrong answer. So much of it is subjective. However, that doesn’t mean that you are incapable of making mistakes or of wishing that you could have done something better/differently. If you had the chance to do it over again, of course, you would probably do those things differently. Well, even if you did make mistakes, all hope is not lost. You can still fix what needs to be fixed and move on from there.

Make fixes in a sensible manner
When it comes to fixing the errors that you made in your personal branding, you will want to approach it sensibly and methodically. There are several aspects of your personal brand that you will want to examine and, hopefully, you will be able to identify whatever needs to be corrected.

You want to make sure that your reputation is intact: If you aren’t sure what other people are going to find when they search for you (personally), you should search for yourself. The top items on the search engine should be positive about you. Additionally, those items should have value and they should help to enhance your reputation and boost your credibility. If you see that it is not the case, go back to those items and enhance them until they show you in a more positive light.
Entertainment versus marketing value: It is very important that you understand the balance between good value and the ability to entertain with your personal brand. You don’t want to have more of one than the other. Of course, if you don’t have enough on the entertainment side, other people may not remain interested. On the other hand, if you don’t have enough on the value/marketing side, from a business perspective, people may be entertained/amused but they may walk away feeling that they don’t have much to show for it.
Don’t go overboard: There is definitely value in revisiting the content that is connected to your personal brand so that it reads better. However, overediting is definitely not a good idea in general. The last thing that you want to do is to edit so much that you lose yourself and what you stand for in the process. It is important to show your vulnerable/human side but, at the same time, to demonstrate how valuable you are professionally and how your expertise can help other people.
Marry your personal and professional brands: The truth is that there is a strong connection between your personal and professional brands. They are two parts of you and those parts should have at least a discreet connection for other people to embrace. If you are communicating messages from both brands, they should be synchronized. You really can’t separate the two anyway. The best that you can do is to make sure that they exist in harmony.
Make sure that your social media profiles are current: The profiles are extremely important to your personal brand. They must be kept current. That means that you update your status periodically (at reasonable intervals), change your photo if it isn’t appropriate or is not relatively new, etc. You will want to work on all of your social media profiles. People will definitely notice if you don’t keep them current.
Make sure that your photo is appropriate: First of all, make sure that you have a photo which people can identify with your personal brand. Second, it should be an appropriate photo. That means that it should be a professional headshot. It shouldn’t be you with your cat, your logo instead of your face, you drinking in a bar or at a party, etc. After all, even though you are working on your personal brand, you want people to remember you in the right way because there will definitely be crossover to your professional brand and persona.
Make sure that your bio is what it should be: Your bio should be substantial enough so that other people are able to get a sense of who you are and what you believe in. On the other hand, you don’t want to go on and on to the point where the other person has no patience to keep reading. However, you should definitely highlight your accomplishments because not only are you proud of them but they add value to you and other people will have the understanding that you are someone with whom they should form a relationship and interact.
Always be yourself: Authenticity is an essential part of your personal brand. If you are not authentic, people will know it and they will not want to connect with you. You certainly don’t want that to happen. The reality is that you will not be able to have a successful relationship with everyone but you want your relationships with those people who want to be connected to you to be solid and enduring.

Conclusion
All of the elements listed above are important for your personal brand. Getting your personal brand in the shape that you want it to be will take time and work but it will be well worth it for you. You should keep in mind that your personal brand will take you very far in business. It is really important for you to understand your target audience and to do your best to give them what they want and need. If you give them your best, you will get it back in full.

Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.

His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.

Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.