Springfield, MO

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Title: Partner and Creative DirectorCompany: Departika LLCEducation: Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in graphic design, Missouri State UniversitySettling in: Canada and her Departika co-owner husband, Corey, moved the digital design firm in October to 210 W. Commercial St., Ste. A.Contact:
Title: Partner and Creative Director
Company: Departika LLC
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in graphic design, Missouri State University
Settling in: Canada and her Departika co-owner husband, Corey, moved the digital design firm in October to 210 W. Commercial St., Ste. A.

A Conversation With ... Katie Canada

Posted online
Departika was founded in 2006 and is owned by you and your husband, Corey Canada. What does the company do?
We focus on planning, designing and developing Web sites, and we also do marketing programs to get people to (clients’) Web sites – digital marketing, design and branding, so we build Web sites and brands. We have five full-time employees, an intern and some contractors who we work with. ... We (serve) some local companies, regional companies and national brands as well, (including) Basic American Foods, out of Walnut Creek, Calif., and it owns Hungry Jack potatoes and Idaho Spuds, so we work on those two brands, for the Web side.  We do mobile design, too.
Is social media part of creating or building a brand?
You can’t ignore it, that’s for sure. I don’t know if it’s the right place for every single company, but people are spending more time on their social networks ... and if you can reach them there, where they’re spending an hour a day, versus trying to catch them here or there in a few seconds, it only makes sense to try to connect with them where they’re already spending their time. ... You can’t ignore (social media), and it’s not going away.
How do your clients use social media?
 We do custom Facebook design and run promotions through Facebook that help build a brand or sell a product for our clients. That’s where I think it’s best used, for a promotion. We worked on a Shasta soda promotion, a giveaway sweepstakes, and had goals to get more fans and promote the new flavors. So I think Facebook is good for certain things but (companies) shouldn’t rely on Facebook for (their) entire presence online.
What elements should be considered as part of a company’s brand?
I think a lot of people think it’s just a new look to their logo, but branding, if done correctly, is a little bit more. Your brand is more about how other people – your customers, or maybe not your customers yet – see you. You can influence that, and hopefully, with marketing, strategy and design, you would help influence what people think about you. Really, branding is more about trying to differentiate yourself and get people to emotionally (connect) with you. It’s not just a logo or just letterhead. It’s everything ... that surrounds the personality that you want to portray to people and how you want them to feel about your company, your product or service.
How often should companies re-examine their branding?
I’d say that at least once a year, you really want to look at your branding. That way, you don’t get to the corrective part. ... Make sure that you’re telling people what you do, and telling people why they should care what you do, and what their core business focus is, and the emotional and practical benefits. Look at it every year to make sure that you’re on target, because people change, and customers change.
How did you choose Departika as your firm’s name, and what advice do you have for startups exploring name options?
We really felt like we’re a company that is very creative and we make our clients stand out from the norm, so (the name comes from) departing from the norm. A lot of other things went into it, too.

We wanted to make sure it was not something that anyone else would ever have. That’s why it had to be a made-up name for us. We started putting words together, and we wanted a unique URL, so we could get

Really look at your company’s personality, what you’re selling and what you do ... and base your thought process on that. Stay away from being generic, if you can. Try to be unique. It depends on what industry you’re in, too, but make sure that it conveys a certain personality. You can probably tell the difference between the name of a spa and an electronic parts company, hopefully.
Where do you expect to see the next big trends in electronic media?
Mobile technology. Everyone’s on their phones. Also, everything’s been trending toward video – but it has been for a while – and social media and video, because it’s another way to (reach out). YouTube is a place where users are already spending tons of time, so why not connect with them there?
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