Finding My INNER-G

My weekly blog post is due. I need an idea . . . an inspiration of some sort. I’ve hit a metaphorical roadblock.

Sometimes I just need some inner guidance – some INNER-G.

When you work for yourself and you love what you do, your business “day” can easily turn into nights and weekends as well. The longer I do this (this entrepreneurial “thing” – now in my 13th year), the more I have learned to STOP and take breaks.

Perhaps it’s a walk, a sit on our covered front porch or the back deck, a short nap, or a ride in the car – with the windows down, if possible – especially if I need to blow out the cobwebs in my brain.

For me, it’s all about having a process where I have learned to LET GO of any expectations I have around the perceived roadblock. It could be anything from dealing with a whiny client (NOT you) to needing a new idea, to how to pay that bill which just landed on my desk.

I’ve learned to recognize the “roadblock” feeling – a dull heavy sensation in the middle of my chest – almost like an invisible set of hands pushing me forward AND back at the same time. If I actually listen to the “nudge”, and let myself “break away”, it more-often-than-not leads me back to my INNER-G . . . my “flow”.

I REALLY, REALLY like it when I’m in the “flow”. Ideas come faster than I can sometimes type (or write). Words which I’ve been searching for all day (or all week) begin to pop in my head and I’m better able to serve our clients and help them grow their businesses.

Giving myself permission to take a break and regain a connection to my INNER-G (my inner guidance) has been pivotal in being able to grow OUR business.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help YOU find your own INNER-G so you can Look Good, Attract More Clients and Monetize Your Passion . . . give me call.

PS: Our new website just went live last week . . . take a quick peek and let me know what you think!

Pioneer Spirit

My family roots are strong throughout Oklahoma and Kansas – especially in the small oil town of Ponca City, Oklahoma – more recently made famous by the Food Network Chef, Ree Drummond and her TV show, “Pioneer Woman”.

As a child, I remember going to family reunions in the city park which has a statue of a woman and her young child, appropriately called “The Pioneer Woman”. The Pioneer Woman Museum in Ponca City is “dedicated to preserving women’s history and showcasing the historical and continued influence of women on the development of Oklahoma and the United States. The pioneer spirit embodied by the phrase “I See No Boundaries” is prominent throughout the museum. The museum’s exhibits showcase Oklahoma women who were pioneers in their respective fields, both on a state and national level.”

I grew up along-side strong women including my grandmother (one of 13 children), her many sisters, my mother and my sister. Although there were also men in the family – they were always either working the ranch or serving overseas in the military – it was the women I remember most who were creating a constant flurry of activity. The women ALWAYS worked hard. One owned a restaurant, one owned a hair salon – others ran the ranches and farms which kept us all fed, clothed and nurtured.

I recently ran across my grandmother’s Cherokee Nation card from the state of Oklahoma, declaring her one-eighth Cherokee blood line. I recall her lamenting that “when the government bought the land from the Cherokees, all the money went to those having at least one-quarter Cherokee blood – all I got was a bag of flour and a big box of raisins!”

Looking back, I see now where I get MY perseverance and drive. My elder female role models walked the Trail of Tears, lived through the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. More often-than-not, they raised their families without a male partner around to help. They just did what needed to be done and occasionally sipped a bit from the still out back.

If you are ever in the mood for a road trip, take a drive to Ponca City, OK – originally part of the old Route 66. Stop by the Pioneer Woman Museum ­– although my relatives may not be pictured there, they will be there in spirit . . . the pioneer spirit.

Southern Belles Only Wear Their Best Dress In Public

Many of you have heard stories about me growing up in Oklahoma. And yes, “Yep”, “Howdy” and “Ya’ll” were spoken daily – even by the ladies.

More importantly, the ladies in my family – especially my mother and her mother (Nana) –  mirrored the fashion trends of the time and I was taught, “a true lady only goes out in public in her best dress”.  In the 1960’s that meant a shirt-waisted dress with flair skirt, pearls, white wrist-gloves, and a hat with matching shoes and purse. My older sister, in her teens, got to wear “nylons”, while my approved fashion uniform was accessorized with baggy white anklets. (Note: probably explains why I now hate baggy socks.)

Although my fashion preferences have relaxed dramatically (I grew up, went to college and learned the value of comfort), the lesson of being “best dressed” in public has stayed with me throughout my career and re-manifested itself into creating “best brands” for our clients to share in public.

So, what does it mean to have a “best dressed” brand?

  • Express a comprehensive understanding of your audience. My Nana would always say, “A lady should be dressed to meet the ONE person she has always wanted to meet.”
  • Select a well-thought-out color palette (not just your favorite colors). My Nana would also tell me to not be “too flashy”, but add a pop of color. My mother, on the other hand, was queen of bright colors and busy patterns. I learned to balance the two, depending on where we were going.
  • Be prepared with a professionally designed vector logo – suitable for web AND print (you never know when you might need a banner or a t-shirt imprinted). My sister taught me to “always be prepared” (or was that the Girl Scouts?!). Take a sweater, or maybe a pair of flat-heeled shoes – just in case.
  • Illuminate your value with a well-crafted written message, and address the needs of your audience. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, my own definitive wardrobe “look” developed and evolved as I grew older. Our world became more relaxed the older I got, and so did my wardrobe (and so should your message).
  • Share your message across all marketing platforms, creating a cohesive, memorable impression. Never one to buy into “trends”, my preference evolved into, classic, simple lines – with a pop of color. Our newly-updated brand does just that. So could yours.

Presenting YOUR brand in it’s “best dressed” form . . .

Whether you were born into the “proper” ways of the South, the more relaxed trends of the West Coast, or the familiar traditions of the Northeast, evolving into your own brand style is important for expressing your message and attracting your perfect audience.

Developing your own unique style is just that – YOUR UNIQUE STYLE. It’s not about copying the colors, fonts or messaging the “other guy” is using, but an opportunity to fully express your unparalleled value at it’s best.

It’s time to get dressed up.

LET’S TALK. One-on-one, about updating YOUR brand.

Give me a call (314-374-7481) or link directly to my calendar to schedule a time to talk.

Fuzzy Brands Breed BANAL Benefits

ba·nal
bəˈnäl,bəˈnal/
adjective

D: So lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring.

I learned the word BANAL from my mother.  She LOVED crossword puzzles, and as it became more difficult for her to see, I would sit with her at the nursing home, asking her the clues as she rattled off the answers with lightning speed.
She had most of the answers memorized from years of subscribing to the same puzzle magazine.  She knew the answer by how they asked the question.  She knew the answer would change, depending upon whether we were looking for a 5-letter word vs. a 7-letter word.  She learned to rely upon repetition, consistency and memory.  
That’s why it was important when I went to replenish her inventory with new crossword puzzle books, I was told (by her) to look for a specific publisher – a specific brand – the “EASY Crosswords” by Dell Magazines.  I’m pretty certain my mother was not their only loyal fan “for life”.
So how did Dell turn mundane crossword puzzles
into a “gotta have” brand?
REPETITION:  Brand awareness is one of the most important things you can build for your business.  You want customers to recognize your brand when they see it. You want to create a specific emotional response in the viewer when they come into contact with your brand.  Many customers  will still remain loyal to a brand they love, even it that means paying a little more for it.
CONSISTENCY:  Consistency makes your brand feel more dependable.  Part of engaging a positive emotion with your consumer is to make them feel like they know your brand and that your brand can be trusted.  They learn to know what to expect and they know they will like the outcome.  Putting a consistent brand message in front of consumers is one strong step in the right direction to attracting new customers.
MEMORY:  Everything your customer and prospects remember about your company through interaction, products, advertising, events, etc. contributes to the overall lasting impression of your “brand”, be it positive or not.  Brand memory occurs when you share a consistent visual, verbal and virtual brand message, and is a major step towards letting consumers get to know you.
Just like my mother, as she became increasingly more familiar with the “Easy Crosswords“, nothing else would suffice – which is the ultimate definition of Brand Loyalty.
When consumers learn to know, like and trust you, they are more likely to purchase from you and more likely to recommend you to others.
It’s really that Easy.
PS:  Thanks, Mom, for giving me the love of language! 

Rent-A-Brain

Today I was asked if someone could “rent” my brain for an hour to learn more about the current self-publishing industry.

Most certainly! You betcha.

In today’s world of constantly-changing technology, it is hard to keep up with what works and doesn’t work. Confusion reigns supreme, so as a last resort, a lot of people select the “quicker, faster, cheaper” route — and even more people are willing to BE the “quickest, fastest, cheapest” provider, just to get your hard-earned dollars. No wonder everyone is confused.

“Quick, fast and cheap” is not always the best choice. Just in the last month alone, we have . . .

  • redrawn a logo someone purchased from an online freelancer site (rhymes with yellow) so it could now be used on a banner
  • talked at least two authors through the disappointment of realizing when someone says they want to “publish” your book, it may not be a “real” publisher
  • walked a client through the negotiation of the release of her logo “source files” which were being held hostage . . . which she paid for in-full, months ago
  • finally convinced an author it not only was in his best interest, but would actually be cheaper, to have his book read by a professional editor, versus their neighbor’s aunt who, I’m sure, happens to be a wonderful English teacher

People. Stop it. If you want it done right, stop cutting corners. Budgets are a great tool, but fly out the window when you have to hire a professional to re-do what you have already paid for once.

Slow down. Ask questions. If you do not know what questions to ask, look it up on Google or CALL ME. We not only help you Look Good and Get Noticed . . . we can help you stay on budget and do it right . . . the first time.

 

 

Must Trust

When I remember to TRUST, life just seems so much easier.

The topics of TRUST and INTEGRITY seems to be all around us  . . . from the national news reports to our neighborhood watch.

I’ve had several decades of learning to trust the process (AKA: my higher power) and listen to “that little voice” in the center of my soul. When it gives me a nudge, I’ve learned to LISTEN . . . otherwise, if I ignore it, it soon begins to SHOUT at me, leaving me with less time to dodge impending danger or disappointment.

As a small business owner, TRUST and INTEGRITY are a high priority for me when working with prospects, clients, vendors and affiliate partners.

The top three things which typically trigger my “caution button” when dealing with people:

  • lack of follow-through on commitments
  • more than a 72-hour response time to inquiries
  • ego-centric personas who thrive on attention

Any of the above willI cause me to take a step back and turn my attention elsewhere. I don’t have time for games in business or in my private life. I’d rather focus on the people who “play nice in the sand box”.

At Davis Creative, we recently updated our list of core client commitments . . . things we feel are important in supporting a relationship built on TRUST . . .

We believe in creating a positive RIPPLE:

  • RESPECT: We value diversity, unique perspectives and positive experiences.
  • INTEGRITY: We take responsibility and do the right thing.
  • PASSION: Positive Passion breeds success. We love working with people who are passionate about their business and about helping others.
  • PROMISE: We keep our word and make a commitment to support our clients’ best interests.
  • LEGACY: We give. We give back. We give our clients their brand advantage.
  • EXCELLENCE: We believe “Good Design is Good Business”, and good design encourages an atmosphere of excellence.
  • SHARING: A peaceful world starts with sharing a single smile.

When I take time to notice, I see daily
reminders to simply “trust the process”.

When I remember to TRUST,
life just seems so much easier!

SEMPLI-FI

So, let the games begin.

The “to-do” list says, “update website”. There’s nothing wrong with the old one, other than a need to look more current and up-to-date. According to our consultant, it needs to “SEMPLI-FI”.

When checking the meaning of the original Marine Corp motto, “Semper Fi”, it translates loosely into, “Always faithful”. That works for me.

So, how does one “SEMPLI-FI” a website?

  • stay true (faithful) to your brand
  • know your WHO, WHY, WHAT
  • be succinct; eliminate unnecessary verbiage
  • address your message to your prime target audience
  • create long-term relationships with targeted audiences

So, our first few steps were to  . . .

  1. reorganize and simplify the site map
  2. review and edit all existing copy
  3. create the “golden thread” of brand messaging throughout all pages

For additional help with the “SEMPLI-FI” process for your website, contact Cathy.

Positives always eliminate the negatives.

“At some point in my life I decided, rightly or wrongly,
that there are many situations in this
life I can’t do much about: acts of terrorism, feelings of nationalistic prejudice, cold war, etc. So, what I should do is concentrate on the situations that my energy CAN affect.” – Jim Henson (Kermit)

One mathematical “rule” I remember from grade school is, “positives always eliminate the negatives”. Although most of my family would pretty much confirm I’m not much of a mathematician, I do find this “rule” fascinating, as it rings true in all aspects of life – even for those of us known as “right-brain creatives”.

When life gets crazy – whether in our own lives or around the world – we sometimes find ourselves dropping into fear in reaction to happenings over which we have no control. Yet, if I follow the rule of “positives always eliminate the negatives”. . . I CAN control my little corner of the universe by . . .

  • choosing love and kindness instead of fear and hatred
  • redirecting my personal energy – into making positive choices in support of a loving community
  • associating with other like-minded people who are also working to make a positive impact

Many of our clients are already doing this – making a positive impact on their world. As small business owners, many are service professionals intent on creating a “happy, healthy, heart-filled planet” – be it the physical-, mental-, financial- or spiritual-health of people, businesses and/or communities. So how do we stay focused on the business of helping others and maintain a positive mindset in the midst of chaos and confusion?

R.E.A.C.H. Out

  • R = REVIEW and REALIGN your personal mission, your business vision and your brand messaging. Create positive RELATIONSHIPS by starting positive RIPPLES.
  • E = EXPRESS the REAL you. Be willing to take a positive stand; share your positive ENERGY. It’s important to let people know what you stand for as well as what you WON’T stand for.
  • A = ACT in ways to make your SELF (and your Mama) proud. Make someone’s day, be a drive-through ANGEL and buy that coffee for the person behind you. Be willing to take positive ACTION.
  • C = COMMUNICATE your brand message with a positive voice. CONNECT with positive people. CREATE the world you want to leave to your CHILDREN and grandchildren.
  • H = HELP with HEART. Extend a HELPING HAND (or voice, or afternoon) when needed. Speak Up, Step Up, Stand Up for those being victimized by louder, more negative, fear-based voices. Listen with your HEART and let love be your compass.

Because, when it comes down to it . . . the “positives ALWAYS eliminate the negatives”. I hear it’s a rule.

Be Bold. Unfold. March On.

Thousands? Millions? How many people does it take to create a movement?

I was born in 1956 (feel free to do the math) and it has taken me this long to “march” for a cause. My motivation originally came about by reaching what I call my “adamant negative” point. The “NOT-TY” responses spilling out of my mouth included:

  • NOT acceptable
  • NOT in my lifetime
  • NOT in my country
  • NOT in my city
  • NOT in my neighborhood
  • NOT in my house
  • NOT in my family (least-of-which NOT around MY grandchildren!)

So, I marched. Still unclear about why I was there, I knew I needed to be in this space to process all my “NOTs” and get clear on what I DID want – for ME and for the world we are leaving to our grandchildren. It also didn’t hurt that the temps rose to 70 degrees on January 21, 2017 in St. Louis, with a cloudless bright blue sky. Call me “Pollyanna”, but I took it as a sign of better times to come.

Save what matters. The news reported 12,000-plus came out to walk in St. Louis alone. Everyone was marching for their own reasons, and at least 50% of those people had signs. From the signs I could see, it seemed the common denominator was to save something they loved. It didn’t matter if they took a week to prepare their signs (you could easily spot the graphic designers), or if you grabbed a cardboard box and a black Sharpie as you ran out of the house that morning . . . the congruent message was clear . . . “save what matters”!

At one point in the march (it was much more like a slow “meander”, as the crowd was SO big), I find myself next to a small child carrying her hand-made sign, “Save the Animals”. Her Crayola rendition of the horse (maybe cow, maybe dog) was completely in her own hand, as were the letters in the words. By the time I grabbed my phone to take a photo, she had moved out of sight. I allowed myself to imagine her parents encouraging her to “pick something you love which you want to save” . . . and she DID! Her little sign told a BIG story and was truly symbolic of the peaceful, family event . . . overflowing with people wanting to SAVE WHAT MATTERS to them.

No more “NOT-TY” Mouth. My personal take-away from the march experience was to turn each of my “adamant negatives” into a “Positive YES!”.

I say “YES!” (in no particular order) to . . .

  • kindness
  • diversity
  • inclusion
  • passion
  • patience
  • choice
  • consent
  • respect
  • courage
  • hutzpah
  • audacity
  • hope
  • honesty
  • truth
  • values
  • safety

And I fully intend to keep adding to my YES list!

What word would YOU include on your YES list?

Intend. Attend. Suspend.

IntendAttendSuspend rgbSometimes the best idea is to simply set an intention.

Historically, we tend to see a slow-down in business over the winter holidays. It starts around mid-December, and usually picks back up early January.

Not this year.

We just closed out the biggest December we’ve had in 12 years of business. We squeezed in a couple of three- and four-day work weeks, and still signed two new clients the last week of December.

What changed in 2016? We learned three things:

INTEND. Intend to succeed. We set our intention to grow our business. We recognized about a year ago our business had “stalled” and made a conscious commitment to ramp-up to a new level. We asked experts for advice (and listened).

ATTEND. Attend to what matters. We turned our attention to those things and people who supported our business growth. We became hyper-focused on sharing our business vision, attracting new clients, and building high-quality relationships for referrals.

SUSPEND. Suspend all doubt (which can be tricky). We let go. We released expectations of outcome, gave more than expected, and trusted it would all work out.

What is YOUR 2017 intention?