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What is your MORE?

One of our vendors recently mentioned how much they “LOVE” our brand.

She went on to point out how much it “appears to really irritate” our competition.

HUH?

When I asked her to explain, she offered, “You know you are a success when (your competition) is jealous of your brand. You provide MORE of all the things they aspire to be . . . creative, authentic, trusted, experienced, dependable — you know — that air of excellence.”

I’ll take that as a compliment . . . although I never specifically intended to irritate anyone. Not sure if one would call that a “side benefit”?

What is your MORE . . . your
Magnificent Outstanding Reason for Existence?

Seven Actions for Creating a MORE Authentic Brand . . .

  1. Define your mission, vision and values. What is your WHY? What matters to you? What matters to your clients/customers? How do you help them? Within your answers lies the basis for your mission, vision and values.
  2. Recognize your brand personality. As a small business owner, you are the face of your company. It’s a “package deal.” How does your passion, talent and expertise better serve your tribe and grow a better business? What is it that ONLY YOU offer?
  3. Create a niche AND boundaries. Know your customer and understand why they need YOU. Offer them the relief they seek, but also know when to draw a line if they ask for far more than what they are willing to pay.
  4. Be YOU. Let your audience get to know you. Be real, share stories of success, vulnerability, and near-misses. Your vulnerability will feed the path of “Know, Like, Trust.”
  5. Create consistency. Keep your message consistent, and share on a consistent basis. Whether through your website, social media, speaking engagements, or networking events, consistency builds brand equity.
  6. Honor your commitments. This is a big one. Yes, it’s great to keep promises, meet deadlines and return phone calls and emails . . . but we’re also talking about honoring our commitments to ourselves, as business-owners. It’s great to put our clients first, but equally important to make time for “re-fueling” our own reservoir . . . be it taking a walk, watching a movie or sneaking in a nap on the weekends.
  7. Be the competition others want to emulate. As our vendor pointed out to me, “You know ‘you’ve made it’ when your competition either tries to imitate you and/or decides they don’t like you.” Not everyone will want to play in your sand-box. And that’s OK! Stay true to your mission, vision and values, and you’ll gain the respect from those who matter.

We Brand. We Design. We Publish.

We take your business to the next level.

Contact Cathy for more info: cathy@daviscreative.com

The Law of kNOwing

Uh . . . No.
No thank you.
Not gonna happen.
I’m busy right now.
It basically all means the same thing. Whether it comes out of the mouth of a 4-year-old when you’ve asked them for help with picking up toys . . . OR out of my own mouth when stumbling for the right way to explain to a potential client (as much as I’d love to accept their money), I’m just not able to help you with that.”

Last week brought another opportunity for me to turn down an author’s request to work with us. Although the book may have had merit for a very small audience of aging “Mad Men,” it was not the type of book I could get behind and allow myself to support. As we are discussing the project, I pull the book up on Amazon, and I immediately KNOW my answer will be “NO.” My brain begins to circle around possible exit strategies as I hear the person on the other end of the phone continue to ramble about why we should help them rebrand and market their book.

Uh . . . No.
No thank you.
Not gonna happen.
It’s simply not a good fit.

I KNOW my answer is “NO” 

I’m averaging about one of these opportunities a month, lately. As I get more comfortable with saying “No,” I’m also noticing an increase in the types of clients we LOVE to work with showing up out of “NO-where” (or is that NOW HERE?!).

Exercising the Law of KNOWING allows the window to stay open for better things to come in. During the same week of practicing my “NO,” we welcomed two new projects which I KNOW will create a positive impact on the lives of the people they touch.
I wake up each morning excited about helping people create positive ripples on this planet, and I love welcoming new “menders” into our community. Our clients are helpers and healers — those who mend relationships, tend to those in need, and are willing to lend a hand.
You see, We create brands and publish books which
connect people, create community and contribute to
an overall happy, healthy, heart-filled planet.

We turn down projects which create
division, isolation and separation.

It’s that simple.
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We Brand, We Design, We Publish.
We Take Your Business to the Next Level.

The Brand BLUNDERIES.

Sometimes I type too fast. Probably because I think too fast. I guess my fingers are just trying to keep pace with my brain. Add in the element of spell-check, and pretty-soon, I lose control over what I’m typing.

 

Strange words appear as I’m typing and I’ve come to accept these words as “messages” . . . you know . . . from guardian angels . . . mystical guides . . . or aliens. (You pick.) Quite often, I don’t notice these messages until I’m further down the page and stop long enough to re-read what I’ve written.

 

So, today’s word, which showed up out of nowhere, was BLUNDERIES. The word I originally intended to use was, “boundaries.” I’m fascinated by the word, BLUNDERIES, so it causes me to pause and wonder, “What just might be the definition of BLUNDERIES?”

 

To “blunder” is to commit a faux pas, to fumble, or to make one’s way clumsily or blindly. Perhaps BLUNDERIES is a merely a flurry of blunders as in, “I have the BLUNDERIES today” . . . an ongoing series of blunders, seemingly completely out of one’s control.

Nobody likes it when you are in the middle of the BLUNDERIES. Some blame the full moon, some blame Mercury going retrograde . . . others blame themselves. If you’ve ever been smack-dab in the middle of the BLUNDERIES, you would know, and you would be VERY grateful to find your way out of them.
OK. 
You know it’s coming.
How is she going to tie this
in with Davis Creative?

We help you navigate
your way out of the
BRAND BLUNDERIES.

TA-DA!

L.I.F.T. : Author, Joe Castellano

If you are from St. Louis, you know the importance of high-school, as the question, “Where did you go to school?” rarely applies to your years in college.
Local author, Joe Castellano, class president of his St. Louis University High School’s class of 1970, and co-captain of the football team, does more than reminisce in his first book, “Bull in the Ring”. Mixing faith, football and friendship, Joe weaves a compelling reflection of what it was like to live amidst the internal and external struggles of the era.
The 1970 SLUH football team was undersized and not very fast, had no home field, and played half its games against the Top 10 teams in the state of Missouri. Improbably, that team made it to the state championship game. The great but naïve ambition of the young Baby Boomers who played on or supported that team was tempered by the frightening, threatening social turmoil of the late 1960s.

In addition to the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, an often-violent protest culture in America, and a generation conflict, these teenagers had to cope with a very personal tragedy on the brink of the season. “Bull in the Ring” is the story of how football and their faith became a refuge for them then, and the place that season has held in the lives they went on to live. It is available in paperback and e-book via Amazon, at the Chesterfield Barnes & Nobel, and everywhere books are sold. You can also read Bill McClellan’s highly complimentary review here.

“As a first-time author, and a novice self-publisher, I felt fortunate to have found Davis Creative. Cathy and Jack Davis provided a thorough checklist of the materials I needed to provide and the steps I needed to take, patiently answered all my questions, set up my accounts with the publishing firms, and provided important strategic guidance that helped me optimize the book launch. Quality, experience, integrity, accessibility. If I do this again, I’ll want Cathy and Jack on my team again.” ~ Joe Castellano
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We Brand, We Design, We Publish.
We Take Your Business to the Next Level.

We help our clients look good, help more people,
and 
make a difference on a daily basis.

ASK Cathy

1. What is “Publishing Myopia”?

Also know as “shiny object syndrome”, Publishing Myopia happens when an author gets so excited about becoming a “published author” they lose sight of their priorities. Authors who fall prey to Publishing Myopia get caught up in completing the book, rather than maintaining a level of excellence . . . which ultimately undermines their brand. It becomes more important to be called a “published author” than to produce a high-quality book.

Never let budget be the excuse for publishing a less-than-optimal product. What I have found, is that every time an author cuts corners and hires their publishing team based upon price vs. experience, they get burned . . .

  • They end up spending more $ in the long run than if they had hired professionals in the first place
  • Their book shouts “self-published” and subliminally turns potential readers away
  • Their overall sales suffer . . . no matter HOW MUCH marketing they do
  • Readers who buy their book end up walking away with a tainted opinion of the author’s brand, and rarely send referrals their way

Save your brand and avoid Publishing Myopia by working with publishing professionals who come highly recommended and know what they are doing.

 

2. How does publishing a book affect my brand and my marketing?

Branding is WHY you do what you do.
Marketing is HOW you get your message out there.

Your brand is . . .

  • the core-essence of who you are and what you stand for
  • the foundation of all your VISUAL, VERBAL and VIRTUAL marketing messages
  • much more than the basic essentials of logo, business card, website and social media

A published book now takes the place of the old, 3-panel brochure.

It “tells your story” of who, what, when, how, why you do what you do. Having a published book is a great way to expand your brand when you take the time to produce a quality book. If you are an entrepreneur or serviced professional in the business of helping others improve their lives, having a professionally published book solidifies your brand and becomes a great marketing tool for several reasons:

  • Builds credibility
  • Instills perceived value
  • Grows your tribe
  • Identifies your niche
  • Increases recognition
  • Develops JV partners

If your intent is to reflect a high-quality brand, then your book better be a high-quality production. If you cut corners just to be able to say you are a published author, it sends the message that you cut corners with your clients.

To learn more about industry standards for a professionally published book, check out this free download from the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) HERE.

Creating MORE positive ripples.

My personal mission in life is to “create positive ripples”, and I’m always thrilled when I hear a story about how one of our designs or books has impacted people in positive way.

This past Saturday, I was giving a publishing workshop in STL, and I had my usual “free” items at the back of the room for those who wanted additional information. Included in the take-aways was a postcard printout of one of our UPSIdaisy.com designs . . .

 

During our mid-event break, one of the attendees approached me with one of these postcards, and shared the story of how he uses this card at work. As an Activities Director for a nursing home, he recently shared this card during a “poetry reading” exercise, assigning each font color to an attendee. They then took turns going around the circle, reading their “color” words out-loud. Many commented on the irony or appropriateness of the specific phrase they were asked to share. I LOVE IT!

 

 Are you ready to create positive ripples in YOUR life? 

If you are a “helper or healer”, a “mender or tender” . . . we can help. 

If you are a life-coach, mentor, therapist, physician, educator, speaker, or other professional service provider, we help you establish a brand, build a following and learn to monetize your passion.

Are you ready to ignite your brand? 

Our clients love what they do and have built successful brands around helping others. When you work with us to build your brand, we help you look good, get noticed (in a good way), and grow your business.

Contact Cathy about how to update your  VISUAL, VERBAL and VIRTUAL brand messaging.


Are you ready to publish your book? 

If you are in the business of helping others, let us help YOU share YOUR story. There is SO much more to self-publishing a book than ink on paper! Our clients reach out to us when they are ready to minimize their investment, maximize their return, and avoid self-publishing pitfalls.

We help you complete your book at YOUR pace — no matter where you are in the writing process — and your book will rival those produced by traditional publishers.

Sprinkles on Cupcakes

“It’s not how well your book sells . . .
It’s ALL about how well your book sells YOU!”

I heard myself say it again, today, while on a call with another new author/client.
Your non-fiction book is a MARKETING TOOL. Much like the old 3-panel brochure or sales-sheet, your book is a way for potential clients to get to know you better . . . becoming a foundation of the “KNOW, LIKE, TRUST” model of engagement.

THAT’S IT.

Please do not expect your book to fund your retirement or replace your monthly income. Whatever book sales you generate are more like getting sprinkles on your cupcake. The cupcake (your business) needs to exist so the sprinkles (your book sales) have a place to land. You’ll go hungry if you expect to just eat the sprinkles.

ARE YOU READY TO WRITE YOUR BOOK?

If you are ready to learn more about how to add sprinkles to your business through the power of self-publishing, we can help.
If you are in the business of helping others, let us help YOU share YOUR story. There is SO much more to self-publishing a book than ink on paper! Our clients reach out to us when they are ready to minimize their investment, maximize their return, and avoid self-publishing pitfalls.
We help you complete your book at YOUR pace — no matter
where you are in the writing process — and your book will 
rival those produced by traditional publishers.
If you are in St. Louis, and you’d like to learn more about the wild-wild-world of self-publishing, join me . . .
  • Saturday, March 3, 2018, for our workshop, “Self Publishing 101: Creating a Magnetic Brand through the Power of Publishing” at the Center for Spiritual Living, 12875 Fee Fee Rd, St. Louis 63146. No fee, but Love Offering welcome (proceeds benefit CSL)
  • Monday, March 12th, I will be speaking at Fred Miller’s monthly “No Sweat Public Speaking” Meet-Up at Medici Media Space. Register HERE.

LIFT: “With All We Are”

I couldn’t ask for a better job than the one I’ve created for myself . . . to be involved with people who identify a problem and feel a need to step up and offer a solution. Working with our clients allows me to see magic happen on a daily basis!
Living in Faith and Trust. 

This month’s LIFT profile highlights our client, Don Eggleston, founder of Mission Works, LLC, a teaching and consulting resource in support of the achievement of organizational mission and purpose.

Don enjoyed a 30-year career in health care; serving in the areas of community outreach and organizational development, and concluded his career as vice president of Mission Integration for SSM Health in St. Louis, MO. He has a Master of Divinity degree from Kenrick Seminary and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

Don’s book, “With All We Are,” was written for individuals who want to lead their organizations, on a daily basis, with integrity, optimism, and credibility.
This book is for you if you want to:
  1. Discover how to align with and cultivate your organization’s purpose and mission
  2. Uncover ways to lead change in your organization that are memorable, credible and reflective of your mission
  3. Thrive in your leadership role and avoid burnout
  4. Transform your daily work into your calling
“With All We Are is the culmination of a remarkable life born out of adversity, redeemed by grace, and inspired by serving causes always greater than himself. Whether you are a leader of a large healthcare organization or simply a sojourner in life, I highly recommend this book by my friend and mentor, Don Eggleston.”  ~ John O’Leary, #1 national bestselling author of, “On Fire: The Seven Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life.”
 
Graphic designer, Jean Lopez, created a work of art with this book. As beautiful as it is inspirational and informative, “With All We Are,” has already sold over 200 copies (including one in Ireland!), since it’s publication date of January 25, 2018.  Click HERE to order your copy!
ARE YOU READY TO SHARE YOUR “LIFT” STORY?
If you, too, are in the business of helping others, let us help YOU share YOUR story. There is SO much more to self-publishing a book than ink on paper . . . we help our clients minimize their investment, maximize their return, and avoid self-publishing pitfalls.
We help you complete your book at YOUR pace — no matter
where you are in the writing process — and your book will 
rival those produced by traditional publishers.
If you’d like to learn more about the wild-wild-world of self-publishing,join me Thursday, February 22, 2018, for our FREE Lunch & Learn webcast, “Self Publishing 101: Creating a Magnetic Brand through the Power of Publishing.”  Remember to pre-register here.

Avoid the half-baked solution.

The art of self-publishing is quite a bit like baking. If you have the right ingredients, coupled with the talent and vision of the bakery (author consultant, editor, book designer), you get more than you expect!

More than once this past month, I’ve been handed a self-published book by an eager author who can’t wait to get my glowing opinion and never-ending compliments. Unfortunately, each book shouted, “SELF PUBLISHED!” and as I struggled to find at least one nice thing I could say about each book, I felt sorry for the author. “Nice photo on the cover” or, “Nice blue you picked for your signature.”

Yes, it is quite an accomplishment to reach the point of having a published book in-hand, but if done incorrectly, it can cause your brand more harm than good . . . unless your brand includes, “missing the mark” or “unprofessional”.

If you don’t know what you are doing . . . ASK FOR HELP.

It’s not just self-publishers who let themselves down. It’s very much a “buyer-beware” industry. It’s not my job to scare you with horror stories, but please take the time to educate yourself on the industry, or reach out to a professional author consultant and ask tons of questions. Not everyone who calls themselves a publisher . . . is a publisher. Just about anyone can upload their own manuscript onto CreateSpace, pick out a cover photo and type in their title. And more often than not, the finished book LOOKS self-produced, and becomes an automatic repellent for new business. (If you want to hear about the horror stories . . . give me a call.)

If you wouldn’t dare bake your daughter’s wedding cake, then PLEASE treat yourself with the same respect and avoid self-publishing your book all by yourself . . . and beware of those who oversell their experience with publishing. Settling for a half-baked book is a lot like setting for half-baked cakes . . . no one wants them.

You can also join me for this month’s FREE Lunch & Learn webcast, where I’ll be sharing my signature talk and slides, “Self Publishing 101: Creating a Magnetic Brand through the Power of Publishing.” Thursday, February 22, 2018. Remember to pre-register here.

And you’re more than welcome to have cake during the presentation!

 

If it doesn’t feel right . . . take a new action!

When I worked in downtown St. Louis almost 15 years ago, I parked in the same public garage for over 10 years. It was dark, cold, damp and downright spooky . . . and like most urban areas, downtown St. Louis did not have a stellar reputation for having a low crime rate.

We were all taught as kids, “Don’t talk to strangers!” If you have ever worked in a bustling urban downtown area, you’ll understand that a day does not go by without encountering what you might call a “stranger” — those who unfortunately live on the streets. As much as I tried to leave the office building with others at the same time, on occasion, I would find myself walking into the garage alone. There were certain rules we had been taught: don’t step into an elevator with a strange person, don’t start a conversation, and take the stairs or wait until someone else walks up and enter together. We were trained by our employers to maintain a “DISCONNECT” as a means of staying safe.

TAKING A NEW ACTION
At one point, when I felt fearful, I decided to take a new action. If you are the least bit intuitive, you soon learn to read people’s energy and see them as simply another human being. I took a new action based upon love and empathy, and looked a stranger in the eye and spoke to them. The “fear energy” dissipated and put us on the same level — as equals on this planet. My willingness to “see” and speak to them, opened the door for mutual respect.
When it Doesn’t Feel Right
Having worked from my home office for the past 14-plus years, I’ve traded these fearful situations for the occasional awkward ones. What I do encounter these days, is the occasional DISCONNECT with a client — those who are not necessarily a good fit. Unfortunately, it’s taken me a while to learn to spot them. You see, I’d love to be able to help everyone who calls and asks us for help, but not every potential client who seeks us out is a good fit for us.
Our business mission is to help our clients create a “Happy, Healthy, Heart-filled Planet” and we LOVE helping them attract more clients and monetize their passion. Occasionally, a potential client is referred to us who is just not a good fit. Perhaps it comes in the form of disrespecting their employees, bad-mouthing their customers, or over-promising and under-delivering — all at the cost of integrity, authenticity and relationships. I recognize a DISCONNECT — just as I did with the strangers downtown. That’s not a good fit for us.
TAKING A NEW ACTION
So, I’ve learned (again) to take a new action. I’ve gotten pickier about who we work with, and better at spotting those who are NOT a good fit. I find my own heart-center and surround that person in love and light. I wish them well on their journey and turn my focus back to welcoming those with whom I find a connection and who are on a similar journey.

HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

We Brand, We Design, We Publish.
We Take Your Business to the Next Level.