The first question I typically ask a new client is, “What are you REALLY selling?”  

A few look at me as if I’m crazy — but soon learn I have method in my madness. We’re not selling windmills, whistling lessons or wonder-bras — we’re selling the RELIEF or FEELING our customer receives from making the purchase. We want them to feel good about doing business with us.

Quite often, as with APPLE or TIFFANY or DISNEY, we are simply selling our brand essence — our brand experience — how great it makes a consumer feel to be associated with our product or service. How can you develop your Brand Essence? . . .

10 Ways to BE Your Brand.
  1. BE-Lieve. Believe in your product/service and others will too. Love what you do and don’t be afraid to let it show.
  2. BE Giving. Be of service by offering more than your customers and staff expect.
  3. BE Integrated. Create brand standards and use them. Identify colors, fonts and messaging unique to your business. Again, USE them.
  4. BE Seen. Have a great logo? Use it. Need a new one or an update? Hire a professional to fix that for you.
  5. BE Heard. Know your key messaging and share with your employees and around your community. Let people know WHY you love what you do.
  6. BE Bold. Boldly share your visual, verbal and virtual message every chance you get. Find your niche, fill a void.
  7. BE Valuable. Bring value to the table. Value propositions have no value if they fall short of expectations.
  8. BE Committed. Follow through on your commitments to your clients, your community, and to yourself.
  9. BE Trusted. Establish relationships based upon trust, honesty and integrity.  Trust your gut, follow your instincts.
  10. BE Consistent. Deliver on your brand promise. Play your strengths. Reframe your weaknesses. Respond proactively.

“Painting” said Pooh, “is like humming in color”

Handing someone a generic business card or marketing piece tells them your company is . . . well,  generic. 


Offering well-thought-out marketing materials (from business cards to website banners) tells your audience you are excited about and proud of what you do, and want to share what you know. It doesn’t matter whether you are a financial planner or a tattoo artist, utilizing color or black-and-white — how you “paint the picture” of your business creates your visual brand.

You become memorable.

Choosing color to represent your business is much more than picking your favorite color. Different colors evoke different subliminal psychological responses. That’s why hospitals traditionally don’t use orange, yet Home Depot does.

What message does your business “hum”?


The Dichotomy of Contrast

Pantone’s Spring 2012 Color Forecast

PantoneSprint 2012
Graphic design color trends quite often follow fashion, and the color specialists at Pantone have presented an interesting palette for Spring 2012 . . . bright neons paired with pastels.

  • This dichotomy of contrast shows that you can pair vibrant jewel tones with softer “butter-mint candy” hues for an attention-grabbing marketing statement.
  • For a high-volume “SHOUT”, pair two or more neons for a more youthful, trendy presentation of your marketing palette.
  • For a more sophisticated, refined “whisper”, pair two or more of the softer tones to give personality to your brand.
Remember  . . . whichever color palette combination you choose, it needs to represent the essence of your business and all that you stand for. Financial Advisors probably won’t want to go for the neon palette unless they only want to attract skate-boarding rock stars.

Pantone and UNICEF

Own Your Own Color & Help Save a Child’s Life.

What color will YOU choose?

I chose “D43641” and named it “Firecracker Mama” after my Mother. Red was one of her favorite colors, right next to the hottest pink you could imagine.

The process is fun and very easy – and quite affordable – starting at $1.58 (they convert from British pounds to the American dollar for you).

Check it out . . . as a gift, or in memory of your loved one . . . or simply as a clever way to help children in third-world countries.

What color are YOU?

Conscious Color Choices.

Ultimately, when developing a new brand for our clients, we have the “color” talk. Whether designing a new logo, website graphics, store signage or collateral marketing materials, we find ourselves in the role of “Color Psychologist”. The colors you choose to represent you and your business are vital in crafting the response you want from your consumer.

Color Defines Us.
What does color say about your business? Coke

The success of your brand logo lies in a cohesive combination of fonts, shapes, symbols and colors.
Color helps to define the ultimate emotional message and long-term recognition of your brand.

  • Think “Coca-Cola”, and you see RED.
  • Think “AT&T”, and you see BLUE.
  • Think “John Deere” and you see GREEN.
  • Think “Home Depot” and you see ORANGE.

4 Steps for Choosing Your Color Identity:
Appropriate color choices serve to reinforce and embed your brand image in the marketplace.

Just because you love the color red does not necessarily mean that it is the best choice for your business identity. Consider these four essential elements of choosing colors for your business identity:

  1. Research your competition. Differentiating your brand is vital to creating an independent, successful identity.
  2. Reflect your purpose. Know your company’s mission, vision and values and let that come through in your visual, verbal and virtual message.
  3. Consider your audience. Consumers react subliminally to line, shape and color – be aware of what you want your brand to say about your business.
  4. Know your color psychology. Let color define the emotional connection between your business and your consumer.

Emotional vs. Rational Purchasing.
As consumers, we make most purchases based upon perception, not logic. 

As much as 95% of our shopping decisions are dictated by our subconscious. Conversely, only 5% of decision-making is rational. If most decision-making is intuitive and emotional, the appropriateness and first impression of color is critical.