YESTERDAY, I QUIT . . .
I quit thinking small.
I quit thinking I need to do it all myself.
I quit discounting my talent and services.
I quit thinking I am supposed to know how to do everything.
TODAY, I BELIEVE . . .
I believe I only attract those people who are excited to be working with me.
I believe I’ve “GOT THIS”!
I believe it’s OK to take breaks during the day and let my mind rest while NOT working.
I believe what I do contributes to the positive awakening of the world.
And tomorrow . . . I TRUST everything will work out just dandy.
Because, after all . . .
My mother’s birthday was July 4th.
And, YES, she was one heck of a FIRECRACKER. She LOVED being the focus of attention, and knew how to make that happen.
She always led with her “sparkling” personality, and it always served her well. Even after she moved to a nursing home, she landed on the front page of the Webster Kirkwood Times at least twice.
As I look back, I now realize (in her own way), she was teaching me to be a “Firecracker”. . .
After all . . . Fireworks Get Noticed.
I now use my Mom’s “how-to-be-a-firecracker lessons” for creating my own “Fireworks” in business:
- GREET and introduce yourself to everyone you meet.
- SMILE and the world smiles back (she wrote this one in her high school year book).
- SPARKLE and always dress to impress — whether it’s your wardrobe or your website.
- GIVE of your Time, Treasure and Talent.
- COMMUNITY — surround yourself with supportive people.
- PERSISTENCE — if there is something you want, ASK for it.
- HAVE FUN — people want to work with people who are having fun.
If you are in business for yourself, and are ready to get noticed, give me a shout . . . I bet we can create some great fireworks together . . . I learned from the best!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!
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? . . .
- BE-Lieve. Believe in your product/service and others will too. Love what you do and don’t be afraid to let it show.
- BE Giving. Be of service by offering more than your customers and staff expect.
- BE Integrated. Create brand standards and use them. Identify colors, fonts and messaging unique to your business. Again, USE them.
- BE Seen. Have a great logo? Use it. Need a new one or an update? Hire a professional to fix that for you.
- BE Heard. Know your key messaging and share with your employees and around your community. Let people know WHY you love what you do.
- BE Bold. Boldly share your visual, verbal and virtual message every chance you get. Find your niche, fill a void.
- BE Valuable. Bring value to the table. Value propositions have no value if they fall short of expectations.
- BE Committed. Follow through on your commitments to your clients, your community, and to yourself.
- BE Trusted. Establish relationships based upon trust, honesty and integrity. Trust your gut, follow your instincts.
- BE Consistent. Deliver on your brand promise. Play your strengths. Reframe your weaknesses. Respond proactively.
A good logo transcends time and a variety of media, allowing a brand to imbed itself in a community — whether your community is defined as local, regional, national or global.
Watching how global brands transcend their own iconic brands to target core audiences can help you learn to expand your own brand.
Take Nike’s latest NYC campaign:
“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”?
When is it time to update a logo?
John Deere has updated their logo 8 times in over 120 years. Why?
- Company Expansion
- Target New Markets
- Outdated Fonts or Colors
- Re-Position the Company with their Competition
A well-designed Logo will:
- Be simple, easy-to-read, yet memorable
- Distinguish your company from your competition
- Evoke the essence of what you do/sell
- Look good on business cards as well as billboards
- Look appropriate in black and white as well as color
- Define your business through the use of fonts and color
What does your current logo say about you?
Is your existing logo designed by a graphic arts professional? . . . Or perhaps you tried to save some money and have your cousin’s ex-girlfriend design it in PowerPoint? Your logo is a direct reflection of how your consumer perceives your business. Lack of attention to detail shows.
Your company is growing.
The original Apple logo on the left was a sketch of Isaac Newton with an apple dangling over his head. Luckily, it was only used for a year before Jobs hired a professional graphic designer to come up with the familiar Apple (used 1976 – 1998), using the six primary colors of the rainbow. Today, the shape is still the same, but the look and feel is much more timely and techno-savvy.
You are adding new target markets.
So, you’ve decided to “up your ante” and target new prospects with bigger wallets. That’s a great idea – but how are your new prospects going to perceive you? Are you still the “local guy” with the hand-drawn logo that no one can read, or are you ready present yourself and your company as professional and knowledgeable?
You want to appear “current” and up-to-date.
You deliver your brand message in everything you do. From the shirt on your back to the sign on your door, your logo should appear on everything your consumer sees and/or interacts with. Having a professionally designed logo allows you to create consistency in message and embeds your brand in the mind of your consumer.
Choosing the right designer is vital.
Just about everyone claims that they can design a logo, but it takes experience, insight and creativity to design the right logo. Professional designers also understand the value of intellectual property rights and will always provide ORIGINAL art, custom-designed just for your business — never copied nor plagiarized.
Your visual brand is a unique opportunity to connect with your consumer and help them identify who you are and what you do — it creates a MIND STAMP — a visual bond. It’s all about making an impression — hopefully yours is a good one.
What’s YOUR Type?
Does this font make me “look big”?
Ever since Typography Class in college (yes, we spent an entire year analyzing and “designing” new fonts), the language of fonts and their subliminal messaging continues to fascinate me. Choosing the right fonts — whether for your logo, your annual report or your next book cover — sets the tone for how your business is perceived.
Traditionally, financial services have always been known to use a SERIF font from the Times Roman family to emote trust, stability, authority (as in the ING example) — but even that has changed over the years in an effort to be portrayed as less “stodgy” and more “current” (as in the US Bank example).
Own Your Own Color & Help Save a Child’s Life.
What color will YOU choose?
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?
Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen . . . CAN “Spoil the Pot” and Spoil Your Brand Impact
Small business owners — especially solo-preneurs — tend to ask everyone they meet for an opinion when it comes to marketing. They fall prey to the DELUSION that the more people they ask, the more they will learn about how to market their business. Trick is . . . for every person they ask, they are guaranteed to get a different opinion, which quite often leaves the business owner even more confused.
Unfortunately, this DELUSION leads to brand DILUTION.
Avoid the Dilution of your Brand Message through Visual, Verbal and Virtual Consistency.
If you are not comfortable in making marketing decisions, hand that responsibility over to ONE trusted partner. Having one primary marketing partner to help you craft your overall brand strategy will create a clear and consistent marketing message.
- Visual Message. Scattering your design projects among several designers will do just that — scatter your image and create confusion. Develop a visual brand strategy that supports your brand message and stick to ONE professional designer that understands visual brand strategy.
- Verbal Message. There is so much more to writing marketing copy than stringing words together into a sentence. Your consumer is more likely to remember you when you have a consistent tone and message written by ONE professional writer/editor.
- Virtual Message. Not all web designers are web developers (and vice-versa). If you are lucky, you’ll find one that does both. The same goes for SEO and/or Social Media — trust ONE expert to set you up with a customized plan.
Resist the Delusion of Getting Something for Free.
Barter is not always best. Smarter is best. Everyone is on a budget and looking for ways to stretch a dollar, yet if the outcome of your “trade for services” brings about chaos and confusion with your consumer, then you have essentially gotten what you paid for (nothing), and you’ve wasted everyone’s time (which by the way, is valuable). Choose “smarter” — and make decisions based upon what is best for your brand message.
Trust Your Instincts.
At your gut level, you know what is best for your business. Learn to trust those instincts. Avoid the temptation to “collect” a cadre of disparate designers, writers and web developers — find a few key players whom you trust to help you develop your “big picture” brand and trust them to help you craft a consistent brand message. Creating a clear and consistent Visual, Verbal and Virtual message for your consumer serves to clarify and solidify your brand and strengthen your client/consumer relationships – and will cost you less in the long run.
LOGOS & COLOR
As Leatrice Eiseman executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, explains in her book Color Messages and Meanings, “While it is a given that a successful brand logo is a happy marriage of shapes, symbols and colors, it is truly the colors that evoke the emotional message.”
Many leading brands are so linked to specific hues that they are primarily recognized by their color or colors.
Think Tiffany blue, Coke red, American Express blue, Kodak yellow and red, or DeWalt black and yellow. “Tiffany Blue” is the colloquial name for the blue color associated with Tiffany & Co., the New York City jewelry company. Tiffany Blue is a specific shade of light blue; it is very similar to the blue of a robin’s egg. The color is produced as a private custom color by Pantone, with PMS number 1837. As a trademarked color, it is not publicly available and is not printed in the Pantone Matching System swatch books.
When a color and design “signature” is established, it becomes the brand identifier that reinforces the image in the marketplace. This includes print and collateral materials, websites, packaging, point-of-purchase displays, signage, as well as the product itself, creating what is termed a “total brand experience”.
To your customer, when joining your “tribe”, color becomes a subliminal part of the brand experience. Whenever they shop or seek information about your brand, color serves to reinforce your brand and helps to establish that they will receive the same quality and service across many platforms.