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Extreme Makeover ? Small Business Edition
Have you ever watched one of those home makeover shows? You know the scenario. The homeowners have decorated or remodeled their house all by themselves. After awhile, they realize that what they did is unprofessional, it doesn't work, it's not what they want, it's not what they need, it's ugly, or they just flat out despise it. So, they hire an expert designer to help.
After meeting with the family to find out their wants, needs, desires and dreams, the expert takes that information and goes to work, completely making over the house.
The final results are amazing. The differences are like night and day. The homeowners are surprised and utterly astonished. Some laugh and some even cry, because right in front of their eyes, they see what they never imagined possible. It's what they want, it's what they need, it's what they were trying to do themselves, but simply couldn't.
What does all of this have to do with graphic design and marketing?
Unfortunately, most small business owners, like the homeowners, do all their own graphic design and marketing themselves. They design the logo for their small business...themselves. They design the stationery for their small business...themselves. They write and design the brochure for their small business...themselves. They design and build the web site for their small business...themselves. Typically, they do ALL of the graphic design and marketing for their small business...you guessed it...themselves.
It's unfortunate. Because the results of doing all of this...themselves...is similar to those experienced by the homeowners in the makeover shows. The graphic design and marketing materials they have created look unprofessional, they don't work, they don't get results, they look homemade and they aren't functional. Simply put, they're amateurish.
What should you do? Let's reconsider the home makeover shows, and determine what the homeowners did right. You can learn something from the homeowners and apply this to your small business.
First. They realize that what they have done themselves, simply isn't working. They're frustrated that what they have done does not work anymore. They know that they need a change.
Second. They realize that they are not the experts in this particular area. They know that they need expert designer help to fix what they have done to make it functional, appealing and successful.
Third. They meet with the expert designer to discuss their wants, needs and desires. They express exactly what they want to accomplish. They also admit that what they have tried to do...themselves...doesn't work.
Fourth. They let the expert get to work. They trust that they will get the results they want and desire. They know the finished product will far exceed what they could have ever done themselves.
Fifth. They get to see and experience the finished result, which is a beautiful, functional, valuable, contemporary, awesome solution that works and gives them the results they wanted to accomplish in the first place.
When it comes to creating and executing the graphic design and marketing materials for your small business, the same results can and will happen for you. But, you have to hire an expert to give your business an extreme makeover.
When the expert is done, the graphic design and marketing materials for your small business will be attractive, professional, beautiful, successful, what you want, what you need and it will accomplish the goals you are trying to achieve.
There is only one catch: you have to stop doing everything yourself.
If you are doing or have done all of the graphic design and marketing materials for your small business...all by yourself...it's time to call in an expert.
Like the homeowners, chances are you'll be surprised and completely amazed. Right in front of your eyes, you will see results that you always wanted, but could not achieve yourself.
Jeanna Pool is President of CATALYST creative, inc., located in Denver, Colorado. She helps small business owners who are really good at what they do, but struggle to market their services effectively to attract more clients on a consistent basis. She can be contacted at http://www.catalystcreativeinc.com or 303.380.9100.
Brand Image ? Brand Identity Guru
Having a brand image is not a "have or have not" proposition. Everyone has one. The problem is that you might have more than one brand image, depending on whom you ask. You know yourself, but depending on whom you talk to, others may think you're something completely different. That's when a brand image company can help. You need to consider hiring a brand image company that identifies your most powerful brand image and then works to make it your only brand image. The phrase "brand image" gained notoriety when sales patterns began to show that feelings and visuals associated with brands were powerful motivators to purchase products. It isn't just products that consumers buy. It's their associated personalities and values.
Measuring Return On Investment
...or Is My Brand Working?
Branding Guru - Brand Identity Guru
The Brand Called You
The best brands always try to do the right thing, so that their reputations will remain unsullied. But beyond that they grow, evolve and get better with time, while maintaining their special qualities from the past.We all have a personal brand with social, cultural, intellectual, and personal needs that may not necessarily be addressed in our daily work. Address these needs and you begin to improve your brand. Here is my agenda for building your brand.Join and participate in community and professional organizations Generate media coverage about your brand Stay in touch, or renew old ties with friends, family and business associates Let's examine how each one improves your brand.Join and participate in professional and community organizationsThe best brands grow, evolve and get better with time, while maintaining their special qualities from the past.Professional and community organizations provide ample opportunity to learn and grow.They provide professional development opportunities. They allow you to network with peers as well as with people you would not necessarily ever meet in the normal course of your workday.For instance, I am a member and served on the board of our local International Association of Business Communicators chapter. This allowed me to broaden my contacts in the corporate communications world, as well as form a number of friendships I probably never would have developed. I'm also a member of the North Carolina Citizens For Business and Industry. Here I meet people from all walks of life and all work disciplines. Finally, I am involved with Charlotte Reads, a local non-profit that focuses on literacy issues. This allows me to use my communication experience in support of an issue I feel very strongly about.But it's not enough to just join groups: you must participate to benefit fully. As a participant you have the opportunity to stretch, to gain confidence in yourself. Learn to lead by involvement on the board or in a special project.If you are a communicator by trade, try being treasurer for the group to exercise the other side of your brain, or take on a special project about which you feel strongly.Generate media coverage about your brandAll that professional and community involvement will certainly lead to opportunities to leverage that involvement into news about the brand called you. And, of course, there will be promotions, new assignments, and awards at work, too. More opportunities to make headlines.Your achievements are of interest to local print, broadcast, and online media, particularly the business pages. In Charlotte, the Observer has a weekly feature called On The Move spotlighting someone in a new position. The Charlotte Business Journal has a similar feature called Moving Up. If it is a big enough move and your company won't do it, pay the estimated $150 to place it on BusinessWire or PR Newswire. Consider it an investment in your future. Don't forget trade publications serving your industry and alumni publications.Seek out speaking engagements and write guest articles, too. This is yet another way to publicize your brand. And don't forget to do news releases when you make a speech or write an article. It's all about merchandising.To stay top of mind, you might even want to develop your own monthly e-newsletter like Think, the Hoover ink publication. Keep it mostly informational and limit the commercial material.Stay in touch, or renew old ties with friends, family and business associatesEveryone you know can be a brand ambassador for you, so stay in touch or reach out to those you haven't talked with for a while.Yet another reason for having a monthly newsletter that shares your expertise.The network of contacts you have built over your lifetime will be instrumental if you decide to start your own business, or change jobs.So, heed this word of advice: always deal fairly with people. One bad experience with your brand can negate 10 positive ones.Now, get out there and start branding.
John Deere and NASCAR; Excellent Use of Brand
We should all recognize the marketing efforts of John Deere especially as we have spoken before with regards to their TOYS. They have a complete line of nearly every tractor or agricultural attachment they make available in small, micro size.
Corporate Branding ? Dont Forget Your CDs!
Companies have been branding their collateral materials such as letterhead, envelopes, business cards, etc. for years. In fact, we often identify a company by its familiar logo or special color scheme. Branding works!! At the same time, many companies send customers and vendors large files, proposals and presentations on CD-Rs. Since CD-Rs have become the "new and more efficient" way of exchanging important information, it would seem that more companies would find it valuable to brand their CD-Rs also.
Are You Brand Worthy? Are You Brand Worthy?
Branding is a one hot topic, although it is wildly misunderstood. To make things even more confusing, branding is often tossed in the same basket as marketing which makes its application to an entrepreneur or sole-practioner even more unclear.
How Do You Define a Good Logo Design?
Everyone wants his company logo to be the best but how good is good? How do we define a good logo? Is it necessary to be colorful or an exquisite piece of art? Can a simple design work as a good logo? We are often in a dilemma.
No Logo? Launching A Business Without a Logo Can Sabotage You
Initial lack of customers and cash flow often causes a small business to put off designing a logo and marketing materials professionally "until [they] got a few clients" or "until [they] get started." Designing their own marketing materials when they launch their business, instead of having them professionally created, will make getting those initial clients more difficult, and may result in a business that will not succeed.
Choosing The Right Business Name
Sometimes, new entrepreneurs are in such a rush to get started at their businesses that they jump right into working with customers without giving much thought to their BUSINESS NAME. "I'll just do business under my own name for a while, until I find something I like." While it seems easy at the time, you might want to re-think the plan to change business names down the road. You will find that, as your professional recognition and customer base grow, people have started to IDENTIFY you with the name of your company. A name change in mid-stream can be costly and confusing.
Donald Trump On Branding - Brand Identity Guru
Love him or hate him, one thing is certain: Donald Trump is a successful guy. We don't have to sum up his accomplishments for you, because his name speaks for itself. Everything he does has his name behind it and, when you hear Trump, you know it's going to be over the top in quality and style.
Corporate Branding and Professional Logo Design
Any business with the minimum interest to be successful should concentrate on developing their corporate image and when I say "any business", I mean it, absolutely any business-even if it's a mom-n-pop shop. "Corporate image" might be a big word for such small ventures, however, what I meant by that is how the business wants themselves to be perceived by their customers. Irrespective of the size of the business it is very important to determine how do you come across to your potential customers? How do you compare to your competitors? These factors are largely determined by your branding and marketing strategies. Branding tools like logo designs, business cards etc goes a long way in creating your corporate image. Any marketing communication material should ideally have your corporate logo on it, which would give more credibility for your business as well as help your client to perceive your business as a professional enterprise.
Pressure Washing Companies and Co-Branding
Pressure washing companies often miss what we call 'super niche' markets, those industries which very much need pressure washing services and are willing to pay top dollar for them. One such industry is the signage business. For a pressure washing company with no relatives or friends in that industry it is hard to break in and get work there, however if you con-brand with an existing company you may find yourself with more work than you can handle and able to bill at very high rates
Trademark Issues in the Mobil Auto Business
There have always been trademark issues and lawsuits in the mobile auto service business. I know this because I own several such businesses. We first noticed a competitor in the Mobile Auto Detailing Business, which had a name "Mobile Auto Services" another "Mobile Oil Change" and still another "Mobile Car Care". Mobil Oil Company was marketing at the time their Gas Station Service Centers as "Mobil Auto-Services" "Mobil Car Care" and "Mobil Auto Care."
Blonds Have More Fun!
In the book, The Blond Knight of Germany, American authors Toliver and Constable detail the life of the greatest fighter pilot to ever fly, Germany's Erich Hartmann. During WWII, Hartmann recorded 352 confirmed in-flight victories. To put it into perspective, very few American fighter pilots reached 100 in-flight victories. Simply put, Erich Hartmann reached levels of greatness most fighter pilots can only dream about.
Brand to Sell Well
Branding is an application of appropriate marketing techniques in the right proportion to a product. Brand management is to manage the forces in a market suitably to win favors for the product.
Revealing the Roots: The Process of Building Brand
How is branding different than marketing?
Is Your Logo Helping or Hurting Your Business?
The quality of your logo can mean the difference between success or failure. It can be that simple!
Eye On The Pie: Branding From an Investors P.O.V.
When building a business as a brand it's important to avoid a myopic view and consider another important aspect of the business game as well-- investing. After any amount of toil and hard work to create a valuable product, service or company the big game is when you go public-- when money-minded people want more, they want a piece of your brand pie.
The Top 10 Strategies for the Positioning of Success
Many businesses of today are often driven to compete striclty on price, quality, and features of their products and services. Companies who prosper over the long term don't simply offer the best deals, the best quality, or the most impressive bells and whistles. If you want to win big in today's cutting edge world of business, you have to begin by thinking differently and by challenging the status quo. Whether you are a new or an established business owner, these ten powerful strategies will position your company for big success.
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