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marketing 101

Thursday, 18 April 2013 15:31

Never Stop Observing what your Customers Do

Customer Behavior is one of the most telling truths in business, and one of the best ways to learn about your customers is to watch them and listen to them!


From Steve Yastrow's book, Brand Harmony (page 54-55).

"Jerry Hirschberg, president of Nissan Design, tells a great story about how his team determined the best colors for a line of children's furniture in 2001. The tendency, of course, is for adults to think that kids want things in big, bold primary colors. While observing children at play in a day care cent, one of Jerry's designers got down on the floor and asked one of the children if she could see his box of crayons. She poured the crayons out and looked for those that were the shortest, i.e., the most used. Those colors did not happen to be the bold, primary colors that most would have guessed they would be. The result was a line of children's furniture in earth tones. Most of your customers aren't as forthcoming and honest as children; they may not tell you their favorite color, but you certainly can look for their shortest crayons."



This year's TEDx inspiration "Velocity" was on Saturday. While there I got to listen to:

Gary Hirsch - Great improvisor, Collaborator & Robot Illustrator 


Stephen Kellogg - Great musician with four girls


Mohammad Khan Kharoti - Educating girls in rural Afghanistan




Rebecca Shapiro - Local Portland artist


Tyler Jones - Sustainable farming from Corvallis, OR


Juvie Hall & Cynthia Lopez - Women promoting women's worldwide demolition derby


Jensine Larsen - Crowdsourcing - connecting women worldwide


Jim Zemlin - CEO of Linux foundation


Brian Liindstrom - Local film/documentary director


Bruce Livingston - PlayWrite director for Youth at the Edge


Roxie McGovern - CHAP (Children's Healing Art Project) director


Lillian Pitt & Toma Villa - Teaching ancestral art to the Indian nation


Dmae Roberts - Film maker (a Daughter's Song)


Sing With Us - A people's choir

It was well worth the money! I recommend it to everyone for some inspiration in today's crazy hurried world.












Tuesday, 19 March 2013 11:06

Molly's Fund Employee of the Month


This last February I was priviledged to have Molly's Fund honor me in their newsletter for employee of the month. Here are the questions that they asked and my responses:


How did you first hear about Molly's Fund?

mj: I heard about Molly's Fund from my business mentor (Molly's Fund Development Director) David Szyplinski. David asked me if I was interested in playing in his "new sandbox".


Why did you become interested in being a part of Molly's Fund?

mj: After taking on the position as the Marketing Committee Co-Chairman (shared with my partner in crime, Handyman Bob), I realized that I had found another avenue to share my marketing passion. Molly's Fund is on the fast track to helping people with lupus which I am learning more about everyday. I love being a part of this culture.


What is your day job?

mj: I am owner/designer at Inkspot Graphics. I have a real passion to be a "storyteller" for my clients. I research their business, who their competitors are and document who their target market is. Whit all this information, I will propose to my client how to capture the attention of their target market. I will often ask, "What makes you different than all your competitors and how are you going to "stick out" to your target market? (He also translates this passion and expertise in his diligent and incomparable work with Molly's Fund Fighting Lupus.)

I love being a "connector"! If we were to sit down for a casual cup of coffee, I guarantee that in 20 minutes I will say, "I know someone that you need to talk to…". To be a successful business owner today you need to always tweak your business strategy, take risks and have a "purpose".

I am always trying to put my education degree to use. I have recognized that whatever facet I am involved with I am always trying to share my knowledge to better everyone around me. I realize that my passion for marketing will eventually help everyone succeed.

They cal me "amazing mike" because I am the master at creating clever concepts and seeing them all the way through completion. I stay on top of all my vendors and oversee a consistent quality of my client's brand. I will take into consideration all those that I work with and offer a hand when they need to take that first hurdling step…


What are some fun trivia facts about Mike Johnson that most people don't know?

  1. Umpired softball & hardball for 25 years.
  2. Bartended for 15 years in the Pacific Northwest.
  3. Love to cook (and usually make enough for an army) because I come from a large family. I am the oldest of four boys.
  4. Married to my lovely wife, Paula for 17 years. We have adopted two children, Rachael (21) and Teresa (14), and now a new grandfather to Ledger.
  5. Rowed Crew at Western Washington University for two years.
  6. Love to play pinochle, poker and drink local microbrew IPA (or margarita, red wine, Irish whiskey, etc.)
  7. Found out the hard way that I am not a great "tourist". To find out more, ask me about my honeymoon to Maui…but only if you have an hour to kill and want to laugh so hard you'll cry your eyes out.
  8. And finally… wait for the "Amazing Mike" movie! You'll never forget it.

family 2004






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    This blog will provide you with examples of my experiences of marketing.  I am a professional educator and story teller.  My goal is to help your company succeed by telling your story.


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“I hired Mike Johnson to assist me with a branding concept for my bookkeeping business in January of 2008. His work has been impressive! He helped me develop my advertising foundation and designed several key promotional pieces. I love my new company image and would highly recommend his services for anyone seeking marketing materials. He is very knowledgeable and a friendly professional. Thanks, Mike!”

-Lisa Soto, Action Bookkeeping