As you know (maybe you don't) that it has a been part of my business model to go out to meet two new people a week and go to a networking event once a week. I do this to get my business name out there and to promote my business. I learned that it is one more asset of marketing that businesses need to do (even in good time)s.
When the US had economic troubles in 2008 I almost lost my business because I never went out to either sell or market my business. When a couple of sources dried up and I was forced to live off my credit card for three months. Bad decision, so I sucked it up and started networking with people/businesses in my community.
I found myself attending this networking event last week (FREE Small Business Event: How to Become a Social All-Star) that was put on by Frontier, at the Embassy Suites in Beaverton, OR. It was here that I got to hear from a couple of local big hitters in the social media world. Patrick Galvin (Galvin Communications), Jan Wallen (mastering LinkedIn) and Ryan Lewis (Bonfire Social Media). I even met a woman that has an automotive repair shop close to my office that was interested in talking about her business and the downtown Rotary group. This may be another post and opportunity for Molly's Fund to meet corporate sponsors.
Patrick Galvin - Chief galvanizer for Galvin Communications.
I went up and introduced myself to Patrick and asked if he would like to meet for coffee and have more conversation. He was more than happy to meet at Case Study coffee shop that is located in the Hollywood district of Portland. Finally, during his introduction at the Social Star Event he spoke on his commitment to WOM marketing. I am a heavy endorser of Andy Sernovitz's WOM campaign. He has a great newsletter called, "Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That".
Speaking of WOM… Patrick is a Connector and endorsed Case Study coffee shop that a friend of his owns (and the little bakery next door to it). It is always a treat to find someone locally that has a passion about helping other businesses through word of mouth!
Patrick owns a PR firm in town and has a handful of clients that he promotes in the traditional and social media venues. He also is a professional speaker that presents to various groups and events.
But what really caught my attention was that he has a dog, Bella the Boxer, that he has creatively introduced as the star of the Hollywood neighborhood (especially businesses). He speaks through Bella as a Goodwill Ambassador. It is pretty funny. It was so popular that Patrick had a written, Secrets of a Working Dog: Unleash your Potential and Create Success.
I really enjoyed my conversation with Patrick and welcome him into my group of Strategic Partners. He passed on information about a local video connection and also one in the Bay Area (where I may be reaching out to because of my connections down there). We talked about our adopted children and lives outside of the business world. I will keep him in my thoughts when I see anything of interest in the Social Media world. I would recommend signing up for Patrick's blog - Buzz Builder.
I was approached to design a logo for a new committee…
Our executive director came to me and said, "We need to have a design made for this new program." I was honored that he was going to pay me for a service that I could have promoted in our local chamber. Part of my design process is to learn more about the direction and how it is to be used. I have been telling quite a large number of contacts, "I could design you a pretty logo but is it going to be functional and are you going to question the design in 6 months to a year down the road."
I sat down and discussed more about the project with two women that were on the committee. I went through my creative brief questionnaire with them and found alot of holes in the project direction. I submitted a proposal to the director and followed up with a phone call. He said, "Mike, I just need a logo!" It sounded like that he wanted something inexpensive and created immediately. I begrudgingly said, "Terry, I can make you a pretty logo for $XXX.XX!" I wasn't happy about my response but deep down inside I didn't feel like I was going to be proud of my task at hand. In the end could I really say, "This design was well thought out and very functional."
Needless to say, Terry never called me back. This is the design that they came up with:
and here is one of the places that they are using it:
Personally, this doesn't work for me way too much going on and too many colors. I thought that I would share this beautiful web site layout by Baker and Spice Bakery. Very clean and beautifully designed. I would be proud to show this in my portfolio.
Idea Mensch interviewed me & my business.
I was very honored by the article and my thanks to Mario. I can't say anymore about speading your company's message to your audience.
Biscuits Cafe on Johnson Creek Road in Clackamas, OR.
I was invited to my first Molly's Fund board member interview at Biscuit's Cafe. They are a local chain in the Portland metro area. Their food is consistent and large portions (you could split a normal plate with two other people). Never had a bad meal.
But this franchise went to the point of putting their PURPOSE right on the wall when you walk in (with the owner's signatures). That tells me that they are going stand behind their food, employees and service. I like that.
To make it one step better would be to show your customers the faces (and their stories) that provide them with the fresh food.
Ben Sandberg - PDX Fix It
I started working with a friend of mine that is a local Joomla web developer that was looking to rebrand himself.
We went through the discovery process and researching his competition and target market. I went through and made four pages of conceptional ideas.
Looked at mood board printouts with various colors and images (icons). Dug deeper into what was his "purpose". By discussing more he found that he had quite a few different directions he could take his company.
Presentation of three polished concepts that I liked and completely identified his personality. My challenge was to make his brand memorable and his company's URL to stick in his customer's head. We also talked about what are the descriptive key words that describe him and his business. So if your potential clients are trying to look for you what would they Google search for?
I really thought that makes Ben unforgettable is that he is always wearing those shoes that have the toes sticking out. He loves those and I think that it is one of the funniest things that I will always remember about him.
Ben told me that his wife, Amanda, was really impressed with the brand discovery process and wanted me to do her company's logo. It is really nice to have people that are excited and see the real value of having a purpose.
Meet Chuck from E-Zee Fence Post Repair.
I got a referral from a friend of mine. I called and I met Chuck at Starbucks. We exchanged business cards and I was trying not to let my jaw hit the ground! I looked at his business card and was frustrated because I didn't know what his logo or product was. He asked me what I thought of it…
There were a couple of problems:
1. I asked him how he picked his company's name "E-Zee Fence Post Repair"
It described the ease of using the product. Unfortunately, there is another company with the name EZ Fence and E-Z Fence products.
* This is a big branding problem if you are trying to sell a product that conflicts with competitor names. Most of the time the buyer will go with the first one that he finds.
2. His company card didn't have a logo that makes product memorable to target market.
I took some time to explain how branding works for your business. The card that the designer created had three different icons on it. The recycle bug, the fence and the "President's Club" logo.
He explained that his background was in sales and that the designer that he hired basically created the pieces without any reasoning. And billed him $1500.00 to boot!
3. The designer didn't use any bleeds on the card (which normally has the card cut unevenly). It also tells me that he probably had it printed online to cut his costs.
4. Used all CAPS for the long business name. It is harder to read both for print & web.
5. The designer's "Before" business card didn't stick out. I told Chuck that he needed to have a sticker of his brand on the product (I will show in another post). I presented his card with a blue and red logo (which really popped). Chuck didn't want his logo to have that much attention so we compromised on a brown color.
I told Chuck that I would help him out with his branding and all his marketing. I knew that he didn't have very much more money to spend before he went broke, so I put a little time in this project. My goal is to do the right thing and give Chuck some marketing that would help his business and look professional. He has been very happy with his new campaign. Unfortunately, I met with a public relations specialist, Amber Dennis and she told me that Chuck should rethink his whole business name but he couldn't afford to spend anymore time (or money) with branding his product. I did the best with the cards I was dealt and it was a HUGE STEP for Chuck and his business!
My next post will show the brochure that I created for E-Zee Fence Post Repair.
From an article posted in the Costco Connection by Andrew Lock on "Don't Give UP".
"…teachers said he was 'too stupid to learn anything.' he was fired from his first two jobs for being 'nonproductive.' As an inventor, Edison made more than 1,000 unsuccessful attempts to invent the light bulb. When a reporter asked him how it felt to fail 1,000 times, Edison said that he didn't fail all those times, but that the light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."
Another one of the wonderful tips from DHX Advertising's "Marketing 101" digital booklet.
What is your Purpose?
I think that a better word is Purpose. There is another great book that I have to share with you called, "It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For". Roy tells stories about companies that will be left standing after our little recession because they are businesses that stand for something (or cause).
The majority of business people will say, "To make a million dollars!" Because that is what every company wants to do. But by having a purpose, you have something unique about yourself or business. Whether it is to help your local community, school or non-profit…the message will get spread to others in the community that will always come back to you in a positive light.
© 2011 Michael Johnson - Inkspot Graphics. All rights reserved
Catch their eyes!
I was very happy with this ad that I created for local CEIC publication. It does a couple of things…
1. It will stop people when they are reading publication because of curiosity. Why does this cow have a funny icon on him? Now they have to read the copy.
2. It is humorous which reflects on my personality and business model.
3. The icon (or QR code) is one of the fairly new social media technologies that will actually direct you to my website blog if you were to use a QR reader on your smart phone.
We also thought about putting a testimonial from another CEIC member but I thought that it would disrupt the clean layout. I love the white space!
Do you have any other samples of good layout that has plenty of white space?
© 2011 Michael Johnson - Inkspot Graphics. All rights reserved
My studio partner & I went out to lunch last week. We like to have our brainstorming session over lunch. And we thought that we would revisit,
The Taproom in North Portland, OR
The Taproom in the industrial side of Portland, OR and is a part of MacTarnahan's (Pyramid Breweries). We had finished a nice lunch outside and went into the hostess area. There were business cards of the managers for the restaurant on the table. And me, the curious marketing guy, picked up one of them and flipped it over. Below is what I saw on the back of their corporate card.
I had to take a second look. All their beer product line was blurry (out-of-focus) and the image of all the bottles weren't even centered on the card. I just couldn't believe that such a large company probably had these business cards printed on line or with a digital printing company that really didn't give a damn!
I spent some time trying to find the corporate office to send them an email telling them that I could really help them with this part of their marketing. What I would of suggested:
1. Use a high resolution image of their beer product line.
2. Print the backs of the business cards (100,000 at a time). These shells then could be reprinted on the fronts with each new employee.
3. Go to a reputable printer that has a color management system in place.
4. Go to the press check to inspect printing quality and colors.
Needless to say, I never heard back from them! Didn't shock me, why would you admit that you made a mistake to your audience?
This is the warning that I give to my regular clients about printing on-line. Yes, there are some great deals but you get what you get! They gang tons of business cards up on a printing run and adjust the color for all the cards so that you get pleasing color. Everything is automated and no one is taking responsibility for quality control. It really can destroy your brand.