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Asking for magic without leaving the comfort zone would be like handing Picasso a single bucket of grey paint and expecting a masterpiece. 

It’s an overused statement, but magic does NOT happen inside your comfort zone.

Nearly every day, clients and prospects bring up examples of groundbreaking ideas. Things they’ve seen in case studies or heard about, brilliant work that made a difference. Then they proceed to explain that they want something just as groundbreaking, something that will disrupt the market, something that will break through the clutter…BUT, they want to do this without making any changes, without breaking new ground, without learning new tricks, without taking some chances, without being the bad-ass decision-maker they’re trying to emulate.

Asking for magic without leaving the comfort zone would be like handing Picasso a single bucket of grey paint and expecting a masterpiece.

If you’re wanting to disrupt your market, be a market-leader. Today is the day to roll up your sleeves, grab a shovel, and break new ground.

branding free advice perception and reality reputation management

Image is everything

Simple post, regarding something seen whilst jogging.

If your name has ‘lighting’ in it, you may want to keep your damn sign lit.

advertising branding marketing rants and ramblings reputation management social media

Millennial with a mobile phone doesn’t necessarily equate to social media marketer

You’ve worked for years on your brand. You’ve carefully crafted a look and feel for your company. You have that elevator speech down to an actual fucking art, you can make someone want to hand you money if you have 3 minutes alone with them.

Things have changed in the past few years. Now it appears that every business has to be on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if they want reach consumers. You don’t want to spend time every day trying to monitor online activities and posting narcissistic images, but you have several staff members or family members or family members of staff members that seem to love to use social media. These odd acquaintances have 1000s of followers and can talk all day long about social media and absolutely love to post pictures of their hair and the food they just ate. It seems natural to hand social media activities over to these little online zombies and let them use these ‘skills’ to build your brand and keep you in front of the public eye.

I see this happen almost daily. Brands handed over to people without backgrounds and education and experience in branding. Suddenly the online brands look very different than the brand that has been carefully crafted. The look and feel of your company that exists online would have made you cringe a few years ago. Logos are suddenly pink because it was more visible on the image that was stolen via a Google image search. Likes are counted as important when they have nothing to do with influence – quite often, the type of people that like the new online presence are not the least bit like your actual demographic, they just find the headline funny and notice that one of their ‘friends’ liked the post.

If your online branding is in the hands of someone that doesn’t handle branding for a living, take a look at it. Scour through every post with a new eye. Is this really how you want to be seen? Do the posts fit the carefully crafted messages you are putting forth elsewhere? You’ve been warned, your brand is crumbling in front of your eyes.

branding rants and ramblings wtf

Notes to self, on self

Sometimes there are things you simply need to take note of. Some carry a notepad, some use the little voice recorder on their phoneszane hagy tattoos, some of us ink it forever onto our skin.

I was not, and still am not, someone I think of as having tattoos. That doesn’t change the fact that I currently have 10 words tattooed on my arms in very visible places, all below the elbows.

These tattoos for me are not statements of who I am, but of who I wish to be or things I need to remember. I have failed many times at many things. I have fallen short and let myself and others down, I have hurt myself and have hurt others.

Since I’m asked daily what they mean, here they are. They may mean nothing to most people, but they mean something to me, and that’s what matters.

  • Aequitas – In Roman mythology, Aequitas, also known as Aecetia, was the goddess of fair trade and honest merchants. Like Abundantia, she is depicted with a cornucopia, representing wealth from commerce. She is also shown holding a balance, representing equity and fairness. During the Roman Empire, Aequitas was sometimes worshipped as a quality or aspect of the emperor, under the name Aequitas Augusti. [Aequitas is the tattoo that one brother has in the film The Boondock Saints. His brother has a tattoo of the word Veritas. They represent justice/equality/balance/fairness and truth.]
  • Veritas – In Roman mythology, Veritas, meaning truth, was the goddess of truth, a daughter of Saturn and the mother of Virtus. It was believed that she hid in the bottom of a holy well because she was so elusive. Her image is shown as a young virgin dressed in white.
  • Destiny -The hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate.
  • Forevermore – Forever
  • Nevermore – At no future time; never again.
  • Dolorem Ipsum – dolorem ipsum, translated as “pain itself”
  • Willpower – Control deliberately exerted to do something or to restrain one’s own impulses.
  • Discipline – Train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.
  • Fortuna – Fortuna (Latin: Fortūna, equivalent to the Greek goddess Tyche) was the goddess of fortune and personification of luck in Roman religion. She might bring good or bad luck: she could be represented as veiled and blind, as in modern depictions of Justice, and came to represent life’s capriciousness.
  • Thanatos – In Greek mythology, Thanatos /ˈθænətɒs/ (Greek: Θάνατος [Ancient Greek: [tʰánatos]] “Death”, from θνῄσκω thnēskō “to die, be dying”) was the personification of death. He was a minor figure in Greek mythology, often referred to, but rarely appearing in person.
branding marketing

Is it time to rebrand your business? Or yourself?

Whether it’s your business or your personal brand, there comes a time that rebranding is necessary. An outdated or incorrect brand perpetuates confusion about your actual services and expertise, it also prevents people from knowing just who you really are.
Sometimes we don’t recognize how outdated our brands are, so take a few moments to ask yourself these questions.
  1. Are you still strutting around in a Members Only jacket or brightly colored leg warmers and jelly shoes?
  2. Does your logo use the Atari font?
  3. Was your brand developed as a specific offering, but you now offer much more?
  4. Are you embarrassed to show your logo?
  5. Has your target audience shifted since you originally created your brand?
  6. Does your logo or personal style simply ‘look’ old?
  7. Do your customers have a different perception about who you are and what you do than you want them to have?
If you answered yes to anything above, it’s time to consider rebranding. Of course you don’t want to throw out the equity you’ve developed in your current brand, but you can transition to a new and shiny you, one that’s ready for 2016 and beyond, not just 1988.
Step back and take a look at everything that involves your company and/or personal brand. Look at the print pieces, the logo, the web site, the signage, your wardrobe (do you really need those parachute pants?), the decor in your business. If all the pieces don’t put forth the image you want to convey, don’t be afraid to fix it.
advertising branding general business marketing reputation management

We Never Go Out of Style

James Dean, picnics, whiskey, red lipstick…some things never go out of style. They may not be the current trend, but they’ll always be there in the background.

There are also those things that simply don’t have the staying power. Cupcake stores, Duck Dynasty, Gangham Style, Crocs, Honey Boo Boo…they may have moments of extreme popularity, but they die out over time.

You have to stay on top of trends, and you have to adjust communications to fit the fickle nature of the world we live in. You don’t, however, have to be a brand that will pass like just another fad. Always be cognizant of your positioning, and unless you’re simply trying to make a quick buck, be a brand that never goes out of style.

 

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Don’t You Forget About Me

Be memorable.

Whatever you do, whatever service you provide or product you create, you have to be memorable.

Maybe you’re memorable for being the absolute best, maybe it’s because you’re a square peg that fits into a round hole, or maybe you’re like me and you make up for your shortcomings with loud clothes and tattoos…however you do it, you have to stand out.

Each day I work with  people that offer perfectly suitable products/services, and there’s often absolutely nothing memorable about them or the service. Providing quality simply isn’t enough in today’s world of constant input and competition. You have to be memorable.

Kick back with Simple Minds and enjoy ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ a few times. Think about your brand. Do what has to be done to make sure that you stand out.

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“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” — Don Draper

I have more than 200 absolute favorite quotes from Mad Men. This one is my absolute favorite today, because it fits so many projects at-hand.

A hefty percentage of my time in the public relations side of life is spent with clients in a sort of crisis mode as they concern themselves greatly with the conversations that are currently talking place. My role is to help them focus on communications strategy and the CONVERSATIONS THAT THEY WANT TO BE TAKING PLACE.

Don Draper put it perfectly. “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

In today’s world, it’s easy to do. You have the tools at-hand to keep tabs on what the public is saying about you and/or your brand. It’s well within your grasp to change these conversations. If you can’t do it yourself, professionals can help.

I’ve lived through this regarding professional and personal topics, and I’m sure I will again. When you’re hearing something you don’t like, you have two choices. You can live with it, or you can change it. Be a winner, and change the conversation to something more suitable to your goals.

branding client fun

Quirky branding piece for Innovative Consulting Group

I’ve never thought of IT as fun, but Innovative Consulting Group is so much fun to work with…we almost forget to log the billable hours. They wanted to represent themselves as the fun folks they are, that also take care of business. I’m pleased with the results.

 

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Happy F’ing Black Friday

This one is a few years old, but will still provide a chuckle to those that haven’t seen it. Those awesome Japanese folks opted to have one incredible sale. A sale so good, what else would you possibly call it?

This brings up a fairly important thought, be careful with the message that you’re sending this time of year. Make sure that all of those holiday ads and last-minute promotions stay true to your overall branding strategy. If you’re a high-end retailer, don’t hurriedly cobble together holiday promotions that look like they’re tied to an entirely different company. BE TRUE TO YOUR BRAND.

Along the same lines, which would apply to the image associated with this post, if you’re known for having really fuckin’ good deals. Don’t be shy in telling people.