Sunday, October 27, 2013

Watching Football Can Help Develop Business!

In a few weeks it will be my oldest son’s last week playing college football. What I have I learned after 18 years of watching my oldest play football? Perhaps some of these tips would apply to your business. 

1.      Team sports teach the value and importance of how to work as a team in tandem with shared goals.
2.      The team relies on each individual to add their contribution to creating a winning game.
3.      Teams with a winning season stay focused on long term goals with good coaching and a shared commitment.
4.      A team is only as strong as its weakest link.
5.      A team only moves forward when they believe in the mission from the top down.
6.      Consistency is demonstrated in cumulative performance not in random occurrences.
7.      Talent needs to be nurtured and directed. 
8.      Every coaching style is not a fit for every player.
9.      Great coaches find what motivates their players and how to best use the skill sets among the players given or recruited to shape the play into a form of teamwork that will generate results.
10.  A strong coach sets a tone and demonstrates consistent actions to reinforce their message; one where only teamwork with a united focus will be tolerated.
11.   When coaches build trust among the team for acknowledging each members contribution, that coach is in turn creating an environment of respect.
12.  A motivated player or coach can shake off the negativity of fans and move past set backs.
13.  Visualization on a desired goal keeps competitive players learning, developing, adapting and changing. 

As a business owner, I can relate to the position of the player or the coach on any given day. Staying focused on long term goals when faced with short term set backs can be a challenge; especially when it’s tied to income. However, like a bad game or a bad play the larger message learned is –“move on” and “don’t let that set back define you or own you”. 

Seeking ways to adapt ones business model to the strengths of their team and learning from the weakest moments is the secret weapon gained by the entrepreneur.  Whether a business is a small brand in the making or a large brand known nationally, shared ideas and goals are essential to a successful year. As companies look toward the last quarter, most likely they will be looking internally at their strengths and weaknesses for answers to help shape that last drive for 2013 towards profits. 

As I read business journals and publications related to sales, leadership, and client relationships, I’m always looking for the take away that resonated with me for reflection, focus and change; coaching tips that both fit my style and push my comfort zone. 

What’s the best take away you’ve had in recent weeks?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Can You Put A Whale Fit In A Goldfish Bowl?

Really you have to ask? The answer of course is no; but how many times does a client ask us to include too much information in an imprint area; all the time.
You’ve selected the pieces, but do they work with your imprint?
The imprint area is important to a promotional item, so it’s important not to crowd the space. The typical pen imprint size is 1 ½ w x 11/16 h, while the information wraps on the barrel, which example is easier to read?

A legible logo is critical to your branding, therefore understanding basic principles and elements of design you learned back in grade school are critical to success. Whether your logo is based on words, includes an image with the text or tells a story with the imagery behind the name; there are some basic guidelines for designing a logo initially or in considering a re-branding. 

Line– Consider the outcome you are seeking with font selections. The font selection helps to set a mood or tone for the design concept. For example, curving lines imply motion or energy while horizontal lines are restful and stable. When selecting a font, keep in mind that small thin lines can get lost or fill in smaller imprint areas. Ask your graphic designer to show you how your logo will look at small and large imprint area sizes. If you are not sure, ask your promotional consultant to send you some common imprint areas to help determine what will fit. Selecting a standard font helps if the vectored, EPS files are not easily accessible to all of your brand representatives to share for imprinting. 

Shape– Geometric shapes tend to represent order and balance while organic free flowing shapes invite play and creativity. Simple shapes are “clean” and straight forward; making the shape easier to reduce in smaller areas. Make sure that your logo will work in square imprint areas, allowing for stacking in longer names or dropping the tagline; many imprint areas have a square shape and will not allow for a wrap to stretch the imprint area to a larger horizontal. 

Color– The colors you select create impressions for your company. Selecting warm colors like red, orange and yellow are intense, bold statements while cool colors such as purple, blue and green provide calm, restful suggestions. Logos that have shading look great on paper printing, but can add more challenges, cost and time for imprinting on promotional pieces. Selecting PMS colors that are popular or standard imprint colors can save on imprint set up costs. Many promotional pieces come in standard PMS colors as well to allow for more imprinting options for your brand. 

Value– When selecting an imprint color, make sure your brand guide allows for a standard one color default such as black or white in one color for printing quickly on rush orders or to provide more contrast to the color of the item selected.  Logos with shading or gradients to simulate a 3 dimensional appearance look great on paper, but will not work for many types of standard imprinting, silkscreen or embroidery.

A strong logo is a practical graphic that is appealing, memorable, easy to recognize and conveys your intended message. Your logo represents your company’s name, while your brand is your company’s products, services and benefits identified by your chosen logo design. Make sure you do not crowd the space of your imprint area. The key is to provide your brand on a useful promotional piece that your target market will interact with on numerous occasions creating a lasting advertising space for your brand. Adding too much content will make it difficult to focus on the brand.

However just like the AT& T commercial with the kids responding to questions- you want more, more, more right? When can you add more content? Add content when you have a larger imprint area!
What types of items have a larger imprint area?

·         Drink ware that allows for a wrap
·         Bags
·         T-shirts
·         Stadium cushions
·         Coasters

When you have the space for a whale of an idea, consider adding some fun slogans to capture your message with the bag- add the cheese please. By using often trite plays on words, you’re able to reinforce your message related to service or benefits. For example a bag might imply themes such as:

  • Bag more…
  • Net more…..
  • Hold more….
  • Fulfill ….
  • Load up on….
  • Let us carry you to….

Now that you have some brand tips for guidance, just ask us for a whale of an idea the next time you want more content for your branding.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Top Secret Way to Generate More Referrals

Are your employees promoting their employer, connecting with potential new hires and generating referrals? If you answered no, you may need to craft a referral program. By utilizing your staff as a brand builder you’ve empowered a top secret approach to generate growth! When a company or organization grows, so do the benefits for that employee. However, often non profits and small businesses are guilty of not promoting their brand because they are focused on maximizing dollars. Branding is critical for everyone in every organization, regardless of the size. 

Consider for a moment your perception of a company that displays print rich images and branding at the point of reception. Companies that layer brand colors and logos throughout the building as well as with the apparel of employees are promoting the brand. In your virtual moment, does the conference room contain branding on the walls, drink ware and meeting materials? Think about it, does a well dressed person usually wear designer shoes with a Target purse? In other words, perceived or real an organization or business is seeking to provide the feeling of a larger well thought out brand from head to toe.

Stay top of mind with employees by adding branding to their everyday routine

Select functional pieces for your industry and work environment. Are you on a budget? Who isn’t? However that does not mean you can not have some fun! 

·         Perhaps branded silicone wristbands might remind employees of referral rewards program.
·         New hires might receive a company branded welcome kit with a bag, pen, journal and travel mug.
·         Make goals and programs intriguing to employees. Include a hand written message from the owner or CEO at their desk on Monday morning.
·         Strengthen your message with strong visual images, a pyramid is seen as solid structure while a file box is seen as work; what do you think of when you see a metal briefcase? Security or top secret documents? What if you made the job of getting referrals part of a top secret mission just for employees?
·         Use chalkboard mugs strategically placed as a way to provide clues or incentives to the “next step” in the referral process.
·         Does your service fit your customers like a glove? Perhaps to kick off the campaign by providing each employee a pair of gloves to remind them about key ways your service fits your customers. Insert the key points inside the gloves for employees to absorb and post at their desk. They can then keep the gloves as a gift and reminder of the program.

Think head to toe…inside and out, what small changes can you make to add more revenue to your business by make intentional choices to build your referrals from the inside out. Have a strategy that has worked well for your company? Share it on our blog.