Tag branding

The right words

How you word your ad makes all the difference, as this video eloquently demonstrates.

This video reminds me of something Bill Bernbach once said.


The benefits of professional services

Hand holding wrenchDavid Airey has a series of posts about the business lessons you can learn from Aesop’s fables. Thoughtful stuff for business owners. The lesson on hiring a professional stands out to me. I often see business owners try to save money by enlisting the help of someone who lacks experience. This is especially true with graphic design and video production.

Having some software is not the same thing as being able to use those tools to effectively communicate a specific message. Most people own a wrench, but that doesn’t mean they can fix your car, does it? For some reason, that realization is lost on a lot of business owners when it comes to logos, advertising, or web site development.


Literal logos

Costa Brava vertical logoLogo Design Love says your logo doesn’t have to show what you do. I heartily agree.


Playing nice, or being nice?

A client recently informed me that they were having trouble with their web site. I designed the site quite some time ago, so it had been a while since I had looked at it. Everything seemed to be working fine (the problem turned out to be a temporary access issue while the hosting service upgraded their servers), so I took a quick look at the client’s blog and this post caught my eye.

A lot of businesses talk about their great customer service, but I rarely experience it. We rarely talk about Thom’s customer service in his advertising, but based on my own experience with him, he regularly delivers.

Advertising is well and good, but you need to deliver on your promises or all the advertising in the world won’t help you.

Full disclosure: Thom is a client, but he didn’t ask me to write this post, nor am I getting any compensation for writing it. I figure one kind turn deserves another.



116 years

1890s Coca-Cola ad

In 1895, Coca-Cola ran its first advertisement. I doubt this is that ad, but it does date back to the 1890’s. My how ad styles change, except for the logo.


How do you set your prices?

Seth Godin has a recent blog post on pricing power. Here’s a quote that stood out to me:

We often find ourselve stuck, matching the other guy’s price, or worse, racing to the bottom to be cheaper. Cheaper is the last refuge of the marketer unable to invent a better product and tell a better story.

There’s a school of marketing that says you have to have the lowest price. That’s basically Walmart’s marketing position.

I don’t buy it, no pun intended. If people only buy the least expensive cars, then how does Mercedes Benz stay in business?

Just some food for thought.



A little help for the upcoming year

Rising ProfitsAs a small business owner, you know that you need to sit down at some point and think long term about your business and its advertising. While I can’t help you set goals for your business, I can offer a little guidance on your advertising and marketing. Here are six past articles from this blog that might help you as you think through and strategize your marketing and advertising for the upcoming year. Click on the title heading and the article will open in a new window.

What do you really sell?

All good strategy’s start by getting down to the basics. You might think you sell furniture, but your customer may be looking for a lot more than that.

How do your customers identify you?

Does your logo, business cards and other advertising and marketing truly reflect the work that you do?

Are you living up to your advertising?

You can say all the good things you want, but if those things aren’t true then you’re going to lose customers instead of gain them.

Make your message strike a chord.

What makes an ad stand out? Its message sticks with you long after you’ve moved on to other things.

The Secret Formula for Successful Advertising.

This was the first post ever published on this blog. It gives a simple explanation of how advertising works.

What are you saying?

Here’s two simple rules to making an effective advertisement.

There’s a lot of food for thought there. I hope this will help you and your small business get off to a good start this upcoming year.


spam irony

No Spam!I get lots of comment spam. As readers, you don’t see it because it gets filtered and eventually deleted. But every now and then one catches my eye because of the complete idiocy of the attempt at advertising. Here’s one such example:

Hi, i simply needed to come here to inform you of a super inexpensive service that posts comments like this on millions of WordPress blogs. Exactly why you might ask, well you may wish to sell something and target webmasters or merely just increase the quantity of backlinks your website has which will improve your Google rankins which will then bring your website much more visitors and cash. Take a quick take a look at this website for much more info. <*link removed*>

So… a spam comment that tells me how I can post comment spam on other people’s blogs. Oh, the irony!

It’s stuff like this that gives advertising a bad name. How you advertise says a lot about who you are.


A Tale of Two Doctor’s Offices

Let’s continue our theme about appearances which has been woven in the last two previous posts (they can be found here and here). Let’s take a look at two separate doctor’s offices. Based on what you see in these two pictures, which office would you rather go to?


Woodlands clinic exterior

Or here?

Montgomery clinic exterior

Given the choice, I bet most people would choose the second office. What do you think?


Image matters

In light of yesterday’s post, How do your customers identify you?, I’d like to direct you to today’s post on Seth Godin’s blog. Here’s the meat of it:

Marketing is actually what other people are saying about you.

Like it or not, true or not, what other people say is what the public tends to believe. Hence an imperative to be intentional about how we’re seen.

You need to give some thought to how you want people to see you and your company. Then you actually need to be that, or at least begin the process of becoming that. You also may need to adjust your company’s “identifiers” – its logo and associated marketing materials – to reflect that identity.

Don’t be like this company. They got a big write up in a well-known technology blog, and most of the comments ended up being about how cheap their logo looked. Go ahead and click the highlighted link and scroll down to the comments at the bottom of the page. Some people had fun with it, but it is clear that a lot of people had a hard time taking the company seriously because of their logo.

The company handled it well, even making a joke about it and eventually announcing they were pursuing a new logo, but that doesn’t change the fact that their unprofessional image overshadowed their service.

You put on nice clothing when you go to a job interview. Shouldn’t you dress your business nicely when you meet a customer? Invest in a good logo that accurately reflects your business and how you want it to be seen.

Oh, and the other stuff that Seth mentions in his blog post, it applies to you as well. Dressing up a bad business with a great logo and marketing is as useless as putting whipped cream on an onion.


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