More Logo NO NO’s

 

Another Logo No NoFrom the years of doing logo design and PR work for many small businesses, I have become a sort of logo snob. Actually I’m a Logo Bully. I see so many logos that are created by non-professionals or by claimed “professional printers” that are so amateur looking that my 7-year daughters could have designed them just as well. Any printer worth a dang (I’m being nice) should be able to not just print but also design. In the printing world, whether you are printing signs, full color printing, promotional products, or custom apparel, it all starts with design. I so often see printed brochures or business cards and the logo printed on them is pixelated, which means blurred. This is because the file they printed from was low resolution and not print quality to start with. Therefore, you have the garbage in garbage out phenomenon. If you start with a poor file you will ALWAYS have a poor outcome. The most important part of any print job is the digital file and design.

A quality printer should be able to help with logo design in a professional way. If I see someone wanting to print a logo that is sub-par and looks amateurish and unprofessional, I will always make suggestions for improvements. Sometimes business owners will take my suggestions and sometimes they won’t. Driving down the road, yesterday, I saw the truck (pictured above) in front of me with their “logo” printed on the truck. Now I know of this company and they have been in business for over 25 years and do great work; however, their logo definitely needs improvement. I wonder how many people have opted to go with a competitor company just because the competitor had a better front (logo). Here are some of the suggestions for improvement of this logo:

  • Improve the spacing for the logo. There is way to much space between the dolphin and the text. I would imagine the reason to be that the “designer” used a non-graphics program such as Microsoft Word to design this layout. Microsoft Word is a word processing program, not a layout tool; therefore, you have very little control of the spacing. Any quality printer should have made suggestions to better improve this layout prior to printing . . . unless this was the printer who laid it out. . . Yikes!
  • There is no design correlation. Nothing is really tied together. The various pieces of text and imagery do not have a smooth flow. It’s like every pieces is just a separate random piece. Logos should be designed to be one unit, not a series of unites. It’s okay to sometimes use images unrelated to your business (such as the dolphin for a plumbing company); however, the image to fit within the design layout. Do we call this company only if dolphins are jumping out of our toilet?
  • The phone number doesn’t jump out at you when looking at it. It is a much lighter color and smaller than the rest of the “logo pieces.” Therefore, it gets lost. If your vehicle graphics are going to have a phone number, it should be a call to action and really stand out. The purpose is not only for recognition, but also as a call to action. You want phone calls so make sure the phone number is visible.

Do you have a logo that needs a face lift? If you have some good qualities about your current design but just need a better flow and layout for your logo, we can do a logo face lift for you.. However, if you just want to scrap your old design and get a more modern and professional design, we can do it. They don’t call me Logo Bully for nothing. Not only am I hard on other designers’ logos, but I am also hard on my own designers. We only produce top quality logos that will compliment your business well and portray that positive image for your company.

If you see a poor logo design or want your logo critiqued for suggestions on improvement, be sure and send them to us.

 

What Is Your Image Worth To You?

 

Corporate Image
In today’s world, your business has all kinds of faces. There is your social media image, your local image, your customer image, your web image, and your overall corporate image. All of the “faces” are extremely important to the vitality of your business. Ideally, you should have a uniform image across the board. If a customer uses your service and you haven’t lived up to your promises, that leaves a poor image of your company. If a potential client follows your company through a various social media channel, and the employee in charge of your company is posting off-color remarks or links to potentially image harming sites, that’s obviously not a good thing. Your business should have a plan to spread the positive image of your company across all PR mediums. Your overall corporate image is what customers and non-customers first think of when they hear your company name or see your company logo. This image should be guarded at all costs.

One of the most important aspects of your corporate image is your logo. You should not be afraid to spend some money having a professional do your logo design. This is one area that is not a DIY project. I see businesses everyday in which it is evident that they “designed” their own logo. I also have to break the news to countless business owners that their specialty is construction, hair styling, accounting or “name your industry” and NOT in graphic design. You should have an expert graphic designer create your logo for you. Logos should reflect your overall business image that you want to portray. Logos are not just clipart with your business name typed underneath. Professional logo design is not something that can be done in an hour, unless your graphic design is very familiar with your business. It takes thorough research of your industry and your competitors. Just know that this will be one of the most important investments in your business.

Another aspect of your overall image would be your customer reviews. There are dozens of sites such as Yelp, Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, etc where customers can leave reviews of your business and services. I see so many businesses that are scared to death over getting a bad review and since they are so afraid they intentionally avoid creating Local pages online. If you are focusing on great customer service from the start, this won’t be an issue. Sure, you will get an occasional less than average review, but just know up front that you can’t make everyone happy initially.  You canhowever, try to make it up to them afterwards if you or your staff do mess up. Things happen. Humans are not perfect. Mistakes will occur and make for a poor user experience from time to time. But, the important thing is how you handle the situation afterwards. Respond to any negative review. Offer that person a gift certificate to come back and try out your business again. Then bend over backwards to make them happy. Once they are happy, ask them to write a response to their initial review. Besides, an occasional poor review makes the testimonials more authentic. Have you ever been on a site where every single review is 5 stars? Seems a little shady, right? Most likely it is. Remember the statement a few sentences back? “You can’t make everyone happy, initially.”  Reviews sell. Reviews build confidence. Review build trust. Don’t be afraid of them; embrace them.

One very pivotal part of your company image is your printed media. This includes business cards, brochures, promotional products, banners, signs, postcards, and custom apparel. All of your printed items should have similar branding. Your logo should remain constant on everything. If your business has a certain color combination, you should stick to those specific colors as much as possible. The idea is for people to see your logo and recognize your company even if the name is not incorporated within the logo. Better yet, does your certain color combination for your business cause clients to think of your business. For instance, what major fast food restaurant chain is famous for the Red and Yellow color combination. Of course, McDonald’s. That’s the idea for your business.

Even if you are a small business, you must brand your company and foster a positive image. Logos are important. Branded items and apparel are important for professionalism and marketing. Everything down to your business card should be done professionally and adhere to a strict branding policy consistent with your desired image for your business. If you need help, don’t feel bad. If PR and marketing is not your business, stick to what you do best and let us experts in PR and marketing take care of your image.

March Madness Promotion Ideas

 
Mini Basketballs

Basketball Promotional Items

March Madness is quickly approaching and this a great time to promote your business. Your business does not have to be a sports related business or a bar to take advantage of March Madness. Any business industry can get creative and use the excitement from March Madness to promote their business. Below are a few ideas to use for this popular time to get your clients, fans, and potential customers involved and promote yourself:

  1. Facebook contests – Of course, you knew this would top the list. You can’t just have a business Facebook page and not engage your fans. Once the teams are chosen, have a bracket contest in which your Facebook fans predict winners. Award the fans with the most correct predictions with gift certificates. Don’t be stingy; make sure your gift certificates are worth the time it takes for your Facebook fans to participate.
  2. Email Signups – Have customers submit their email address and contact info along with a prediction of the Final Four or the Tournament champion. Award the winners with a worthwhile gift. Be sure to plan for several winners. If you are a retail store, have a booth setup by the registers so your cashiers can promote the contest. Once you get the email addresses, make sure you add them to your email newsletter list.
  3. Basketball Promo Giveaways – Give away branded basketball promotional items with each purchase of $25 or more. Of course, you set the price depending on your product price points, but you can give away items such as custom printed mini basketballs with your business logo or any number of other basketball promotional products.
  4. March Madness Sales – Heavily market “March Madness Sales” during the NCAA tournament. Promote your sales through Facebook, Twitter, email newsletters, flyers handed out to customers a week or two prior to the upcoming sale, and signs in your store.
  5. Local Team Celebration Sales – If you have a local or even a team within your state that is in the NCAA Tournament, offer a certain discount after each of their wins. For example, if you are in the state of Mississippi and Mississippi State University is in the tournament, offer a $10 off your purchase of $25 or more on the day after Mississippi State wins a game or some other similar offer. Show your support for your local or state teams.
  6. Inside Sales Tournament – Create a bracket with your employees names and have a head to head sales contest. The ones with the most sales for that day advances within the brackets and competes against the next competitor. Make sure you have prizes for those who make it to the Sweet 16 and even bigger prices for those employees making it to the Super 8, then even better prizes for the Final 4 and the Champion. Give your employees incentive to sell more and have them use the excitement of March Madness to sell more for your company.
  7. Basketball Hoops Contest – Get a mini basketball hoop and a mini basketball and give your customers 1 shot and enter those who make their shot into a drawing for “something!” Make that something good!
  8. Throw A Party – Have an open house party to kick off March Madness. Invite all of your current clients, prospects, and the surrounding public to the party. Offer FREE food and FREE drinks. Make sure you have plenty of promotional giveaways so they leave with something of value with your business name and info. Everyone loves free stuff, especially food, drinks, and useful promotional items.

Most of these ideas are very low cost; however, they all have the potential to generate a lot of leads for you which will turn into sales. March Madness produces an excitement with fans that lasts longer than any other sporting event, so harnessing that energy can be great for business if you put a little time and creativity into the campaign. The time to start is now because March Madness is right on our heels. Get creative and happy selling!

Grandma’s Irish Stew for St. Patrick’s Day!

 

When we think about St. Patrick’s Day we usually think about Corned Beef and Cabbage and Green Beers! But, if you’re not necessarily a fan of cabbage (it is awfully smelly!) a traditional (my grandmother’s traditional) Irish Beef Stew can be a great way to enjoy the holiday with your friends and family. It’s delicious, hearty, and goes well with a Guinness and some Irish Soda Bread and creamy Irish Butter.  So put on your apron, break out the cutlery and cast iron pots, it’s time to get to cooking! (just a note, this recipe makes about 4 good size servings, so you can double or triple depending on the size of your family or the number of guests! You’ll just need bigger pots and pans.)

Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for your Irish Stew:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat (or you can use lamb) cut into chunky pieces
  • 2-3 tablespoons of garlic powder (or to taste) or the equivalent in fresh garlic
  • 6 cups beef stock (unsalted is fine)
  • 2 pints of Guinness beer (1 for the stew and 1 for the chef, seriously, this is hard work!)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme (and I think a little marjoram as well, a couple of teaspoons)
  • 2-3 bay leaves (I don’t know what these are for, but Grandma always put them in her stews and soups)
  • 2-3 tablespoons Irish butter
  • 4 pounds of small golden or red potatoes  (she preferred them unpeeled, but it’s up to you, personally, I prefer the peel on)
  • 1 large White or Yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons parsley
  • 2-3 shots of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Toss a little salt and pepper with the meat pieces and make sure you brown the pieces on all sides, this should take about 5-7 minutes.  Add beef stock, Guinness (just 1 pint), sugar, thyme, marjoram, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir thoroughly. By now you’re probably thirsty, so it’s time to take a sip or two of your Guinness. Bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring as needed. Take  another sip of Guinness (repeat as necessary.)

In another large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add your potatoes, onions and carrots and saute them until tender and a little brown on the edges, this should take about 20-30 minutes,  add them to the beef stew when it’s ready (after about an hour, remember?) Now, simmer uncovered about 35-45 minutes or until everything is nice and tender. Finish up your pint, toss out the bay leaves, add a little more salt and pepper to taste (I always go a little heavy on the pepper, but your choice!),  sprinkle with parsley and serve with a pint of Guinness and some crusty bread and creamy Irish butter!

I never did figure out what the shots of Jameson’s were for, but they were always gone when Grandma was done cooking.   Must be a chef’s secret.  So with or without the Jameson’s,  give granny’s recipe a try and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Gosh and Begorrah! St. Patty’s Day is Less than 4 Weeks Away!

 

I just thought I’d drop a note about this. St. Patrick’s Day is just a little less than 4 weeks away and it’s a great time for tie in sales and promotions. Green Beer Mugs, St. Patrick’s day Hats and Flashing Shamrocks are some great ideas for party favors and promos, give us a call and let’s see what we can put together to make your St. Patrick’s day a smash!