Author: MrContent

The 8 Dos and Don’ts of Branding

Your brand is often the key to growing and keeping your customer base. 

A recognizable, identifiable brand with a cohesive look and feel helps you get the attention of a potential customer and keeps the would-be one-time customer coming back for more. You want your brand to be instantly memorable, especially when it comes to print-based marketing. This is why it is essential to make sure your brand is in tip-top shape!

How do you know if your brand is on point or missing the mark? You follow these dos and don’ts of branding.

The Dos of Branding

1. Take the Time to Update Your Brand Logo

Even iconic brands like Coca-Cola revamp their logo on occasion.

The longer you have been in business, the more likely you need to update your brand logo. You want your brand to appear fresh and relevant. You don’t have to redesign your brand logo completely; just give it a revamp. 

2. Pay Particular Attention to Detail

Designing for print leaves little to no room for error.

You want to get it right the first time and avoid costly fixes down the road. Therefore, it is usually best to start with a digital design before printing the final product.  

3. Take Advantage of Print Textures

Because print-based marketing gives the consumer something they can hold, don’t forget about using print texture to enhance your brand.

Techniques like folding, embossing, or even well-placed foiling can create a unique print experience. 

4. Respect White Space

With print, sometimes less if more.

Try to leave space between the icon and the text. Try your design in black and white before adding color. You’ll see just how impactful it is or realize you need to go back to the drawing board for tweaks and adjustments.  

The Don’ts of Branding

1. Forget to Edit

Editing is often the best friend of printing and branding.

Come up with several options before settling on something final. Brands will inevitably evolve, but spending the initial investment of time on the front end will allow you to come up with a solid brand.

2. Add Too Many Fine Details for Printing

There is a time and place for intricacy when it comes to branding.

Intricate designs with multiple colors and gradients may be amazing for digital marketing platforms but will most likely get lost in translation in print. So instead, think simple but unique for print purposes by scaling back fine details.

3. Use a Wide Variety of Colors

One of the goals of print marketing is to get the customer’s attention.

While you can do this with color, too many colors may have the opposite effect. Think about the size of your print materials and use that to guide your choices of colors. 

4. Use the Wrong Font

Think about your brand. Is it bold? Demure? Classic?

Choose a font that represents the overall feel of your brand. For example, a construction company would likely never utilize a swirly font with loopy letters. Put your font choice to the test before making a final decision. Look at it in various sizes. If it doesn’t translate well to several settings, choose another font.

Creating a brand for your business doesn’t have to be an impossible task. When you keep these dos and don’ts of branding in mind, your business can be well on its way to iconic status in no time. 

Partner With a Marketing Expert

When it comes to building a successful printing brand, partnering with an experienced team of marketing experts is crucial. With years of valuable experience, we’re here to help your business shine. Contact us today to get started!

How to Build Trust and Rapport in New Business Relationships

When Brendan Kane scheduled a Fox Business interview, he never planned to bag a presidential candidate.

Kane, a social media influencer strategist, thought his Kennedy show interview was simply another media spot. Until he landed in the green room with Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney. Kane later admitted he didn’t even know who Delaney was – he just wanted to have a good conversation. But as they visited about their lives and interests, Delaney was quickly drawn to Kane’s magnetic, genuine personality.

One warm conversation bloomed into a partnership. Before the day was over, Delaney asked Kane to help him with his political social media campaign.

Sell Yourself, Then Sell Your Products

Do you want to create a rapport that quickly builds trust with others?

This starts with meeting people organically and connecting with them authentically. Brendan Kane never tried to sell John Delaney anything; he just took an interest in his life and story. It was Delaney who eventually pitched himself to Kane!

Great business relationships start with rich personal interactions, including conversations that flow from an authentic, nonthreatening place. Are you looking to sell yourself so you can then sell your brand or product? Here are three tips to get you started:

1. Offer non-judgmental validation

People feel heard and valued when you seek their opinions and input without judging them.

Seek the other person’s opinions and thoughts without jumping to conclusions. While you don’t have to agree with what they say, adopting an attitude of acceptance means respecting a person’s feelings or values as valid, even if they are different from your own.

If this is difficult for you, taking time to imagine yourself in the other person’s place can help you be more open and empathetic.

2. Listen with your full presence

Do you ever talk to someone who seems distracted? Even as this person listens, you can see a thousand thoughts racing through his head, as if he can’t wait to cut in and speak his mind.

One of the best gifts you can give someone is your full presence and attention – to truly listen. Beneath all the swagger or struggles, everyone has a story to tell. People are longing to be seen and heard, and when you ask questions and actually hear the answers, you’ll be amazed how quickly connections are built.

3. Establish a time constraint early in the conversation

Have you ever been sitting in an airport or your office chair when someone unexpectedly approaches you to start a conversation?

This scenario can be unsettling for many people because no one wants to feel trapped in an awkward, unplanned discussion (especially with someone they don’t fully trust). To quickly set an associate at ease, preview the end of a conversation before it starts.

Say something like, “I’d like to visit with you about ____, can I grab 10 minutes of your time?” or, “I’m on my way out, but before I left, I wanted to ask you _______.”

Enlarge Your Influence

Building rapport is critical for nurturing strong relationships and amplifying your influence on others.

When you build relational bridges, you will engage people on a human level, foster transparency, and fuel a culture of innovation, loyalty, and collaboration.

How to Keep Brand Value

Your brand is everything.

It’s what makes potential buyers and customers recognize you and helps set you apart from competitors.

It’s important to maintain the value of your brand in order to make the most of your business marketing. Keeping brand focus and consistency is key. If customers know what your brand stands for, they’ll end up appreciating it more, and you’ll gain more organic traffic.

A strong brand value helps tell your company’s story, creating awareness, loyalty, and excitement for the consumer.

Sales and marketing trends will continually change over time. However, building the power of your company’s brand is an investment that pays for years to come.

3 Ways to Keep Your Brand Value

1. Business Visuals

Your logo is at the forefront of your company.

Anyone who knows your business knows what your logo looks like, including the color palette, typography, imagery, and graphic elements. These brand visuals are most important to maintain throughout your business advertising.

When marketing for your business, continue to use these same characteristics of your logo throughout. Over time, after creating enough brand awareness, you should simplify your logo, and people will still know exactly who you are. For example, the Chevrolet logo doesn’t need the word “Chevrolet” next to it for people to know who they are. They’ve been around long enough and created a strong brand value to be able to pull that off.

2. Business Values and/or Mission

Brand values and/or the mission of your business are just as important to show and maintain as the logo characteristics.

Use your values to strengthen your advertising, show what you stand for, and create awareness. When people see an advertisement, they should be able to tell what company it’s for before even showing a logo or a name.

3. Business Style

Your company’s style fits in with your brand value and is important to maintain across all marketing consistently.

Does your building’s interior design use a modern appeal or more of a rustic look? Does your website use a white and clean look or a dark and textured theme? Use this style as a part of your print marketing and other advertising. 

The Ultimate Marketing Combination

All of these things; your logo, values, and style all play an important role in maintaining brand value.

Used often and strategically, these brand elements will help strengthen your brand so that your business is better known, and you’ll gain more traffic online and in person.

Make Ideas Fly Before They Die

When facing a life or death decision, do you think the opinions of others would affect your behavior?

Social proof is a powerful phenomenon. People constantly look to the opinions of others to help them live wisely and navigate uncertainty. The behavior and preferences of your peers can shape every choice you make – from the vehicles you drive to the candidates you vote for. But surely some of that superficiality would fade in more critical situations, right?

Not necessarily.

More than 40,000 people in the United States experience end-stage kidney failure every year, with bodies that cannot filter toxins and adequately remove waste products from their blood. These people are dependent on dialysis treatments as they wait desperately for a kidney transplant. Often more than  100,000 patients are eagerly waiting for a new organ.

Surprisingly, research shows that 97.1 percent of kidney offers are refused, and nearly 1 in 10 transplant candidates refuse a kidney in error. How could this happen? The research of MIT professor Juanjuan Zhang points to social proof. Say you are the one-hundredth person on a transplant list. If the first 99 people turned down a viable kidney, often people lower on the list conclude the organ must not be very good (“if someone else doesn’t want it, then neither do I”). They infer it is low in quality and wait for a “better offer.”

Zhang found this psychological trigger – a follow the crowd mentality – prompts thousands of patients to turn down kidneys they should have accepted.

If Something is Built to Show, It’s Built to Grow

Do you want to sell more products, grow attendance in your community group, or get momentum for your idea?

The more public a product or service, the more it triggers people to act. Visibility boosts word-of-mouth advertising, and this informal person-to-person marketing has a significant impact on others. People rely on peers to help them decide what movies to see, which vet to use for their pet, or the best software to buy. For example, recent studies show that more than half of adults under age 50 consult online reviews before making a purchase decision, and 88% of people read reviews to determine the quality of a local business.

Reviews and testimonials are powerful, but you can also build influential triggers into small things like your product packaging, stickers, and more. Social influence is stronger when behavior is more observable.

Here are just a few ways outward symbols have made personal choices more public:

–Polling places that distribute an “I voted” sticker to those who cast a ballot

–Devices that attach a mini advertisement to every email (like the classic “sent using BlackBerry” tagline)

–TV shows that used canned laugh tracks to prompt more emotional buy-in from viewers

–Bumper stickers or yard signs sharing political ideas or coffee preferences

–VIP purchases that convince participants to wear conspicuous wristbands instead of using a paper ticket

–Fitness trackers that automatically post progress to a person’s social media page

–Grocery stores that distribute beautiful branded reusable bags

Monkey See, Monkey Do

It has been said that when people are free to do what they please, they typically imitate others.

How can you build more social currency into your marketing? Whether you choose recognizable product colors to selfie photo booths at your events, make it easy for people to share your brand through social media or when they’re just “doing life” in the public square.

When something is built to show, it’s built to grow.

Do Your Print Marketing Materials Need an Upgrade?

There is a great deal of time, effort, and energy placed into updating your print marketing materials.

You need to cover all the relevant information in a very limited space. This means you need to fully optimize your messaging and make sure your materials attract attention.

With all this thought going into ensuring packaging and flyers and postcards are fantastic, you may be unwilling to make regular updates. Unfortunately, this can allow your message to become stale or even allow inaccurate information to be shared with customers over time. 

Time to Make a Change! 

Donna, a local florist, realized it had been more than 6-8 months since she reviewed and revised the messaging on her printed materials.

She knew it was probably time to make some tweaks. Businesses can change dramatically over time, with shifts in hours of operation, updated special offers, and more making an appearance. 

Regular reviews to ensure your messaging is still on point helps keep your marketing materials fresh and interesting for repeat customers. Plus, it ensures that any new prospects have your best offer in front of them at all times.

Donna worked with her local print shop to update her messaging, and her customers certainly noticed! She received many positive comments and new clients from an updated postcard and flyer combination that she designed and had printed locally.

Update Graphics and Colors

Has your logo evolved a bit over time?

It’s not unusual to spread out all of your marketing materials on a table and find that you have several iterations of logos or color schemes represented. Viewing your marketing materials together as a whole can add necessary cohesion to your brand. 

While you may not want to follow on-trend color schemes or make changes based on the seasons, you may want to do a quick update to your color palette. Ensuring that your brand look stays fresh and current is an important part of brand management. 

Put Your Best Offer Forward

Are you placing your very best offer in front of clients and prospects? Do you need different offers for individuals at various stages of the buying journey?

Now is a great time to look at your audience segments and see if you can fine-tune any graphics for eye appeal while meeting their unique needs.

Whether you’re looking for options to create branding materials for a new company or simply refreshing your current options, your local print shop is here for you! We work with organizations of all sizes to ensure you have access to exceptional resources to promote your brand. 

8 DOs and DON’Ts for Handling Difficult Employees

Have you ever managed a problematic employee?

You’re not the only one. Though we all have tricky team members, Reader’s Digest collected 15 of the most outrageous stories. Here are two examples:

The New York City Department of Health has a robust help-line for its IT department. This should be very beneficial to clients. However, one of the (twice-suspended!) help-line operators continually complicated things by answering calls while pretending to be a talking robot.

An Egyptian bus driver had an ingenious plan to beat a mandatory drug test: He used his wife’s urine. Sounds foolproof, right? Unfortunately, he failed the test, even though she was clean. He found out when his boss handed him the results and said, “Congratulations; you’re pregnant.”

How to Deal with Problematic Behavior

While it’s tempting to overlook lousy behavior, the costs of this passive approach go beyond the direct effects of one person’s actions; they spill over onto other employees. Bad behaviors affect an entire team, decreasing morale and tempting others to cheat or underperform.

Problem employees can be subtle but toxic. Here are some of the most frustrating behaviors managers experience in difficult team members:

  • Evokes Customer Complaints
  • Appears Unmotivated or Disengaged
  • Exhibits a Bad Attitude or Passive Aggressive Behavior
  • Catastrophizes Minor Problems
  • Resents Authority Figures
  • Wastes Time on the Clock
  • Violates Company Policy
  • Communicates or Behaves Dishonestly

Recognize any from this list? Maybe they’re keeping you awake at night.

If it’s time to act, here are several DO’s and DON’Ts for engaging challenging team members:

DON’T

Bad-mouth a team member. Don’t make personal character attacks or complain in a gossipy way. Instead, clearly and professionally identify the problem behavior, preserving this person’s privacy and dignity whenever possible.

Scold in public. Instead, use private conversations or involve only one other person.

Issue warnings without documentation. Regularly logging employee behavior allows you to track behavior over time and point out clear examples of a recurring problem. It also shows the employee you are serious (and not just “nagging”).

Be vague. When you want behavior change, don’t be afraid to spell out exactly what you are looking for. The most motivating conversations are built around the STAR technique: Identify the SITUATION or TASK that is problematic, the ACTION needed in response, and the RESULT or outcome you expect.

DO

Set a clear message of need and expectation. From the hiring process to regular review, clearly articulate what you expect – from dress codes to project quotas.

Avoid debatable problematic behavior. Some behaviors are unacceptable, while others are just annoying. Clearly distinguish between the two categories and only confront things that violate policy or cause consistent, noticeable dilemmas.

Follow up. Praise good work when you see change or speak promptly when you don’t see progress. Regular follow-up helps you deal proactively with challenging people and sends a clear message to other employees as well.

Involve human resources or top management. Consult your team to clarify rules and guidelines and ensure backup for your decisions.  

Confront the Mess, Reduce Stress

Dealing with a problematic person can be taxing.

But avoiding the problem can be worse. If you take a proactive, well-documented approach, you can have confidence that you’ve done your best in a trying situation.

And that may be the best stress reducer of all.