5 Quick Wins for Social Media Success

Today's post is a guest blog from Hayley Jenkins from The Social Geeks. Hayley is a great client, friend and collaborator of mine, so I was keen to get her to share some of her social media insights with you... Be sure to follow her on Twitter, Instagram and check her awesome website.


Starting a business and working from home can be a real struggle. Being your own boss is very appealing but it can be pretty demanding too. Suddenly, you realise that the buck stops with you and that you are responsible for everything. You need to take care of the finances and keep tabs on your invoices and the admin side of things can seem to take up way too much time. You need to build your client base and relationships, and let's not forget the time you need to spend actually doing whatever 'work' your business is!

It can often feel that there simply isn't enough time to do everything. It's no surprise then that something has got to give. Very often it's social media that gets put back on the back-burner - but this is a big mistake!

In fact, you should be putting your branding and social media first. Ini Augustine, CEO of SocialWise Media Group  even suggests that publicity is what you should be 'spending your last dime on.'

The logo design for your brand can act like a magnet for clients, pulling them towards your business and services. And with a strategy that is tailored for the needs of your business, there's no better way than social media for increasing your brand awareness.

So, let's take a look at 5 quick wins that will bring social media success for your business.

1. Be visually engaging
It starts with your logo and branding. Your logo will be the first thing that people see on your social media profiles. It needs to tell a story and evoke an emotion. Consistent brand imagery needs to be seen across all your social channels. And it goes beyond your social profiles, everything you post on social media needs to have visual appeal. Posts with images and videos receive far more engagement.

2. Be consistent and persistent
Social media isn't something that you can just dip in and out of if you want to have any success. Getting noticed for consistently and regularly posting great content is vital. This is how you raise the profile of your brand online and begin to build more influence.  You need to be clear about which social platforms you should and shouldn't be on and what type of content you should be posting.

3. Build a brand newsroom
The idea of a 'brand newsroom' is one that frightens many businesses because they think it means they need to come up with stacks of new content all the time. But one of the best ways of building a successful social media presence is to curate great content from other industry experts and influencers. Sharing great content from others is almost as important as your own original content.

4. Grow your following
You should never just 'chase the numbers' and followers, shares and retweets are often described as ‘vanity metrics’. The number of followers you have on social media doesn't necessarily relate to influence or an increase in new business. Having said that, the greater your reach, the more people there will be who can potentially engage. Cultivating that 'brand newsroom' and staying active will only lead to more people seeing what you post.

5. Engage with your audience and join conversations
Cross-promoting your brand's other content (such as blogs or podcasts) or your other online assets (such as your website) on your social media channels is an important part of any social media marketing strategy. But just because you put a link to your website in a post is doesn't mean everybody will click it - you need to respond to comments, join in chats and show the personal side of your business on social media too.

Do you want to see real results with your social media? You can. The Social Geeks know that you are busy with the day-to-day running of your business. Our team of experts can create a social media strategy for you. Get in touch today for your free proposal. See what we can do for you.

This article was written by Hayley Jenkins, Owner/Social Media Manager/Expert at The Social Geeks, providing social media solutions and the perfect social strategy for businesses.
 

Being Freelance - The adventures of Super Logo Boy

The other week I was approached by a chap who wanted to talk to me about what it's like being a freelancer, and specifically about my journey from being employed to being self-employed.

The conversation we had covered psychedelics, finding mentors and Russian dancing... It's now been put live on the awesome Being Freelance podcast - I was super humbled to be asked to do this and be alongside some of my heroes who have also been on this show.

If you've got a spare 37 minutes while you're commuting, mooching around the house or running on the treadmill, you can give it a listen here.

You can also find it on all the standard podcasting apps - Just search 'Being Freelance' and you should have no difficulty finding it.

I'd love to know what you think - Shoot me an email to paddy(at)superlogoboy(dot)com and give me some honest feedback :)

Also, my brief blogging hiatus is now officially over... I'll be talking about my reasons for this on Friday's post. It's been something I've wanted to talk about for a while now, but have only just built up the confidence.

Anyway, that's for Friday... Go over and check the podcast, and have yourself a wonderful and productive week.

My 3 Words for 2017

Other than becoming veggie for a month in 2013, I don't really do New Year's resolutions. One thing I do instead though is to set goals. Goals are good - They give you something to shoot for.

A mentor of mine, Chris Brogan, chooses three words at the start of each year to help define his focus. You can read more about it here - He explains it better than I can.

Now, the one thing I struggle with the most is productivity. Given the nature of my work (generating ideas and solving marketing problems) sometimes I need to give the process some real thinking time. I often say that creativity can't be rushed, but I suspect I use this as an excuse to justify inactivity... Does this sound familiar to you?


So what are my 3 words for 2017?

SERVE
This is to remind me that if I am not serving a direct need that my customers have, then I am failing. My business fails when my service declines. So being of service and of value to my customers and network is my primary focus.

HUNT
In the past, I've been quite passive. I allowed work to come to me - So this year I'm increasing my efforts to connect with people who I truly want to work with. I'll be joining their conversations more and helping them on their journies - This way they'll be more receptive to my messages and marketing when they see it.

EXECUTE
Do the damn work... See things through... Be PRODUCTIVE. This is what I need to have in my mind every single day. By selecting the right projects and developing a laser focus I'll be able to put more of my energy into fewer projects. That seems like a wise move.

So, those are my 3 words... I'm going to write these down at the top of my to-do list every day so they become ingrained in my mind.

What did you struggle with the most in 2016? What is the weakness in your game that's holding you back?

Send me a quick email and let me know your goals for 2017... paddy(at)superlogoboy(dot)com  :-)

Personal Brand Logo Design Story - Fais

The Story
My buddy Faisal, wanted a personal brand, but one that could have several 'products' or 'service offerings' within it. Complicated already...

We decided to create a brand around his first name, Fais, with all the other 'products' using a consistent style and treatment so that they were easy to recognise and would 'belong' to the master brand.

The Idea
The majority of Fais' customers are young and interested in health and fitness, so we knew it needed to fit well within that space. We looked to the likes of Nike and Apple when we were thinking about positioning - The 'power words' we had in mind were 'creativity, innovation, confidence and style'.

Given that we knew Fais would be adding products and services over time, I created a framework so they could be created 'on-the-fly' whilst being consistent with everything else he offers. Each sub-brand has a unique icon, made form the 7x7 grid below.

The icons are tied together with a simple type system that focuses attention on the key benefit of each service. Having the word 'kickstart' has been retained before each of the sub-brands as this is a name Fais has been using for some time, and wants to continue using, albeit in a different format.

Logo Design Story - Oink Money

The Story
Oink Money is one of those websites you can go to when you're looking for a loan and you want to check loads of options in one place.

It uses some clever algorithm thingy to check over 40 different providers, gets you the best deal without you even needing to get a credit check, then gives you loads of different options.

They came to me with just a name and wanted a warm and friendly brand identity to make sure the website felt honest and trustworthy. Shouldn't be too difficult :)

The Idea
With it being money and pig related, I thought immediately of doing something around a piggy bank... It's got warm and positive connotations... Makes you think of saving money, even though it's for borrowing money - Latching onto an emotion is a really powerful way to build up trust with your audience... Us marketers are bastards sometimes, aren't we?

So, I took the idea of a piggy bank and put a bit of a spin on it. I didn't want it to be like a typical piggy bank logo, so I thought, let's focus on the pigs tail (and bum) to give people a reason to remember it. The twisty tail represents the 'O' in oink, and it makes you do a double take to see what's going on.

Get my best marketing tips delivered direct to your inbox every week here or if you have a project you'd like me to look at for you, get in touch.

Platform obsession

<Rant>

A super-short rant post today, which is a little different to what I usually write, but I keep seeing stuff on Social media, which quite frankly, boils my piss. (Sorry gran).

There are too many people talking about which platform is 'killing it' at the moment... Echoing Gary V-type rhetoric.

The way I see it, the folks shouting about whether Snapchat or Instagram are winning, or if Twitter is dead, are totally missing the point.

Social media shouldn't be so self-referential. Talking about social media on social media is like watching a tv programme about tv sets. Bloody pointless.

Social media is about humans, conversations and being SOCIAL. The platforms themselves are just doorways to allow you to connect with people.

Sometimes Instagram will be where the eyes are looking... At other times it will be Snapchat, Twitter or even LinkedIn. But that's not what's important.

If you focus on the platform you are putting your energy in the wrong place. It's about the people, the content and the conversations that are happening.

I can go on LinkedIn and build relationships by talking to people about their businesses, lives or ideas. I can go on Snapchat and find interesting conversations there. I don't care about the latest updates or who is copying who. It really doesn't matter.

People matter. And these are the doorways to talk to them.

I'd rather put my energy into finding conversations rather than talking about the tools we use to do it.

Maybe I'm getting it wrong, though.

</Rant>

Logo Design Story - Place Changers

The Story
I met Sebastian at a networking event I host in Manchester for people who are looking to set up a small business or startup. He's a super clever guy (literally a PHD level academic), and he has an awesome idea for an app that uses immensely rich data to help with the planning and redevelopment of our environments to make them better suited to actual human needs.

If it sounds complicated, that's because it is. But the idea he wanted to communicate was simple. That was my challenge.

The idea
To make the logo 'feel' human, I wanted to make it feel like it was 'blooming'. I wanted to capture the idea of change and growth. Taking a location pin as a starting point, I repeated and rotated the form until it resembled a flower.

The flower represents beauty, life and hope... I echoed this through colour, using a rainbow-esque palette to give the idea of change.

Porcelain Squirrel

This one is quite cryptic because I think I've just witnessed a glitch in the matrix.

Somehow, I managed to summon into existence a small white porcelain squirrel.

Don't ask me how.

In fact, scrap that. DO ask me how.

Email paddy (at) superlogoboy (dot) com and ask me - I'll tell you all about it.

It freaked me the f*ck out.

Public Service Announcement from Super Logo Boy

Regular listeners to this blog will notice the daily content, well, six days a week at least. The seventh day is for my newsletter, where I put all best content.

But this announcement isn't about that. It's just to say I'm changing my writing schedule to allow to some time for working on a couple of video projects. More details about them soon.

So, this is what my week will look like.

Monday: Blogging on here, as normal.
Tuesday: Secret Project.
Wednesday: Blogging on LinkedIn (NOT on this blog)
Thursday: Secret Project.
Friday: Blogging on here, as normal.
Saturday: Well earned rest.
Sunday: Writing my newsletter. The best content of the week.

So, on my newsletter, I send out an actionable idea on branding, marketing or networking that you can apply immediately.

Find out what you've been missing out on here.

But what's in it for me?

Whenever I land on a company's website, one of the first things I ask myself is 'How is this going to be useful to me?'.

But very often... You get there, and it's focussed almost entirely on blowing their own trumpet and talking about how 'great' they are.

That's all well and good... But what's in it for me?

I want to know how the product or service they're flogging can help me.

- How does it take away a struggle I'm facing?
- How does it help me reach a goal I'm striving for?

Tell me something that relates to me, and the value it can provide to my life.

And going beyond this, they should be guiding their visitor through the specific steps that they should take. I don't want to be guessing... If I want to buy, I want it to be super easy for me to do it.

I use a simple structure on my homepage that clearly guides visitors through to the relevent content for their needs.

1. I start with my mission statement... 'I help you to attract customers like a magnet' - Humans are visual creatures, so I anchored a powerful symbol of attraction (a magnet), with a desire that my typical customer would have... To find more customers. The idea is to interest the people who are a good fit for me, and make it feel like I'm talking directly to them.

2. I follow on by telling the visitor exactly what I do and show a video explaining my process  Then there's some examples of successful projects I've worked on and a couple of client testimonials.

If the user is interested, they can see more of my work or book a consultation call (that's my main CTA and what I ideally want them to do).

3. At the bottom of the page I've got a sign-up to my 'Magnetic Marketing Newsletter'. This for people who may be considering buying from me at some point in the future, but they're not quite ready yet.

I'm currently putting together a new lead magnet so I can drill down and be even more specific with the kinds of people I'm attracting to my mailing list. The free offer will (hopefully) help me to focus in on my audience and find the types of people who I can best serve.

A great place to start with this is to think of the 'end action' that you want your customer to take. (Do they buy from you, book a consultation, sign up to a webinar... etc?).

Think exactly what you want them to do, then work back from there.

I got into far more depth on topics like this on my newsletter which is sent out every Sunday... If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, why not join today?

Beginner’s Guide to Building Your Personal Brand Online

Today's post is a guest blog from Kaitlin Zhang. Kaitlin is a London-based Personal Brand consultant, and we met earlier this year at a Personal Brand workshop she was running (and I was asked to speak at).

She has a deep understanding of online reputation management and has put together this great introduction to building your online presence.

Be sure to follow her on twitter (link in the footer) and check out the articles on her blog.... She knows her stuff :)


When was the last time you searched for someone’s name in Google? What type of information were you looking for and what did you find? Increasingly, we are relying on search engines on the internet to help us learn more about each other. Our personal brand online has become an important part of our professional asset. Having a strong visible personal brand online can help you attract better opportunities, inspire trust, and expand your network.

But most of us don’t know how to manage our online reputation and where to start. Did you know that you are in control of the information displayed about you online? Most people who are searching for your name won’t look pass beyond page 3 of Google’s search results. So all you need to do is to take control of the first 3 pages.

Here are 3 beginner tips to get you started:

1. Search Your Name in Private or Incognito Mode

Depending on which web browser you use, you should search your name in the private mode (for Firefox, Safari, Internet Explore) and in the incognito mode (for Chrome). Browsing in the private mode disables your personal browsing history and the web cache, so the results you receive are what everybody else would see, rather than results targeting you specifically. For example, if you were a florist, your search history is likely to contain a lot of flower related enquiries. So when you search for the word “beauty”, you are likely to see listings or images related to flowers in the result. But for everybody else, the search for “beauty” is likely to bring up images of beautiful woman and no flowers at all. Therefore, browsing in the privacy mode is the best way to see how your name is viewed by others.

Step 1: open your browser
Step 2: Go to File > New Private Window or File > New Incognito Window
Step 3: Search the name you want to be known for in Google
Step 4: If you are an international brand, you should go to www.google.com instead of www.google.co.uk which shows more UK-focused results

2. Find Your Unique Personal Brand Positioning

personal branding visual identity color red virgin richard branson.jpg

This is a crucial step to effectively communicate who you are to the world. How do you want to be remembered? What impression do you want to leave with people who are searching for your name? What are the jobs or opportunities you are looking for? It’s helpful to have a one sentence pitch that clearly articulates who you are, what you do, and who you can provide value for. Also, remember to use the power of storytelling to engage your audience. Once you are clear on your brand pitch, write it down and put it online. A great place to start is to improve your Linkedin summary and optimize your Linkedin profile.

Read more: 7 Easy Ways To Improve Your Personal Brand On Linkedin

3. Create a Strong Visual Brand Identity

A strong visual brand identity evokes subconscious associations with your brand that are memorable and powerful. For example, we associate the color red with Virgin and Richard Branson. Red is a part of Richard Branson’s personal brand. A person’s visual identity is as important as a company’s visual identity. It includes visual elements such as personal logo, font, website design, color scheme, business card design etc.

As your personal brand evolves, your brand positioning and visual identity should evolve as well. So when you are deciding on these elements right now, there is no need to find the perfect solution that would last forever. Give yourself the freedom to create something, test it out, and over time you’ll have an establish personal brand that will resonate with others and advance your career to the next level.

Read more: 4 Tips To Improve Your Personal Brand Over a Weekend


About Kaitlin Zhang

Kaitlin Zhang is a personal branding consultant based in London, UK. Kaitlin regularly hosts free events and workshops that teaches personal branding and online reputation management in today’s increasingly digital world.

www.kaitlinzhang.com

Follow Kaitlin on Twitter: @KaitlinZhang

 

Three Hundred and Sixty Five

Super Logo Boy flew around the Sun

That's one way of looking at it. Another way is that I've been in business, for myself, for an entire year now.

I didn't starve and I didn't freeze to death... It was hard, but it was bloody worth it.

The idea of today's post is to reflect a little on what I've learned and that thank a few people who have been a massive help. 

You can own your day

I started the year with the idea of carpe diem (seize the day) in my head. This is no new revelation, but I didn't realise how this idea was going to revolve and spin in my brain, and develop a whole new meaning (to me anyway).

Now I don't think of 'seizing the day'... I think of owning my day.

Let me explain.

I started by creating a morning routine that meant that I looked forward to waking up every single day. How simple an idea is that?

I wake up and feed the kitties... Then after that, it's 'me time'.

I drink awesome coffee. I meditate (for spiritual reasons, not because I saw it on a TED Talk)... I do my affirmations and try and prepare for the work I will be doing that day.

My only goal in the morning is to want to do what I have to do. Once you reach this point, a lot of things just seem to slide into place.

If you are in control of your day, then your weeks, months and years *should* look after themselves... That's my strategy anyway.

So, that's been my big takeaway... Take ownership of your day. Shape it and make it work for you... Because you can do, if you want it enough.

It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but it's better than clocking in and out.

And that's it.

Three hundred and sixty-five days. One lap of the sun... And I'm back where I started... In front of my laptop, talking to cool people and making logos.

I wouldn't have it any other way.


Here's some awesome humans who've helped me out.

So thank you...

Rach: For taking away every distraction and looking after me
Rick: For the fire
Katey: For improving my telephone manner
James: For the darts matches
Joe: For the music
Nicola: For improving my street vocabulary
Wayne: For beer and wisdom
Vicki: For forgiveness
Carl: For beard advice (and that curry)
Paula: For pushing me
Janet: For third eye cleansing
Sophie: For soul therapy
Kevin: For explaining the universe to me

Now... As Dre said: Back to work.

Nice Package

The other day I wrote about how Jo Malone convinces people to spend £42 on a candle and £60 on perfume. Give it a read if you're interested.

But today, I'm thinking about how we show what we do. How we present it, and how this affects how we're perceived.

Even if you run a service-based business, it's still important to think of how you package your brand.

People will be aware of your brand long before they buy from you (normally)... So how you present yourself is a big factor in how you are perceived, how valuable you are and how likely they are to buy from you.

One of the most important reasons to consider your 'packaging' is because it's intrinsically linked to value. You'd pay less for a meal presented on a paper plate than you would one presented on fine china on a crisp white tablecloth, wouldn't you?

Think of supermarkets too, and how 'finest' or 'premium' products are presented in comparison to budget and value ones.

The actual quality difference between the high-end and low-end products is never as drastic as the visual presentation would imply... But the cost difference would lead you to believe otherwise.

The key is to bear in mind what is attractive, desirable and aspirational to your target customer and then think how you can present what you offer in this way.

Here are three great questions to ask yourself:

1. What is your customer's biggest problem, and how can you help take it away?
2. What is your customer's biggest goal, and how can you help them achieve it?
3. Which 3 brands would your customer most identify with?

These questions will focus your attention firmly on your customer and their desires. When branding and 'packaging' what we do, people often make the mistake of creating a brand for themselves, instead of who they're trying to serve.

Keep going back to your customer and how you can help them.

Make it a mantra of yours. Your brand will be stronger as a result.

My five best friends

I was once told that I should make friends with a number of books. Sounds a bit weird that, doesn't it?

What it means though is that I should take the time to really get to know them, as deeply as possible. You know how you can watch certain films over and over again, and get the same joy out of them each time? Well, you can do that with books too.

I've read each of these books several times... My goal is to read them every single year - which I've done for the last 2 years... Maybe over time I'll switch and swap one or two, but as it stands, these books form the backbone of my kindle collection.

So if you're interested in branding, marketing, personal development and the art of persuasion, then might want to add one or two of these to your list.

1. Influence - Robert Cialdini
Cialdini is the Godfather of persuasion. This book gives an awesome insight into the cognitive bias' of the human brain, and how they can be used (ethically) to persuade others to act in a certain way. This book takes a filter off the world and lets you see humans as the impulsive and emotional animals that we are.

2. The Purple Cow - Seth Godin
Standing out is everything these days, and in this book, Seth Godin dispels many myths about marketing and shows you how by going super-niche you can create the business of your dreams.

3. The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth - Chris Brogan
This is my favourite book on this list. I recommend it to people all the time. Only a few go ahead and read it, and the ones who do ALWAYS come back and thank me. If you want to pave your own way in the world and turn your back on 'the workplace', then there's no better place to start.

4. 48 Laws of Power - Robert Green
Although the last book is my favourite, I think this is the most important book I've ever read. If I'd known 3 of the laws in this book 5 years earlier I reckon I'd be five years ahead of where I am now. This is a comprehensive piece of work and is one I always have to hand in my living room. It's awesome to just dip in and out sporadically and pick up a new idea to ponder. Buy this book.

5. Ogilvy on Advertising - David Ogilvy
Although I would probably argue that advertising 'back in the day' was mostly an exercise in 'turning up'... Ogilvy stands out as being light-years ahead of the curve. If you want to understand how you can use simple words to get your message to resonate with your audience, then go straight to the master... I learn something new every time I read this.

The best reason for re-reading books is that sometimes you're simply not ready for the ideas. I find this with songs too. I'll dismiss an album for years only to re-discover it with a differnt mindset and different challenges, and it suddenly becomes an all time favourite.

And sometimes you need to get taught a lesson a few times before it lands... Think back to school and the amount of repetition.

I'd love to know if you have any books that you read over and over again. Stick them in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Luxury Brand Experience

This weekend I've been trying to work out how you make someone pay £42 for a candle. I mean, it may not be a huge amount of money to everyone, but it's significant... And wealthy people aren't daft. They don't go about just throwing their money away. There's much more to it than that.

The reason I was thinking about this is because my missus went to an 'invitation only' VIP event at Jo Malone in Manchester... She was fed mince pies and champagne and allowed to sample loads of their indulgent products.

Imagine my delight when she told me she came home without buying anything (that's what she told me, anyway)... But with all the powerful and emotive buying triggers at play, I was impressed that she managed to keep her nerve, take the freebies and dash for the door... Exactly what I'd have done.

Today's post is about how they manage to elevate 'decent' products to become luxurious and aspirational. It's very clever, but once you see how it's done, you can apply some of the ideas to YOUR brand.

The thing that 'luxury' brands know, that lesser brands don't, is that you need to indulge the senses... All of them, ideally.

This is how Jo Malone indulges the senses to elevate the status of their brand, and by association, their customers too.

Touch
The boxes are made from thick card with contrasting textures. Ribbon is wrapped around the packaging and contrasting soft tissue paper helps the product sit nicely in place... Serious consideration has been given to the 'unwrapping' experience.

Taste
In the store, they often give away nibbles and champagne... This obviously puts you in a relaxed frame of mind and more likely to reach for your credit card. Champagne is indulgent and is associated with status... By hitting the taste receptors with fizz, Jo Malone is putting her buyers in a celebratory and indulgant mood.

Sight
The visual branding is calm, confident and 'classic'. The typography is set in  Copperplate Gothic (I think) and is widely spaced. The use of colour is subtle and sophisticated. Just what you'd expect from a brand who is targetting a discerning shopper.

Smell
The Jo Malone range is a treat to the nostrils. The candles DO smell amazing, although not £60 amazing, in my opinion. But that's irrelevant. Many people are happy to pay the price, so they are valuable to the right audience. I love the finishing touches that they do with the packaging... When you buy anything in store, they hand wrap it and spray it with a little perfume. It's all about the details.

Sound
I've only experienced the Jo Malone brand in Selfridges, and in department stores, they tend to have the same music playing throughout. So Jo Malone struggle with this one. But it's the only sense they don't actively stimulate... And I bet in their own stores they've got this covered.

So, in summary... How do you make someone spend £42 on a candle?

Well, it's all about stimulating the senses.

You need to make the buying experience match the price point you're selling your products at. People need to feel that buying your candle elevates their status and helps them to create a sanctuary, and their own indulgent world. 

Use smell, taste and touch when you can to evoke memories and states of mind that are more likely to convince people to part with their money.

That's what Jo Malone does. And they do it really damn well.

Getting High

I love getting high. I find it helps me to get into a creative state a lot quicker... And generally, it just makes my head work better.

So, this morning I dug out my finest tracksuit trousers, strapped up my hiking boots, and set off walking up a massive hill.

Walking is one of my favourite forms of exercise. I reckon I was meant for endurance, rather than sprints... So it suits my body better than basketball or fighting.

Anyway, I'm going off topic as usual. I think walking up big hills on your own is good for the soul. We don't get enough alone time, and thinking time, these days. It's a bloody shame.

I'm a firm believer that to have good ideas and to be inspired, you must be in the right environment.

If you're trying to solve a problem or be 'creative' in a place where you feel bored, tired or even oppressed, then you're setting yourself up for a proper struggle.

The key is to want to be where you have to be. And to want to do what you have to do. Those are my primary goals, in all areas of my life.

Walking up hills and having time to think is really bloody important to me. It's one of the reasons I wear hiking boots 99% of the time... I'm always ready to go.

The best artists, poets, writers and thinkers had time where they locked themselves away and had space for 'deep thinking'.

Time alone is what keeps me 'sane'... Some folks who know me may disagree with that statement, and they're entitled to.

But I like getting high and thinking. So I'm gonna keep on doing it.

If it ain't broke. Don't fix it.

Peace out.

BLACK FRIDAY DEAL

Hyper-discounting unnecessary commodities and inducing frenzied spending doesn't seem like a nice way to celebrate Thanksgiving to me. And over 'ere in the UK, it holds no significance whatsoever - Other than to eat into folk's beer money, and that's unforgivable in my book.

So... I've helped a good few clients out this week with artwork for their Black Friday Offers... And a few people asked me what I was doing for it.

My answer was this, "Nothing. Absolutely nothing."

Clients either pay full price, or I do the work for free. (You need to be super-persuasive though, I'm a tight ass with a short attention span.)

But, I thought I'd use Black Friday to show that I'm sometimes open to working for 'free'... If there's some kind of counter deal on the table.

Offer me an interesting pro-bono arrangement (emphasis on interesting), and we can talk about me helping you to create a cool new brand without you having to part with a penny.

I'm only going to be writing about this once, so it has significance.

If you're interested fill in this form.

Newton's Law of Promotion

That Isaac Newton bloke was a clever sod. He managed to work out loads of stuff about science that's still used today, and taught in schools and that.

But I wonder if he knew that he'd worked out a pretty awesome social media strategy too?

How do you get more people to notice your business?

It's a common question, and there are loads of different ways to do it. For most startups and small businesses, it involves outreach, networking and hustling on all the different social media channels.

But what if there was a rule that you could remember that could keep you focussed on doing this correctly, rather than dipping in aimlessly and getting random results (at best)?

Well, I think Mr Newton nailed it when he said 'For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction'.

It may not be immediately obvious how this can apply to social media and networking, but humour me for a minute.

I think that the best way to get people to notice your business and what you do is to notice theirs.

If someone genuinely takes an interest in you, it's good manners to return the favour, isn't it?

In psychology, this is known as the reciprocity bias... Robert Cialdini talks of this in the awesome book, Influence. Once you start to understand this idea, you can start to utilise its power in your own marketing.

Think of it like this... Take an interest in other people and their business, and they'll take an interest in you and yours.

Give first, then over time, it will be repaid... It's like a kind of scientific Karma.

But you must do this genuinely. When you're networking, online or off, focus your energy solely on who you are speaking to. Take time to ask them good questions. Listen to what they have to say and ask follow up questions allowing them to expand on your ideas.

Doing this will make you stand out as someone who is worth talking to and worth knowing. People remember this stuff.

Talk to others, and they'll talk back.

Refer work to others, and they'll refer work to you.

Listen to others, and they'll listen to you.

I told you Isaac was a clever lad, didn't I?

Logo Design Story - Avocado

The Story
We're all so busy these days that we end up making too many bad eating decisions. I'm proper guilty of this. Like today, for example... I've had a bacon butty, a toastie and two cans of fizzy pop. Convenience... No other reason. The shit stuff is easier to find. And that's the problem all over the world.

But worry not, that's where Avocado step in. Their goal is to bring healthy, affordable and convenient food to the 'fast-food' end of the market. And I was well chuffed for two reasons... 1. I get to ditch the crap and shrink my waistline, and 2. they asked me to do the branding for them... Winner winner chicken thinner!

The Idea
I'm pretty sure the name Avocado is Mexican... Wikipedia said it was, anyway. So I wanted to get some latin flair into the design, somewhere.

I knew I didn't want to go down the obvious route of drawing an avacado in the shape of a letter 'A'. It needed to be more subtle than that.

So, after tonnes of research, I stumbled upon the idea of creating a logotype in the style of the lettering on vintage fruit crates.

Avocado-02.jpg

It suggested importing exotic ingredients which are both healthy and tasty... It suggested something new and exciting being brought to market... I like that, and so did the client.

The brand will feature bright colours, earthy textures and maybe a pattern or two along the way as well.

Keep your eyes 'peeled' for a fully case study coming soon, this one's gonna be tasty. 

The Power of Association

Today I've been working on a strategy to position a new brand I'm helping to launch.

I was discussing with the team how important this part of the process is.

I asked them to tell me the brands that their target audience would associate with, or would 'represent' them, in some way.

You may associate yourself as a BMW driver, a Marks & Spencer shopper or a Rolex wearer... And you probably measure (at least part of) your own 'value' by the brands you choose to align yourself with.

When we buy a product or service, it's rarely just to solve a practical problem. There'll nearly always be some kind of ego-validation going on, somewhere.

For example, think of the shoes you're wearing now (or the last pair you wore).

They're probably 100% practical for the task you were doing. There would be embellisments and 'style' added in to make you 'want' to buy them over all the other pairs in the shop.

I bet that you favour a certain brand of trainers don't you? Possibly because a famous sports star wore them? (This is association).

Maybe you like a certain fashion brand because Kim Kardiashian was papped wearing them. (Again, association).

Maybe you like to wear footwear branded with your favourite football team's logo. (Yup, association).

You see where I'm going with this?

We associate so much value to how we are perceived by others that we will buy certain brand because we feel that by associating with them, their value and perception rubs off on us.

So, if you're building a brand, why not use this idea? Try to think of 10 brands that your target customer would aspire to own or be associated with.

Look at the style of photography they use to show their products.

Consider the colour palettes used. Are they warm, cool, bright or pastel? 

And with regard to logo design, it could be the style of typeface used or how complex the illustration or decorative elements are.

This information will give you key insights into the minds of the people you're trying to reach.

 

Really try to imagine your customers as people. Picture their world and how they navigate it.

List the things they like, dislike and try to spot patterns and themes that could be used in your projects.

The technique you're using here is the 'power of association'. 

You're appropriating aspects or elements of brands that your customers are 'warmed-up' to your message.

This shortens the time it takes them to know, like and trust you.

Then it's only a matter of time until they're ready to buy from you.