DZinDNA http://www.dzindna.com Logo Design, Small Business Branding Thu, 29 Jun 2017 22:18:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 Logo Mistakes Small Businesses Make http://www.dzindna.com/design/logo-mistakes-small-businesses-make/ Wed, 13 Jul 2016 18:00:03 +0000 http://www.dzindna.com/?p=1315 Whether you realize it or not, your company is being watched all the time. Not always by the same people, but with the 24 hour business cycle on the internet, you are always being judged by your appearance. Like it or not your logo speaks volumes about you. If the first impressions are true or […]

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Logo Mistakes Small Businesses MakeWhether you realize it or not, your company is being watched all the time. Not always by the same people, but with the 24 hour business cycle on the internet, you are always being judged by your appearance. Like it or not your logo speaks volumes about you. If the first impressions are true or not, the mistakes we make with our logos can have a lasting effect on our accounts receivable. Let’s look at Logo Mistakes Small Businesses Make that tend to give your company a less than professional look.

Amateur Designed

We have all seen the sites that sell 100 logos for a dollar. Steer clear of sites like those. The old adage “you get what you pay for” certainly applies.  If you invest so many hours and dollars into your business, where is the logic in getting an amateur logo? You want to be taken seriously, we should take our branding seriously. If you want to be professional, your company should look professional.

When I say amateur, what do I mean?
• Owner wanted to save money and time by going the DIY route.
• Owner’s favorite nephew took an art class and offered to help.
• The printer (not trained in logo design) gives free logo design with printing.
• Used logo by the dozen contest sites that hire amateur designers that love clip art.

As one of the most prevalent logo mistakes small businesses make, an amateur logo makes you look amateur. Just like a professional logo, makes you look professional.

Me Too Branding

Trends come in like a tsunami and it seems that if you don’t join in you will be left behind. However if you join in you look like everyone else and have little to show for it. Trends are never the answer for logo design. You know what I’m talking about, the ubiquitous swoosh, the tenacious glow and bevel. You can see a virtual library of trendy logo in your yellow pages.

Designing with trends has some obvious problems. Trends are popular, everyone is joining in, therefore it is impossible to be unique. Trends are short lived, in a few years your logo will need a revamp, if not a complete overhaul. Trends place a date stamp on your brand telling your customers when it was designed and how long ago it should have been updated.

My advice, create a brand that is timeless, one that will represent your company for many years without the fickle trends making your company look dated.

Images Instead of Symbols

Here is where proper graphic training comes into play. Many times I have seen company “logos” with a photograph of the owner’s dog, or of a flower. It can be anything. Then when they try to use their photographic logo in a different format or scale, it fails to reproduce properly.

The correct way to create a logo is with vector graphics. Vector graphics are mathematically precise points and paths that guarantee visual consistency and scalability. Photos are raster art and are made up of many small pixels. When you scale raster art it gets blurry and rough.

In order to create a logo that is simple, recognizable, and reproducible in any size or medium, vector graphics are the best solution. Logo designers worth their salt will know this and insist on it.

Stock Art Branding

Using stock art or clip art or even logo templates has many pitfalls that sabotage your brand to it’s very core. Your company is unique, your logo should be as well. It is impossible for an “off the shelf” clip art logo that 100 other companies have used to effectively convey your unique company message. Your brand must stand out or you will blend in, and you can’t stand out if you look like 100 other companies. The goal of your brand is to force you to stand out in a sea of companies that offer the same products or services, and convey your message to the perfect customer. You just can’t do that with borrowed art.

Kitchen Sink Branding

Logos should be simple. Simple helps people remember them better. Simple reproduces better in every medium. Simple is difficult to achieve. Since simplicity requires more work many people try to avoid the extra work by adding more into the logo. They try to illustrate every aspect of their company in a tiny mark. The theory here is if we can’t make it simple, let’s make it comprehensive. Look at Nike. If you didn’t know anything about the company, there would be no way to guess it was about shoes, or even sports for that matter.

How does simplicity help? A simple logo maintains communication even when it is very small. A complex logo tends to lose readability and recognition at smaller sizes. A simple logo can convey many things to many different customer groups. A complex logo will end up not meaning anything because there is too much information to digest quickly.

Using Color To Fix It

Your logo needs to print well in EVERY medium, including newsprint, copiers, phonebooks and fax machines. Yes, I know some of those mediums are quite archaic. But the fact remains, if your logo doesn’t work in black and white, color can’t fix it. A sagacious designer plans for the lowest common denominator. You see, when your logo is printed in the yellow pages or in the newspaper, everything is working against it, the paper, the ink, the printing process, everything. If your logo relies on color to convey its message, that message is lost. Your logo must work in black and white in order to prevent as much damage as possible in the variety of mediums.

Poor Choice Of Font/Too many fonts

The font you chose for your logo is a decision not to be taken lightly. Too many times, logo fonts are after thoughts, little more than a necessary evil. The font you chose for your brand can determine the success or failure of your brand.

Fonts say more than just the words the characters spell out. There are plenty of subtle cues found in every font. Your font can convey audience, price point, value, attitude, intent, origin, era, and even mindset. If your font and your icon don’t act in concert with the message your brand wants to convey, your audience can miss the message altogether or even worse, forget you completely.

After you have carefully chosen your font, you may want to alter it or customize it so that it becomes unique to you. Even if someone is using that font (they probably are), yours will be one of a kind.

Using too many fonts is nearly as bad a using the wrong font. I use a maximum of two fonts in a logo. Any more than two and it gets confusing and hard to read, especially at smaller sizes.

Poor Emphasis

The relationship between your icon and your logotype is an important one. The size of each element, the color relationship, the proximity and positioning all play a part in the emphasis. Make sure your customer sees the most important element first and continue in descending order. If done correctly, it shouldn’t be a long list of elements, but you still must think about the visual order of each element. You don’t want one element to over power the other, but a good logo still has a hierarchy of pieces.

If all of this feels a bit overwhelming, we would be glad to talk you through it. Give us a call or email us at creative@dzindna.com, we look forward to the conversation.

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Rebranding Review – a closer look at BerriHealth. http://www.dzindna.com/case-studies/rebranding-berrihealth/ Wed, 25 May 2016 15:26:21 +0000 http://www.dzindna.com/?p=1270 Rebranding your company is a major undertaking, but one that is achievable with planning, forethought and vision. Berrihealth, a producer of black raspberry products for both clinical and retail applications, was an industry leader and needed to extend that image into it’s brand. Rebranding – From the start Steve Dunfield, the owner and president of […]

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Rebranding your company is a major undertaking, but one that is achievable with planning, forethought and vision. Berrihealth, a producer of black raspberry products for both clinical and retail applications, was an industry leader and needed to extend that image into it’s brand.

logo

Rebranding – From the start

Steve Dunfield, the owner and president of Berrihealth, wanted a new take on the logo the company has had since its beginning in 2006. Soliciting proposals from several agencies close to home in Oregon, and a small firm in Oklahoma, Dunfield was looking for the right combination of creativity, communication, and responsiveness in his rebranding. After a few phone calls and online conversations, He decided to trust the out-of-town firm. We are glad he did.

Research

The team at BerriHealth already had a good amount of research, but we wanted more of an internal vision of what BerriHealth was about. We asked Steve and his team to complete an IDQ, an in-depth questionnaire that helps us learn about your company. In the meanwhile, our team was researching competition and the berry market. One of the things we learned from the IDQ was that the principles wanted to explore the option of salvaging the equity they had in their existing logo. We also discovered is they relied heavily on clinical sales and wanted to keep a more scientific feel.

Logo concepts, Icon variations and color schemes for BerriHealth logo

Initial Concepts

Several days of thumbnail sketches, and rough comps culminated in a wide variety of ideas. We narrowed them down to the best six and presented them to BerriHealth. We spent some time exploring options for several of the ideas. Slowly, we narrowed the choice down to two concepts. Either the company would keep the established “bent rectangle” and update the old look, or they would transfer that equity into a fresh new brand with new energy and life.

A New Direction

The berry in concept six was the element that sparked new life into the brand. Steve was excited about the subtle hexagons that make the berry and hint at the science behind the company’s foundation. Brian, Steve’s son and BerriHealth’s Vice President, was happy with the simplicity and boldness of a modern icon. We didn’t stop there, we went on to do several more variations on the berry itself. We looked at angle, shape of druplets, stems, implied dimensions, nothing was off limits. We regularly screen shared my computer while we brainstormed possibilities for the berry.

Color Me Happy

After some debate, and a consensus on the mark itself, our next task was to choose the color scheme for this new brand. Color is often a favorite part of the process, its visually satisfying, changes are obvious and come quickly. But without a strong black and white foundation, picking colors can be difficult and frustrating. A logo must work in black and white first, and color can’t fix a logo. But I’ll admit, color schemes are fun. Each round of color schemes we got closer to landing it. Meanwhile we were still solving some type issues.
Once chosen and everyone was happy, we dove straight into the new look for the packaging. But that is another story. I want to thank Steve and everyone at Berrihealth. I truly enjoyed being part of your team and working with you to build a great brand.

Final Logo

BerriHealthColorLogo

“After looking at a few different designers for rebranding and redoing our packaging, we decided to choose Mark and DzinDNA. His ability to communicate clearly and effectively and have a clear process for getting our design work done was one of the main reasons why, and Mark more than delivered in working with us as a team to accomplish our goals. Mark was able to use his design skills to transform rough, vague thoughts in our heads into a graphical mark that we are very pleased with. Mark is excellent at working with you to get designs where you want them to be. He never makes you feel like you are on the clock and is very generous with his time and effort. Mark is also good at identifying sticking points in the design process and gives input and ideas to keep things moving. “
– Brian Dunfield, BerriHealth.com

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8 Elements to a World Class Logo http://www.dzindna.com/design/8-elements-to-a-world-class-logo/ Mon, 01 Feb 2016 19:43:07 +0000 http://www.dzindna.com/?p=1242 What are the 8 elements of a “world class logo”? I had a potential client ask me this question. I had to stop and think. I had never considered that before. I started searching my brain for what it takes to reach the levels of “world class”. I have broken the elements into primary and […]

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0000704_world-class-medals_300What are the 8 elements of a “world class logo”? I had a potential client ask me this question. I had to stop and think. I had never considered that before. I started searching my brain for what it takes to reach the levels of “world class”. I have broken the elements into primary and secondary elements. Let’s dig into them.

Simplicity

By far the most important of any of the elements. Simplicity dictates that we boil the contents of the logo down to the bare minimum. Each line or shape should be vitally necessary to the design. Without each element included you would be unable to convey the message. We must ask ourselves at every turn do I need this line/shape to reach my customer? Don’t use three elements when one will do

Visual Weight

In a ocean of marketing sameness, a world class logo will stand out. Without color, without additional help, it stands above the crowded marketplace. I am not saying all logos should be bold and heavy, but they should have some visual weight in order to be seen from a distance or in motion.

Reproducibility

No matter what medium, a world class logo should reproduce well. Whether in the newspaper, on a billboard, on a business card or even on a fax machine. Your logo should be able to stand up to every corrosive media. Too much to explain, let me sum up. When they print, let’s say, the yellow pages, the ink hits that newsprint paper and it spreads, or bleeds, outward. If your logo is too finely detailed or has small holes in a field of black, that bleeding will hurt your logo and in turn hurt your image.

Balance

Balance is a visual sense that the logo is stable and reliable. We are strange animals. Humans perceive even the slightest errors in design. Most people don’t even realize they do it, it’s mostly subconscious. But we still perceive it, and when we see a logo that feels unstable we tend to apply that uneasy feeling to the company itself. So if your logo doesn’t have good balance it will reflect on your company.

SECONDARY ELEMENTS

Believability

A world class logo gives customers the assurance that we are who we say we are. Your logo must be seen as a legitimate company. It can’t feel like a plastic banana. The image we portray must match the image of our product or service. You wouldn’t sell monster truck races with a tea room marketing strategy. There are a lot of things that go into believeability; quality, consistency, balance and simplicity.

Consistency

Your world class logo needs to maintain consistency in order to keep that title. If your logo was just a little different each time your target market saw it, they would soon start looking for a new provider. Without consistency your ever-changing logo, the usage of it, tells your customers that they can’t count on you to be the same tomorrow as you are today.

Frequency

How often you see a logo lends to its viability. The more you see a logo, any logo, the more expected and trusted it becomes. Your logo needs to show its face more often. Some exposure will help with your goal of becoming “world class”. After all, if no one ever sees your great logo, how much good is it doing for your company?

Market

To be world class, you logo must have a market. You could have the best graphics in the world, you could have checked all the boxes on this list and many more, but if no one is buying your offer, it does you no good. Why are the greats so great? Yes they have many if not all of the above traits, but people buy their product. You must have a market. No great logo will succeed without a market.

Those are the elements of a world class logo. There is no way this is an exhaustive list, but these elements will help you and your brand reach your full potential. If we can help you in any way, contact us at creative@DzinDNA.com.

 

 

 

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Top 8 Tactics & Tips for Customer Testimonials http://www.dzindna.com/marketing/top-testimonials-tips/ Mon, 03 Aug 2015 22:15:01 +0000 http://www.dzindna.com/?p=1191 Your perspective customers want an element of proof to the claims that you are making, testimonials are that proof. Testimonials are able to slip through the defenses customers put up and are seldom detected on BS radar. A favorable account of your service or product goes a long way to setting the mind of your […]

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home-nav-testimonials

Your perspective customers want an element of proof to the claims that you are making, testimonials are that proof. Testimonials are able to slip through the defenses customers put up and are seldom detected on BS radar. A favorable account of your service or product goes a long way to setting the mind of your potential customer at ease. If you have a plurality of positive comments, testimonials can quell the fears of most shoppers. Below are some tips for making the most of your company testimonials.

1. Always Ask for Testimonials

Make asking for testimonials a part of your routine. Every customer should be asked for their input and testimony. You never know when a customer will say something that would really speak to your Perfect Customer. You should make asking for testimonials a habit.

2. Always Get Permission

You should have permission to use someone’s words and or likeness in your marketing. I typically ask for permission while I ask for the testimonial. “Could you write a sentence or two about your experience with us, we like to use them on our website. Would that be okay?” You don’t need a signed release form but you should have some written permission.

3. Never Use Fakes

Real customers. Real testimonials. Every time. Most people can spot a fake. Its something about the words used and the over the top endorsement. Which brings me to my next tip.

4. Always Make Them as Real as Possible

It seems a bit redundant, doesn’t it. If they aren’t fakes, then they must be real. Well yes and no. You may have some great testimonials from real customers, but until your potential customers think that they are real people that I can call and get the scoop on you and your service, they don’t really work. Add photos, Names, Towns they live in, which company they are with. Give the viewer as much evidence as you can to make these words as authentic as possible.

5. Always Highlight Solutions

Use testimonials that spotlight a certain benefit or solution you provide.  Use sections of testimonials that make your service or product the hero to the customer’s problem. “I could never get the grass stains out until I started using DetergiMAX. This stuff is GREAT.” Use your testimonials to actually do the selling. They should echo your marketing message.

6. Never Mix With Surveys

The temptation is to piggy-back your testimonial request with a survey or some other correspondence. Don’t succumb. Surveys need to be anonymous so the customer can say what they really feel. Ask for your reviews in separate contacts. Just a side note: you also want to ask them for a testimonial as close to the initial purchase as possible, it will improve the chances of a great testimonial.

7. Always Ask Them Questions

I usually send them a Testimonial Questionnaire. It has 8 or 9 opened ended questions that solicit the responses I am after. For example, I start with, “write a paragraph about your experience with our company” then I ask “how would you describe our service?” and then “If your were talking with someone thinking of hiring us, what would you tell them?”

8. Always Be Picky

When you get a good number of testimonials, you can start being picky about which ones you use and which ones you toss. You are looking to parlay the good reputation you have into more business, so don’t use just any customer reveiw. Be picky, use the best ones.

Testimonials can boost your marketing and convert more potential customers than normal sales copy. Create a system to collect testimonials from every customer and your bottom line should feel the surge.

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8 Secrets to Best Selling Book Covers http://www.dzindna.com/design/8-secrets-to-best-selling-book-covers/ Tue, 17 Feb 2015 20:45:17 +0000 http://www.dzindna.com/?p=686   You finally finished your book. You have poured yourself into it, your editor is proud of the final product and it’s time to show the world. But how can the world judge your book with out a cover? I know it’s cliché, but your book cover is what sells your book. We do judge […]

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theheirloomcover

Book Cover for The Heirloom by Chase Bolding

 

You finally finished your book. You have poured yourself into it, your editor is proud of the final product and it’s time to show the world. But how can the world judge your book with out a cover? I know it’s cliché, but your book cover is what sells your book. We do judge books by their covers. Without an awesome cover your book has very few chances to make it to the best sellers list. So what can you do, on a limited budget, to improve your book’s “buyability”? Let’s take a look.

Emphasis

Emphasis is just designing in order of importance. So what is the most important element on your book cover. Nine times out of ten it will be the title of the book. Unless you are Stephen King, whose name sells the book, your book’s title will be need to be the biggest or most important element on the cover. Then you get to decide what is number two, your name or the visual. If you haven’t made a name that people will recognize yet, consider using your visual in the number 2 slot. Then probably your name as number three, followed by the subtitle and other elements.

Contrast

Contrast is simply having enough difference between elements so they can be seen or read. Your book title needs contrast with your background, image, or surroundings. Your book will also need contrast with other books, but we will touch on that later. Make sure your elements have enough difference between them in color, value and emphasis. If all of your elements can’t be seen from some distance, you should reconsider their contrast. Some high contrast color combinations are Red and White, Black and Yellow, or Blue and Yellow. Play with those and see what you can come up with.

Professionalism

If you look at any best seller’s list, you will never find a book cover created in MS WORD. It won’t happen. As good as Word is at it’s job, it wasn’t made for design. Your book needs to look as professional as possible. I am not saying as good as you can make it, chances are you are not a designer. No insult intended, but to get professional results, you should probably use a professional designer. If you are on a tight budget, inquire at a local college or trade school with a design department. Students will love working on book covers and typically won’t charge as much as a working professional. If all else fails, you can purchase book cover templates on several sites. You could even find a cover you like, grab some tracing paper and make your own template. DO NOT plagiarize the cover, just dissect how they placed the title, image and author name and apply it to your cover.

Readability

Your book cover should be legible from a nominal distance or small size. I know that sounds like a line from Captain Obvious’ latest movie, but you would be surprised at how seldom that advice is heeded. Use bold readable fonts that will help the reader grasp the jest of your book quickly. I understand that books targeted to women typically don’t want to scream at their readers, but if your title is designed with a font that is hard to read, you can kiss those potential readers goodbye. So choose a bold font that is very readable and complimentary to your subject matter as well as pleasing to your audience. That leads us to consistency.

Consistency

Consistency is a big topic, both in scope and in importance. Your book cover needs to be consistent with many elements, your subject, your audience, but also your blog, your public image, and your other books. It all needs to mesh together, to work in concert. Use the same fonts or graphic elements from your blog, use common colors from your marketing, logo, and webpage. Even your voice should be consistent from your blog to your book to your webpage. You want your faithful readers to recognize your look, your style. And you want new readers to avoid getting mixed signals from one media to the next. When you achieve this consistency throughout your products you will be entering into the world of branding, and that is a good thing.

Branding

Branding is the overall feel your readers get anytime they encounter your brand. Every time they read one of your books, or your blog, visit your website, or open your email, your readers should get the same overall feeling of quality, trust, and looking forward to more from you. Branding is more than just your personal logo, and design of your books. It is your over arching story that you are striving to tell. Take great care in your brand. Protect it harshly. Once tarnished it is nearly impossible to restore.

Competition

Look at your competition in your genre. What are they doing that works? What are they doing wrong? The last thing you want to do is blend into your competition. Amazon is a great resource for this. You can see the covers of the best sellers and the worst sellers. What do all the best sellers have in common? The worst? What can you do to stand out in either of those crowds? What can you learn from them? Your competition can be the biggest source of lessons learned out there. What to do and not do all at our finger tips. Once you have some comps in front of you line up your book cover with the best sellers in your genre. How does yours look? Is it as good or better? Does it blend into the crowd or stand out on the shelf? Does your cover look like it is out of it’s league or a strong competitor?

Imagery

The visual you place on your book cover can make or break the book. Make sure you use art or photos that are 1) high quality 2) you have permission to use 3) speaks to your audience 4) stands out. Stock photos are very affordable now. There are several sites you can get high quality images for under $10. Your book cover should be a minimum of 300dpi (dots per inch). This gives you many advantages. Your cover will look better online, it will be clean enough to print, and will help your branding and professionalism. Choose your images carefully, they are very important.

These tips can help you create a strong book cover that will look great on the best sellers list and make you proud every time you see it on the shelf.

 

If you have any questions or need help with your book cover, please don’t hesitate to contact us. creative@DzinDNA.com

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Clear Conscience Pet – Sliders Rebrand http://www.dzindna.com/case-studies/clear-conscience-pet-sliders-rebrand/ Sun, 02 Feb 2014 02:01:07 +0000 http://www.dzindna.com/?p=577 Challenged with the rebrand of one of the most awarded names in holistic dog treats, we took Clear Conscience Pet’s offer to create a new look that is more fresh, artisan and natural. We wanted to compete with some bigger names and secure Sliders place on the shelves. Here is the packaging they came to […]

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OldSliderBags1smChallenged with the rebrand of one of the most awarded names in holistic dog treats, we took Clear Conscience Pet’s offer to create a new look that is more fresh, artisan and natural. We wanted to compete with some bigger names and secure Sliders place on the shelves. Here is the packaging they came to us with. And a look at their entire product line.

OldPackaging

Many elements and directions stood in the way of a clean commercially viable brand and packaging. We wrestled with the look for some time. Our biggest obstacle was convincing everyone involved of the need for simplicity, balance and brand unity.

Our First Attempts

Sliders Rebrand Progress

Our first attempts met with so-so response from both the client and a few focus groups. But after drilling down past some long held client beliefs and barriers we got into a great trend with the Sliders look. We delved deeper into who their competition was, who they wanted to compete with and what looks they were after.

 

Sliders rebrand

Rebrand Variations

Some tweaks revealed a very nice clean vision of the brand the client wanted and their customers have responded to. After landing on a look that met all the needs of the client we started applying it over the entire product line. As their product offering grows, we will meet new challenges, but with this foundation of simplicity and brand unity, they will seem small. We enjoyed working with Clear Conscience Pet in the rebrand effort. We found the challenge one that made us think, and try new solutions.

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Every rebrand project we get teaches us more about the need for simplicity, clear communication and a attentive ear to the market our client is trying to reach. We have been lucky to have great clients that can see our vision for their products. We love our jobs and love serving our clients. Thanks Clear Conscience Pet for letting us be a part of your rebranding team.

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8 Business Habits Stunting Your Growth http://www.dzindna.com/business/8-business-habits-stunting-your-growth/ Wed, 24 Jul 2013 20:48:47 +0000 http://www.dzindna.com/?p=527 Your business habits can facilitate rapid growth and a rewarding career or they can stunt the growth of your business. Business habits can keep you from reaching your full potential, and hinder you from enjoying the success you are working to achieve. In order for your company to grow, finding and eliminating hurdles to your […]

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Choice road signYour business habits can facilitate rapid growth and a rewarding career or they can stunt the growth of your business. Business habits can keep you from reaching your full potential, and hinder you from enjoying the success you are working to achieve. In order for your company to grow, finding and eliminating hurdles to your success is imperative. Below is a list of 8 common business habits that stand in the way of success. Mark the ones that you struggle with and work to eliminate their effect on your business.

Lack of Focus

Every business must provide quality, no matter what they do. To ensure that quality we must focus on our chosen mission. When we “branch out” we divide our focus into multiple directions, preventing us from providing the desired quality. The main thing is to keep the main thing, “the main thing”. What is your company’s focus? Where is your company straying from that focus? Decide on the one thing that your company does and do that one thing better.

Procrastination

“Someday I’ll” is not a resort off the coast of Fiji. Tomorrow is no real guarantee. I understand you can’t do it all today, but procrastination is a good way to get nothing done. There are many ways to combat procrastination. Setting deadlines is a good way to start. Deadlines have a way of stimulating action and creativity. Procrastination is also a symptom of feeling overwhelmed. When you notice that procrastination is creeping up on you, look at your to do list and find something you can get done right now. When finished find another. Then another. Before long your list will be done and you will have beaten procrastination.

Monotony

Doing the same thing, the same way time and time again can suck the life right out of your job. Explore new ways to get the same results. You might find a better way to achieve results you didn’t think were possible. Look at other industries. How can you use them to achieve the results you need?  Did you know the bank drive thru came from the fast food industry? Look at every step of your process and see if there is a different way to do it. It might not be better, but you never know till you try.

Control Issues

How many of us have said, “It’s easier to do it than teach someone else”? I know I have. That is our ego trying to keep control of another part of your company. I understand it’s hard to relinquish the reigns, but if your company is to grow, you must let go of something. You can’t do everything and still be an effective leader. As your company grows you need to be working on your business more and working in your business less. Work on controlling the direction of your company instead of controlling every detail.

Overworking Yourself

My pastor often says, “if you are burning the candle at both ends, you aren’t as bright as you think you are.” That is so true. I am very guilty of this on a regular basis. I have a hard time stopping. I would work 28 hours a day if my eyes stayed open long enough.  When we overwork ourselves our productivity suffers and you make poor decisions. Take time to refresh yourself. You might even break it up. Do something every week to help you relax. I look forward to the “date” my wife and I go on every Friday. I typically play games with my folks and my son every weekend. Do something every month to recharge your batteries. Play golf, or go to the lake. Do something out of your routine. Finally, do something every year to renew your attitude. Take a vacation or a staycation but get sometime off.

Seeking Approval

Are you waiting on some form of encouragement or approval to take the next step in your business? Do you need an “expert” to tell you your idea is a good one? Do you need overwhelming support from family and friends in order get your idea off the ground? The best way to get past this bad business habit is to acknowledge you abilities to yourself and make the decision that is waiting on nothing but you to pull the trigger. You can do anything you set your mind to, and the only approval you need is yours.

Lack of Creativity

Everyone is creative. Period. We may not all paint or compose, but we are all creative in some way or another. The beauty of creativity is that you can learn to have as much as you need. You see creativity is like any other muscle, if you work it, it gets stronger. If you ignore it gets weaker. So start exercising that muscle in your brain. There are tons of ways to work your creativity. Journal writing, sketchbooks, charades all help build your creativity. Board games like Cranium, Win Lose or Draw or Scattergories also are fun ways to stay creatively fit. Even if you just carried a notebook to write down ideas, that would help you spark full blown creativity later on.

Thinking Small

A common phrase heard around those who think small is “we can’t”. We tend to limit our possibilities before we even try when we are afraid of the outcome. Give yourself permission to think beyond what is possible. All of the great discoveries were at one time impossible. That’s what made them great, the impossibility of it. What do you see as impossible? What goal is nagging you to come out but you aren’t letting yourself say out loud? Imagine having achieved that. Picture it as so small that it seems like child’s play. Envision yourself as conqueror over that impossible dream. Can you see it? Now, go out and make it happen. Success doesn’t care if you aim too high, but aiming too low offends success.

How many of these business habits hit close to home for you? How many did you circle? There is no magic answer. Whether you saw one or all in yourself, we all have work to do. Write each one of the habits you need to work on fixing on a index card. Post it somewhere you can see it often as a reminder. If you need some encouragement feel free to drop me an email at creative@DzinDNA.com.


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8 Business Card Tactics Every Small Business Can Do http://www.dzindna.com/marketing/8-business-card-tactics-every-small-business-can-do/ Wed, 17 Jul 2013 08:00:39 +0000 http://www.dzindna.com/?p=519 Take your business card out of your wallet and look closely at it. Are you marveling at its power? No? Maybe you should. If I had to choose just one marketing tool to use the rest of my career, it would be the business card. This little Swiss Army knife of marketing can be your […]

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business-cardTake your business card out of your wallet and look closely at it. Are you marveling at its power? No? Maybe you should. If I had to choose just one marketing tool to use the rest of my career, it would be the business card. This little Swiss Army knife of marketing can be your best tool for reaching your customers. All it takes is some ingenuity. Your business card is worth much more than the small investment you made in it. And I am not talking about putting it in the fish bowl at your favorite restaurant for a free lunch.

We all know that business cards are standard fare for every day business. They are a must for any home based business or new business because to be considered a real business, you need real business cards. But most companies overlook their powerful marketing value.

Business Card Design

Your card design is the foundation of this marketing tool. It is important you design it well. If you have trouble or lack the tools to design your card, enlist the help of a professional designer or use a template on one of those cheap card sites. Write down everything you are needing on your card. Company Name/Logo, Your Name, Address, Phone, Email, Fax, Cell Phone, Home Phone, Pager, Business Slogan or Motto and Brand Names are on the top of the list. Now decide the order of importance. The more important the item, the larger it should be on your card. The less importance, the smaller it should be. My top 3 for business card importance are Company Logo, Your Name, Your Preferred Contact method.

Choose Your Image

Now decide on the image you wish to portray.  Do you want a high brow professional image like a lawyer? Or a personal, inviting image like a realtor, with your photo? The type of paper you print on is also a way to portray your image. Will you use a uncoated linen or a gloss card stock? Or will you not use paper at all? You can get business cards on wood, metal, clear or frosted plastic. You can get them with straight corners or rounded. You can even get them cut into ovals or custom shapes. The point is that your card be kept and remembered and not contradict your company image.

Size Matters

The typical business card is 3.5 inches by 2 inches. This size is easy to fit into wallets and holders. But you don’t have to use that size. You can do small cards like 3.5 inches by 1.5 inches. You could double the size by doing a fold over card. Make them memorable.

Kick Them Out of Helicopters

Okay, not really. Unless…you actually have a helicopter. In which case we need to talk. But you can do the next best thing. Joe Girard is supposedly the worlds greatest salesman. One year he sold over 1,200 new cars in Detroit. One of Joe’s favorite tricks was to go to Detroit Lions football games and throw handfuls of business cards out of the upper deck onto the expensive seats below each time the team scored. Each card had a discount that was good at his dealership the following day. How can you use Joe’s tactic for your business?

Pay the Bills

Place a business card in every bill you pay. Every month, every bill, every time. All of the services you use are filled with people. Those people move on to other jobs, they know someone that needs what you offer. If they get your card, they might keep it. They might go to your website. They might buy something. You never know what might happen.

Chairman of the Board

If you look near the entrance of many laundromats, schools, libraries and diners you will find bulletin boards with business cards from other local businesses pinned to it. Pin your card to these boards regularly and you will be able to reach people outside your normal circles.
Make Them Valuable

Most people ignore 50% of your business card’s marketing power by leaving the back blank. Use the back of the card as an ad. Use your marketing message to grab attention. Or use the back as a coupon to drive them to a site or location. The back of your card can be very useful if employed correctly.

Covert Ops

Go to your local bookstore and find the section of books that people would read if they were looking for your business. If you have a maternity clothing store you might go to the childbirth section. If you have a restaurant, go to the cooking books. Slip your cards into books that fit your perfect customer. Here is another chance to use a coupon on your card. You are targeting your perfect customer by which books you choose and getting your message to them at a time they are looking for answers.

The lowly business card proves its worth over and over again. Get one in the hands of your perfect customer and your whole world can change. If you do nothing else toward your marketing, put your card in someone’s hands today. It will make a difference.

 

 

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8 Gift Card Benefits That Boost Your Profit Margin http://www.dzindna.com/marketing/8-gift-card-benefits-that-boost-your-profit-margin/ Wed, 10 Jul 2013 21:00:40 +0000 http://www.dzindna.com/?p=512 The Gift Card, or gift certificate, has been around a long time, but only recently have they been so easy to give and receive. Us businesses have reaped the benefits totaling $23 billion last year. When you add in the fact that 2% to 5% of gift cards never get used, it is easy to […]

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GiftCard_Pop_6077The Gift Card, or gift certificate, has been around a long time, but only recently have they been so easy to give and receive. Us businesses have reaped the benefits totaling $23 billion last year. When you add in the fact that 2% to 5% of gift cards never get used, it is easy to see how gift cards can make a positive impact on your bank statement. But have you thought about the other benefits that come with selling gift cards?

More Sales Opportunities

Gift cards are paid in advance with the express purpose of giving to someone the customer knows. That means another visit to your store by the recipient. More than likely they will spend more than the dollar amount on the card, and you will get another sale.

Instant referral

One of the biggest benefits is the referral you get. Think about it, one of your customers that has done business with you before liked your products or services enough to not only encourage a friend to shop here, but make the first purchase for the recipient. They invite their friend to your store on their dime. In essence they are telling their friend, “I like and trust this business, I think you would too, and the first trip is on me.”

Universal Gift

We all know how hard it is to buy gifts for friends and relatives. The people we love the most are sometimes the hardest to buy for. Gift cards are an easy way to help your customers find a gift for that last person on their list. You can save them time, stress and that painful decision making process. And gift cards are always the right size.

Profitable Marketing Tool

Gift cards can be a powerful marketing tool. Beyond the referral power they possess, when someone receives a gift certificate, they will probably visit your website to learn more about your business. This gives you multiple opportunities to convey your marketing message, promote large ticket items, and even make an online sale. You get all this marketing power and you get paid to use it.

Word of Mouth Multiplier

When the recipient gets your gift card, the most natural reaction is to tell someone about the gift. Even if they have never been to your store, they will tell some one they are going to go spend it. And will often report to their friends later about the experience. Bingo! You have just turned a small piece of plastic into many referrals.

Branding, Branding , Branding

Gift cards of today are typically glossy credit cards with your graphics on the front. However even if you are using gift certificates you print from your laptop, don’t miss out on your chance to further brand your company. You can use this little tool to convey your marketing message, promote certain products, or even share some testimonials. Just don’t neglect this opportunity.

Give Gift Cards to Your Best Customers

Appreciate your loyal customers with a little gift card love. Show those customers how much you value their business by giving gift cards to them. You could even super size your appreciation by sending two gift cards to them, one to keep and one to give away. They will be pleased at your gesture and look like a hero to their friend. You will reap the benefits.

Smooth Over Mistakes

We have all made mistakes in our businesses and want to we’re sorry for the trouble. Gift cards make a great way to show that your apology was sincere and that your customer’s business is important to you. Improving customer loyalty and making up for hard feelings in one move. This also improves your chances your customer will tell their friends how helpful your customer service is.

There are several places online that you can get gift cards made like giftcards.com, but don’t discount just making your own. Either way, your customers will benefit from them and so will you.

 

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8 Ways to Make Bad Marketing Decisions http://www.dzindna.com/marketing/8-ways-to-make-bad-marketing-decisions/ Wed, 03 Jul 2013 19:46:29 +0000 http://www.dzindna.com/?p=502 In my years serving clients at many different levels, I am surprised quite often by poor marketing decisions and how they are made. It doesn’t really matter the location or industry, or the size of the company. Poor decision making has wasted more marketing dollars than any other factor in a marketing venue. As you […]

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right-and-wrong-decisionsIn my years serving clients at many different levels, I am surprised quite often by poor marketing decisions and how they are made. It doesn’t really matter the location or industry, or the size of the company. Poor decision making has wasted more marketing dollars than any other factor in a marketing venue. As you look over these think about the people you have worked with in the past, and see if they fit into any of these.

Evidence Targeting

Instead of searching for the truth and compiling evidence that supports the truth no matter what. Evidence Targeting is when you gather facts that support a pre-determined conclusion, and purposely disregard other facts that support different conclusions. People have an idea of what they want and then search for the right evidence that leads others to their conclusion.

Call Off The Search

When enough evidence is accumulated to reach the desired outcome, one simply stops looking for evidence. This can also be done selectively. Choosing to screen out options that we don’t want to consider. I had a client that would abruptly cancel any further discovery of options when they found the answer they wanted, inevitably losing information that could make a difference in his marketing.

Tradition

Say it with me, “We’ve always done it this way” I am not against tradition by any means, but continuing down a path for the sake of tradition is wrong and short sighted. Our economy is constantly changing, we must change with it if we wish to succeed. Use tradition as a standard, not a plan. This reminds me of the old adage, “if you want something you’ve never had before, you must do something you’ve never done before.”

Was Right, Is Right

Many people refuse to admit that a past decision was a bad one. Rather than admit their mistakes they build on past bad choices and make new bad choices. I was discussing the package design of a new product with a potential client. When I submitted a new design, they didn’t like it because it was “too good” and would out sell their other products. I couldn’t understand how more sales was a bad thing. But rather than admitting the old package was bad, they chose to keep a design that was hurting sales.

Here & Now

Sometimes people focus on the new information they receive and discount the tried and true information that has been around forever. Basing marketing decisions on the newest and latest gadget or  process can lead to disaster. We should always look for new ways to improve our marketing but don’t forget that marketing boils down to the big three: Market, Message, Media.

Echo Chamber

Have you ever heard the saying, “if you repeat a lie often enough, it soon becomes truth.” This is how the echo chamber hurts your marketing. If enough  people around you are saying the same thing, even if it is false, you will start to believe it. Multiply it by only finding sources that back up your position and you will make bad marketing decisions and not know it until its too late.

Clique Committee

You have a group of friends that think similarly to you. When asked they give opinions like yours, supporting what may be a bad decision. Your friends may not intend to mislead you but will tell you what you wanted to hear. President Lincoln did the exact opposite. He filled his cabinet with political rivals so he could get a better spectrum of opinion.

Winners Luck

Winners luck is taking all of the credit and none of the blame. It’s when you and your team take credit for all of the successes, patting yourself on the back for your talent and ability. But when something goes wrong, it is never your fault. Failure is always due to external sources or back luck. Failure can be one of the best teachers. If we write it off to bad luck we never get the benefit of learning from our mistakes.

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