Purple Revelations: The Joy of Impermanence

24 08 2012

DMT Artistry LLC officeMy husband, who reliably radiates the patience of a saint, requires Netflix and a sleeping bag any time we select paint colors. Yes, I am one of THOSE people.

Put me in a paint department with my artistic soul and perfectionist tendencies, and Mother Theresa could be forgiven for bolting for the door.

So, when it came time to choose colors for my in-progress office, I did everyone a favor, and went it alone. Interestingly enough, it took less then 15 minutes for me to leave with my liquid treasure.

Which got me thinking…

The way I see it, my office colors are the epitome of impermanence… the exact OPPOSITE of how I view DMT Artistry’s re-branding. My office colors can be changed in a few hours with a gallon of paint and elbow grease. But I’ve given myself the expectation that my new DMT brand must remain consistent across materials, locations, and time.

That’s a Mt. Everest order. Every brand evolves – even for the big guys, like Pepsi and Xerox. It has to. Stagnation means death.

It seems to me, then, that the “get-it-right-the-first-time” mindset is one of the primary sources of entrepreneurial quicksand. In an effort to make it right the first time, make it work perfectly the first time, make it a raging success the first time, we set ourselves up to be the deer in the headlights.

Impermanence is not only less intimidating; it’s more realistic. It reduces waffling over decisions. (It should NOT, however, be used as an excuse to be, think, or act in a mediocre fashion. We already talked about mediocrity in last week’s blog.)

Tell me, what decision have you been postponing for ages because the fear of “getting it wrong” is looming, piano-like, over your head? I challenge you to recognize that an incorrect decision is workable – you’re rolling your eyes, but I’m quite serious, you can always always correct your course to wind up on unexpected, opportunity-packed avenues – but going nowhere is not.

Come on, fellow entrepreneurs – let’s take this business world by storm!

Next Blog: … will be written by a guest blogger marketing guru, who’s been a DMT go-to guy for inspiration, motivation and valuable support – my dad!

“Nothing endures but change.”  ~Heraclitus

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

 





Putting a Paper Bag Over Your Head: The Importance of Good Design

8 09 2011

Bad design is like putting a bag over your headBusiness Number 1 is decked out in a magnificent tower of dramatically dazzling headgear.

Business Number 2 wears an equally stunning hat in more classically elegant lines.

Business Number 3 has a paper bag over its head.

1 and 2 are attracting all sorts of positive attention. 3 is hiding its light under generic grocery brown. What happened?

The difference is in the design.

As a small or start-up company, it’s easy to conclude that personally managing your own branding, online presence and print marketing will save you a bundle. Because it will… up front. But at what cost to your future?

The gift of the true entrepreneur is to think in terms of future value. And this is where a graphic designer can help.

Businesses 1 and 2 have recognized the value of working with a professional designer to create an image that draws eyes and interest. Their designer helped them build continuity across all marketing to make them memorable and instantly recognizable in a crowd. Their designer also helped them express the personality and culture of the business with unique marketing materials. Their ads visually and psychologically target the right audience. Their message comes across with clarity. Their branding suits both who they are now, and who they want to become.

In short, they’re wearing some pretty cool hats.

Business 3, on the other hand, presents generic marketing messages that are muddled and non-representative of the business. Its designs are unprofessional and make the business appear unprofessional by extension. There’s nothing particularly memorable about its ads. Its branding is non-existent.

For all intents and purposes, business 3 has pulled a paper bag over its head.

Understand, professional doesn’t mean cold or corporate. In fact, it takes ingenuity, expertise, enthusiasm and warmth to create marketing materials that intrigue, attract and build empathy and rapport.

Just as books are judged by their covers, business are judged daily by the marketing “hats” they wear. You hire professionals to prepare your business taxes, manage your legal contracts, replace the roofing, install your security system, ship your products and protect your profits. The all-important image of your business deserves the same professional treatment.

DMT Challenge of the Week
Look through your 2011 marketing materials – logos, ads, websites, posters, etc. Challenge yourself to view them from a potential customer’s perspective. What kind of message are you sending about your business, your level of professionalism and your expectation of success? Is there a consistent style across your materials?

Compare your marketing to your competitors’. Is yours distinguishable from theirs? Is your branding unique enough to not only be memorable, but to attract more attention, as well?

Now compare your marketing to a company in your field that’s at the level of success and profitability you ultimately want to achieve. How does yours measure up? Is your image holding you back, or driving you forward?

Ready to ditch the paper bag? DMT can design your business to the next level:

Dawn M Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

All content on this site is Copyright © DMT Artistry LLC. All rights reserved.

 





Choking on Butterflies: The pretty v. practical compromise

4 08 2011

Choking on butterfliesI saw someone choke on a butterfly once – my husband, in fact, though we were dating at the time. It was on a mountain biking expedition that this kamikaze Lone Ranger of the insect world fluttered headlong into my husband’s unsuspecting mouth. It wasn’t pretty… for either him or the butterfly, but it sure made for a memorable date!

Businesses choke on butterflies daily. Only their butterflies aren’t winged insects. They’re the fluff and glitter and show that bedazzle their customers into a purchase. They’re the colors, and sounds and snippets of wittiness that draw attention to what you do or sell.

As humans, we’re all susceptible to the influence of beauty, whether that beauty be a gorgeously arranged display, a stunning store model, a picturesque shop location or a brilliantly designed ad. And, visual beings that we are, this facet of marketing is critical.

Where problems arise is when a business focuses too much on its “butterflies”, and not enough on its content. No matter how flashy your marketing may be or how exquisitely your store may be laid out, if there’s no substance to your offers or no real purpose behind its presentation, there’s nothing to keep your customers coming back. And at that point, you’d better be prepared with the Heimlich maneuver, because your business will be choking on butterflies.

DMT Challenge of the Week
Take a look at the layout of your store and your marketing materials and techniques. How much of it is pure show, and how much has a practical foundation for the betterment of your business? How much actually gets across your company mission?

Be ruthless. Cut the fluff. And remember, more customers isn’t necessarily better. Your time and your resources should be dedicated to the visuals and activities that bring you the RIGHT KIND of customers for repeat business.

DMT Artistry gets to the heart of your message, so that your marketing is both visually stimulating and purposeful. Call us to learn more!

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





Fo’ Shizzle My Nizzle: The marketing language gap

28 07 2011

Ah. The Great Cultural Divide. And I’m not necessarily talking about geographical culture either.

Did you know that every business on the planet – whether it’s 1 person or 1,000 – has it’s own culture? It’s true!

A business culture forms from a way of speaking, a set of ideals, a way of doing things…

And where culture forms, language is hot on its heels. Your business’ language consists of shared lingo, attitudes, processes, interests, missions, experiences and more. It’s a way of communicating that is unique to your company and to your industry.

And when your customers speak that same language, the results are… magical.

Unfortunately, many business owners lose sight of a maxim that’s as true to marketing a business as to personal self growth: “This above all: To thine own self be true.” They warp their cultural language to conform to some ideal market they want to target.

Guess what. Capital N – O… NO!!

It’s not the market that defines the culture, but your culture that should define your target market.

Think of it this way – a Porsche dealer would hardly use mommy talk to promote it’s 911 GT2 sports car. And you sure as shootin’ wouldn’t hear street slang used to market a Ford Aerostar minivan. Each of these cars has its own micro-culture, and to market them any differently would be a disservice to all involved.

When you try to be something you’re not, be prepared to be called out.

Please don’t misunderstand me. There is an element of genius in being able to adapt your communications to make different customers feel welcome, special and comfortable. But the point is this: Hold true to the core culture that makes your business the unique success that it is.

This Week’s DMT Challenge

PART I: Take a look at the website home pages of some of the corporate giants – Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, NASCAR, McDonald’s, choose-your-own. Look at the colors, the images, the content and the layout. These are companies that have spent bookoo bucks and quality time defining the culture of their company. Do you think their websites succeed in getting the right message across?

PART II: See if you can define some cultural features of your own company or the company you work for. What’s your company mission? How does your staff interact with customers? How do they interact with each other? What’s the dress code? What are the most popular topics of conversation?

PART III: Now take a look at your own website – or any other marketing materials. Again, look at the colors, the images, the content and the layout. Do they communicate what you’ve defined above?

Incidentally, for those who are curious, “fo’ shizzle my nizzle” means something along the lines of “Most definitely, my African American brother.”

Is DMT Artistry the “bees knees”? Fo’ shizzle my nizzle. Let us prove it to you.

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





Handling “NO” Like a Salsa Dancer: The Selling Samba

9 03 2011

"NO" can become "YES". It's all in the sales dance!“Momma, can I have candy?”

“NO.”

“Teacher, may I go to the bathroom?”

“NO.”

“Mr. Executive, may I interest you in my widget?”

“NO.”

“NO” is not a fun word to hear, particularly when it’s issuing forth from the mouth of a potential client.

But “NO” doesn’t always mean “the end of the line.” In fact, “NO” is sometimes followed by the distant creak of a window of opportunity being thrown open. It’s all in how you handle it. Let me explain what I mean… using dance, of all things, as a metaphor.

Ages ago, I signed on for swing dance lessons. It was fast and furious, packed with high-speed twirls and plenty of swinging. Some salespeople are like that. When they get a “no,” they lead their listener a merry jig in an effort to sway their choice. “But what about… ?” “And how about… ?” “Have you considered… ?” Rapid fire questions and topic changes, rather than confounding consumers into an opposite decision, will just confound them, period. And a confused potential client is not likely to become the next devoted purchaser of your product or service.

A few years later, I picked up the line dance bug. Stomping and kicking was uncommonly satisfying. But for the purposes of this article, it’s also reminiscent of the tantrum version of handling “NO”. You know the sort of salesperson I mean – the one who handles rejection with the maturity of an angry two-year-old. Kiss your future business goodbye.

At the occasional wedding, you’ll see me flailing away to rock-n-roll rhythms. It isn’t usually a pretty sight, but that’s the beauty of free form; you don’t have to be good. This puts me in mind of the out-of-control sales technique that not only dislikes “NO”, but completely disregards it. Heavy metal sales folk steamroll over objections as though they never existed. They are the most likely candidates for security escort out of the building.

And then there’s ballet. I never had any interest in becoming a ballerina. Short legs, and all that. Still, it’s remarkable to watch. They float around like feathers – graceful, gentle. I actually used to be this salesperson, handling “NO”s softly and lightly. But like a feather brushed off a piece of clothing, balletic salespeople are too easily forgotten. Their company becomes white noise as a result, and won’t even be on the radar for future business.

But salsa… now there’s a sales dance you can sink your teeth into! It’s highly interactive – a little give and a little take. It engages both parties, and taps into two of the strongest selling tools out there: emotion and imagination. A salsa salesperson accepts “NO” with grace and style, but then tantalizes with just the right amount of intrigue (“hmmm… maybe that widget really COULD come in handy”) to leave the door open for future business. Memorable as they are, this will be the company that wins future business from their listener and will be highly recommended to friends and associates.

Which steps have you been dancing on the sales floor? Has it worked for you? If not, it could be time to learn some Salsa-style selling!

If you enjoy my articles, please let me know! A quick comment or feedback is always welcome, and I encourage you to share this article with someone you think might also enjoy it. Thank you for your readership!

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





The Emperor is Streaking Again… Smoke & Mirrors Marketing

23 02 2011

Smoke & Mirrors Marketing: When something turns out to be nothingDo you know the story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”? It’s worth a read, but for my CliffsNote readers, here’s the Wikipedia plot line:

“An Emperor who cares for nothing but his appearance and attire hires two tailors who promise him the finest suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or ‘just hopelessly stupid’. The Emperor cannot see the cloth himself, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing unfit for his position or stupid; his ministers do the same. When the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor then marches in procession before his subjects. A child in the crowd calls out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others.”

There’s a great deal of marketing that is very much like the emperor’s “outfit” – all talk, absolutely zero substance. These businesses promise the world, but the ensuing fine print subtracts value from the offer line by line by line, until there’s nothing left but a slick ad hoodwinking unwary consumers.

Don’t be that business.

Your promotions should never require smokescreens to make them appear to have value. If they do, you’re either not being creative enough with your marketing, or you are marketing the wrong thing.

Remember, marketing doesn’t have to be about discounts that don’t make sense to your bottom line. It IS, however, about providing value to your customers. Perhaps that’s a seminar. Perhaps that’s a free service accompanying purchase. Perhaps that’s a referral program. Perhaps that’s an honest-to-goodness free door prize – no strings attached – just to encourage foot traffic.

Simple, straight forward and value-packed are the path to marketing with substance.

Because, just like in the emperor’s story, customers will put up with being hoodwinked only until someone has the courage to cry foul. And then the best smoke-and-mirrors setup in the world won’t hide the naked truth underneath… an empty marketing ploy.

“…they could not see anything, for there was nothing to be seen.” ~ Hans Christian Andersen

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





When Good Bicycles Go Bad

14 05 2010

Bicycle breakdowns happen. Even the souped-up $15,000 carbon fiber models need a flat tire fix every now and then. But, “who ya gonna call” when your good bike goes bad?

Hometown Bicycles, that’s who.

Across from Island Lake and Kensington parks is a Brighton bicycle repair, sales and parts shop that handles everything from down-to-the-last-nut-and-bolt overhauls to quick safety tune-ups, with incredible speed, knowledge and efficiency.

But perhaps the most noteworthy part of the shop is the owner himself, Shaun Bhajan, and his philosophy of bike business:

“…I’m not in business to buy a yacht or out-renovate my neighbors. Heck, I’d rather just ride my bike. I’m in it because it’s not work… it’s fun, and it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

The Challenge: This element of fun is what’s attracting cyclists from every corner of the county and beyond to support this hometown venture. So how do we translate this into Hometown Bicycle’s online marketing?

The DMT Solution: Simple. Have fun with the design. Have fun with the content. And, above all, involve our customers every step of the way!

Everything from the imagery to the text reflects the spirit, humor, energy and personality that radiates from this cyclists’ paradise.

Below is a screenshot of the Hometown Home Page. Shaun loves the blog format for easy updating and customer interaction via the “comment” links.
Hometown Bicycles LLC of Brighton, MI

The following is a screenshot of our monthly Hometown Newsletter. It’s “A Fun Newsletter”… what more can I say?!
Hometown Bicycles LLC Newsletter

Want to have fun with your marketing? Contact me any time. I love putting “personality” back into tired, unoriginal marketing.  Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  (810) 923-4852  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com