Are You Cool Enough to be My Friend? (Business Symbiosis)

25 08 2011

Are you cool enough to be my friend?Well, are you?

Several weeks back, I wrote about being tainted by association – that the location of your marketing materials can raise or decimate your company’s “cool factor”.

This week, we’re taking a slightly different track. Because, in addition to location, our company’s reputations are also integrally linked to the crowd we hang with. Or, in other words, the shops and companies we align ourselves reflect directly on our own. Here’s what I mean…

Are we all acquainted with the difference between symbiotic and parasitic?

Symbiotic relationships are those in which both parties benefit from each other – where 1 + 1 equals greater than 2. In business, this might be a situation where, say, a running store and a bicycle shop team up to better serve the triathlon community. Both stores promote the adventure, fun and satisfaction of participating in tri events, and pull in new customers that they are able to “share” and mutually support. Win-win.

Parasitic relationships aren’t warm and they’re anything but fuzzy. One party benefits at the expense of the other. This might be a goliath book store chain swooping in on a mom-and-pop book nook’s fundraiser. Mom and Pop might initially celebrate: “Wow, this could mean great exposure!” But what it really means is that Big Guy is tapping into Little Guy’s customer base, and siphoning off their customers.  Win-lose.

So, who’s cool enough – and symbiotic enough – to “hang” with you?

The answer relies entirely upon who you are as a company, along with your business goals, ethics and mission. The very best thing you can do for your business is to associate yourself with the type of business you’d like to become. If family-like customer relations, involvement in pertinent community events and being a one-stop resource for your customers is the way you run your business, look for companies that already do it with great success.

It doesn’t necessarily matter if the industries are entirely different. A first-rate tool and die manufacturer might help produce a bicycle shop’s conceptualization of a new crank design. In turn, the bicycle shop might provide a package bike deal to the manufacturer’s employees to help keep them fit, healthy and happy. Think creatively. There’s symbiosis to be found in nearly any positive relationship.

DMT Challenge of the Week
Starting locally, take a look around you. Which companies uphold or exemplify the standards you’ve set or aspire to set for your business? List 5 that you see most closely aligning with your corporate ideals. Now crank those thinking caps up to “Dangerously High”. Next to each company, jot down ways in which your businesses could benefit each other. If the symbiosis is strong enough, you may just have found someone “cool enough to be your friend.”

Your friendly, symbiotic, neighborhood graphic design and marketing firm:

Dawn M Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |

No Escape: The Not-So-Sinister World of Graphic Design

19 08 2011

You're surrounded by graphic design intended to add to your life experienceYou’re surrounded. It’s out to get you. It’s closing in on you from every side. There’s just no escaping…

Graphic Design!

Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’ references aside, graphic design is the kind of art form that’s literally everywhere. You ARE surrounded, just not by soul-sucking zombies. Instead, everywhere you turn are the brainchildren of creative minds that have a message to impart. And that message is intended to ADD value to your life.

When you think about it, graphic design wraps the world you live in in a dazzling array of visual ingenuity. The genius of it all is its ability to influence decisions, inspire actions and sway opinions in as quick as a fraction-of-a-second glance.

The occasional political propaganda notwithstanding, design’s intent is hardly sinister. It’s simply the visual counterpart, when done expertly, of a really compelling speech. What you do with the message is up to you.

People often associate graphic design with the bold and brazen shout of billboards and glossy ad slicks. But the truly fascinating thing about it is that it doesn’t have to be loud to be effective. Some of the world’s best graphic design “speaks softly, but carries a big stick”.

Take a look around you right now. You might see some obvious design in action – corporate calendars, website banner ads and newspaper advertisements. But I challenge you to look deeper. Have you ever paid attention to the design on your candy wrapper? Or the logo on your computer? What about the screen layout on your cell phone or the label on your nearest fire extinguisher? And have you ever given a second thought to the sticker on your vitamin bottle? The cover of your favorite book? The text emblazoned on the pen you’re holding in your hand?

Every single one of these was designed with purpose. The design has a function or functions to serve, and the designer gave those functions a visual “voice”. As you can imagine, this is not an easy task, and that’s why we graphic designers take such pride in a successful design launch.

DMT Challenge of the Week
Wherever you are as you’re reading this blog post, stop and look around you. Tally up the number of times you see graphic design in action. If you find less than 50, look again. Everything from product logos, to product labels, to planner pages, to the print on your keyboard keys, to the store signs, street signs and automotive insignias you can see out your window are graphic design. If you find 100 or more, NOW you’re thinking like a graphic designer!

Your visual language expert in the graphic design field:

Dawn M Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |

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Are We There Yet?!: The marketing milestone marathon

12 08 2011

Road trip boredomRoad trip! The joy of adult existence; the bane of children everywhere.

Do you remember your earliest family road vacations, when your parents packed you and your siblings into the back seat with fruit snacks, juice boxes and various luggage items that wouldn’t fit in the trunk?

The first 30 miles were a blur of car games, sing-a-longs and back seat Chinese fire drills. The second 30-mile stretch disappeared in a haze of napping.

But those next hundred miles… ugh! Time and mile markers crawled by at snail’s pace. It was only a matter of time before a plaintive “Are we there yet?!” emanated from the back seat.

As adults, we may have tempered this impatience with maturity, but as business owners – particularly new business owners – our marketing plans occasionally find us regressing back to childhood frustration. Here’s what happens…

The Too-Lofty Marketing Plan
A marketing plan consists of one or more goals, usually about increasing revenue, that act as a marketing mission statement of sorts. It gives your advertising both a direction and a purpose. However, it’s not uncommon to mistake bigger for better.

The problem with Texas-sized goals isn’t their validity or their value; it’s the fact that they take so darn long to accomplish. The adult in us valiantly clings to patience. But the child in us (i.e. the inexperienced, exuberant part of us) is wondering if we’re EVER going to get there.

The last thing you want is for your enthusiasm to wane halfway through accomplishing your goal. You need that youthful energy to drive your entrepreneurial creativity, and keep your business evolving.

So here’s what you can do: Keep your big goals, but also keep your inner child gainfully amused along the way…

1) Create micro-goals.  Give yourself and your company something to shoot for every year, every month, every week and every day. It’s empowering to work with purpose.

2) Celebrate milestones.  Congratulate yourself and your team for accomplishing the little goals that are going to make the big ones possible. Create daily opportunities to feel triumphant. Success grows exponentially, so you may wind up breezing by your big goal and accomplishing something even greater!

3) Get creative with your goal setting.  Marketing goals don’t always have to be directly related to fattening the company wallet. Believe me, just about any strategic goal will lead to increased revenue in the long (or short) run. Alternate goals can be about networking events attended, sale opportunities researched, new marketing avenues explored, partnerships formed, efficiency increased or creating a new and marketable benefit for your product or service.

DMT Challenge of the Week

Take a few minutes to write down your marketing goal for today, one for the upcoming week and one for the end of the month. Be sure that each goal is measurable, so that you can determine whether the goal was a success. Now decide on your reward for each accomplishment, making sure that the scale of the reward fits the scale of the goal.

If you plan it right, the journey to your final goal will be as enriching as its ultimate achievement. And your road trip will be as exciting as your final destination.

“When you come to a fork in the road – take it.”  – Yogi Berra

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |