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

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The best (and easiest) referral tip you’ll ever get…

20 04 2010

A little "Thank You" goes a long, long wayEver noticed how your blood pressure escalates when you let a driver into your lane and they don’t even acknowledge your existence? Or when you hold the door open for what seems like 50 people… and they all breeze by as though you’re a garden statue? How about when you spend a small fortune at a retail store, and they hussle you out the door without so much as a “glad you stopped in”?

What is the ONE THING that would have turned these situations from aggravating to satisfying?

You’ve guessed it: “Thank You.”

It’s amazing what a smile, a nod of thanks, or a “we appreciate your business” can do to your perception of an experience or, for you business owners out there, to your clients’ perception of your business.

Think about it for a moment. What do YOU do to thank your clients for CHOOSING to buy your product or use your service? Sincere gratitude is a door opener. An appreciative client is more likely to refer future business your way, than one who feels like a nameless face with a wallet.

So if you want referrals, let your clients know you appreciate them! Here are 4 “thank you” techniques I’ve seen used with great success:

1) Just Say It! – If it’s sincere, it can truly be as simple as that.

2) The Follow Up Thank You Note – An email, a handwritten note, or even a Facebook message will let clients know they’re appreciated, AND keep you top of mind for when their friend just happens to need that widget you produce or that service you provide.

3) The Hug – This one has to be used with some delicacy, as everyone has a different degree of personal space comfort. However, I can personally remember every meeting that has ended with a genuine hug. Those people and their businesses have been positively ingrained in my memory, and it’s easy to remember to refer someone who made such a personable impression.

4) The Customized Promotion – Sending a “You bought this widget, so now you need this add-on widget” promotion is impersonal at best. In conversations with clients, you’ll get clues about what they personally like and need. When you send your thank you promotion, show off the fact that you were listening. Customize it. That kind of impressive follow-up is something they’ll write home about!

What’s the most creative “thank you” you’ve ever received from a business? How do you personally thank your own clients?

And to all of my new and regular readers, thank you for your continued support and loyalty. I couldn’t successfully do what I do without you!

Want to get creative with your “thank you”s? I can help you design a customer appreciation system that’s as unique as your business! Email me any time for more information – dawn@dmtartistry.com.