Today we introduce you to Sheryl Roberts. Sheryl has been a long time friend of mine so I was honored when she came to us and asked up to help develop her personal brand. We laid out the roadmap to help ellevate her brand and allow it to support and guide her towards her ultimate dream, a vintage clothing store, Indigo Style Vintage.
Hear Sheryl describe how she made the decisions that led her to open her flagship store in Brooklyn, the creative way in which she built her team, and the smart and savvy way that she tested the market to determine her inventory, price points, and location.
Our interview is available here:
And to see the visual work we did for Sheryl back in the day (it has since evolved quite a bit) take a look below:
Like many of our clients, I worked with Hilda, and completed her corporate identity (logo, website, brochures, content) before we ever met. We only live 5 miles apart, but technology seems to narrow that gap, even between neighbors.
Hilda had been a nurse for quite some time and was ready to serve her client community in a way that was limiting in her full time job, so she took an entrepreneurship course (the same one I took prior to launching my business) and put her plan in motion.
Hilda had already done her target marketing research, had a strong sense of her price points, her business model and her service offering. What she needed help with was how to present that information in a way that her buyers could absorb. Then she needed to get found!
We launched her brand within 3 weeks (we also do 1 day brand intensives, where we launch a new brand in 1 day, with all team members on deck) and not long after the launch Hilda was acquiring partnerships and getting new clients. She embodied the brand quickly and has been managing the flow and demand of it ever sense.
For the moment, Hilda chooses to be small, having only a couple of key team members, as independent contractors, to service her clients and manage the brand. With a brand that reflects you the choice to remain small but powerful is yours to control. See what we did for Hilda below and join us in celebrating another awesome client putting great work and energy out into the world:
Bernard Hendricks came to Brand Excitement because his business was struggling to get clients. Unlimited Cleaning, a business he sold a few years later as part of a planned exit strategy, was a word of mouth business that had great potential but few clients.
We started by creating a true visual identity for him. His website had been built on a free template by Godaddy, something that most entrepreneurs think is a good idea but in the end it makes you look like a cookie-cutter business and it limits your visibility and opportunity.
We did visual brand identity, build an online marketing strategy and then created social media posts and managed his Facebook page for several months. The visibility this strategy built helped him get more clients, and bigger clients such as Diesel apparel, and helped him to hire more people and grow the business.
On that success he was able to find buyers for the business and sell it as intended. See the design work we did below, and if you need to build your brand for an exit strategy be sure to consider the brand identity and strategy essentials we used for Bernard.
Above is the website we created for Bernard. For Before/after shots give us a holler.
This business card represents the logo we created for Unlimited Cleaning, seamlessly connecting the U and C from the name, and the color scheme and clean concept that represented the brand persona.
We love our clients! We are proud that we were able to work with Bernard and assist in his business growth and are honored to celebrate him and that work for our 7th anniversary series.
As we continue to celebrate our 7th year anniversary we introduce you to the mission and magic of New Jersey City University (NJCU). NJCU, located in Jersey City, NJ, boasts more than 60 ethnicities and 30 languages spoken on campus, and it accessible by many modes of public transportation. With two campuses, they are among one of the most versatile and convenient universities in the New York, especially for those who attend the business school at Harborside Financial Plaza at the Jersey City Waterfront.
Full disclosure, I (Beatrice) am on the board of NJCU, but that designation didn’t happen haphazardly. As a 6 year tenant at their business incubator, I know first hand how they rally for their students and how much the mission of moving working class families into educational achievement is for them. To that end, the project that we worked on with them was for a new degree in Finance, and they offered full tuition and waived application fees! I believe entrepreneurship and education will change the world, and so I full-heartedly believed in this project. I continue the work we started as a board member at their business school because I believe they are a gem in the cluttered climate of education these days.
I encourage you to look into their programs for all of your local and distance your education needs.
It’s our birthday! This month we turn 7 and to celebrate we’re highlighting some of the amazing clients we’ve had the honor of working with for the past 7 years. Every day in July stop by to get inspired, get the inside scoop and see how brands evolve. We’ve worked with small brands, big brands, brands that evolved and brand that were dissolved and through it all we have developed more passion and spirit than you can imagine.
To kick off the series we are first highlighting Porshea Wilkins. Porshea is one of the first entrepreneurs that we worked with back in the day and we worked with her to build her personal brand over at PorsheaRae.com. Since that time Porshea has evolved and is now managing many brands, including a powerful platform Build It For Your Last Name, with her husband Jarrod. Porshea is proof that your brand is always best when it evolves to match your growth. Need inspiration? Listen to the podcast below, and then visit Porshea’s website at www.BuildItForYourLastName.com and get on her list! You won’t regret it!
Today’s article is contributed by Bonnie Halper at StartupOneStop.com
Back in the 1970s, liquid hand soap was sold by one guy: Robert Taylor, and his small company Minnetonka. It was his invention, and he knew he was on to something big. Test audiences loved the product and, despite barely having enough resources to do so, Minnetonka decided to go all in and make a push to take the product nationwide.
There was only one problem: Nothing he was selling could be patented.
The concept of liquid soap wasn’t new, and simple pumps had been around since the dawn of civilization. As a result, Taylor knew several huge soap manufacturers were ready to happily steal his idea the very moment it looked like it could succeed on a large scale. Armed with superior resources and the ability to quickly R&D an imitation product, the industry giants were ready to crush tiny Minnetonka.
Taylor, however, was ready for this.
Before any other company had the chance, Taylor decided to go shopping one day and bought a few plastic pumps. And by a few we mean F**KING ALL OF THEM. There were only two companies nationwide manufacturing those little pumps, and Taylor ponied up $12 million — more than the total net worth of his company at the time — and ordered 100 million of them, effectively buying every single pump these two companies would be able to manufacture for the next year or two.
Anyway, without the part required to dispense the soap, there was nothing the major companies could do but sit and watch Taylor slowly own the entire market. His product would become known as SoftSoap, Two years after his little stunt, Colgate-Palmolive would be forced to just buy SoftSoap from Taylor … for $61 million.”
Of course, this was pre-web, pre 3D printing, pre proliferation of patent trolls and pre China, who can knock off anything seemingly overnight.
The point is: this is a great example of entrepreneurship at its best – the convergence of innovation and thinking outside the box. Pun very much intended: when faced with seemingly overwhelming challenges, raise the bar.
How many online friends have you made a real life connection with? This weekend I attended an event where I finally met face-to-face with a friend, Julie, who I met a couple of years ago through an online community. We both had a lot in common and though we hadn’t met yet, connected online and eventually offline, building a relationship that crossed the boundaries of screens and logins.
Neither of us knew the other was attending the event this weekend, but when if you’d seen us greet each other you would have thought that we were old childhood friends. Our friendship had a strong bond because we activated old and new modes of connection. It’s something we did naturally, for personal reasons, but a routine that works very effectively in business as well. Especially in the current cluttered online climate.
Whether it’s attracting new clients, doing field research or promoting new products if you don’t pick up the phone you will have a hard time achieving your results. Smart phones, tablets and technology have become so commonplace that it’s hard for your message to get through effectively.
Increasingly business owners are seeing the numbers of client conversions, event registrations and product sales decline because there are more options and less connections than before. If you business model was built on a marketing model that hasn’t been updated in the past year, chances are you’re finding it more difficult to achieve the results you once did. Here are some tips to push get you over the hump:
1) Take a look at your engagement. Who’s opening and clicking through your email? These community members are your best targets and your first stop for developing a follow up plan.
2) Aggregate all of your client data in one place. Do you have names, email addresses and telephone numbers? You should. If you don’t, reach out to your warmest leads and request that they update (add to) their contact profiles.
3) Start making phone calls. Whenever you add a new type of connection to someone you deepen the relationship and extend it. Julie and I had two points of connection, online and voice. Now that we’ve met we have a added a third layer. We now have a stronger bond and inner circle between ourselves.
4) Extend your offer, or a referral, in a spirit of service. When you’re able to have a real conversation with someone and vet their needs the best “next step” is to give them a solution that you truly know will solve a need. If it’s you, great, but if it’s not, and you have a resource, extend it to them in the spirit of service.
To cut through the clutter these days you need to build real connection, and step forward from your brand with a focus on your core values. It will endear others to you and increase your results exponentially. To get strategy, analysis and management for your brand, set up a brand strategy session. If you have a solid system in place, share some of your best tips, or recent results, below.
Yesterday’s post about multiple touch points received a lot of attention from you. I’m happy that it was a popular and revisited post so today I want to outline just a few keys ways to use it. Ultimately, having multiple ways to contact your community helps you to convert your ideal person into a client. I like to say it gives me the ability to chase a potential client without losing my breath.
I thought it might be helpful if I outline how I do this. Since they say it takes “at least” 5 points of engagement to convert someone, it’s important that you stay in touch and not consider yourself a nag. By showing you my way of using these I hope to give you a little snapshot of how the process works holistically, and you can tweak and tailor it for your own use. Here’s mine. I’m going to base this pipeline on getting a lead online, such as when someone requests a free report or download on my website. I call these warm leads:
Contact #1 – The user has filled out the form on my website requesting a free CD. In that form I have a field for “telephone number.” When the telephone number is provided I make it a point to call that person the same day or the next day. When I speak with them I try to find out how they found us (usually by referral, or on Google) and ask them if there were any resources they were looking for in particular that I might be able to send over… often a reader was looking for one piece of nugget, and I can send a worksheet or article about it. Otherwise, I tell them their CD will be shipped on XYZ day and to let us know if they have any questions
Contact #2 – I drop an email to them asking if they’re received the CD, if they’d like a transcript (I don’t have them receive the transcript automatically, they only get it by responding to my email) and if there was anything there that needed further clarification. I also ask them if I can add their birthday to my contact system. I log their birthday into Hallmark.com so that Hallmark will notify me when it’s time to send a card
Contact #3 – I have a weekly electronic newsletter that goes out every Sunday. I’ve also started to send a monthly paper newsletter to everyone I have a mailing address from. This person starts to get that newsletter. It’s just one page front and back. Now they get another tangible thing from me that adds value and doesn’t cost them anything
Contact #4 – I check in on the person through social media (if I’ve been able to find them through their email address” and share a resource or just comment and begin a discussion. For those that I don’t have social media connections with I drop a line and ask they if they’re on social media. I say “I’d love to connect. Are you on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin? – for those that are social media shy, LinkedIn is usually the way to go. I make a connection for them or do an introduction to someone in their industry, or served by their industry
Contact #5 – I invite them to a live event, webinar or one-on-one strategy session. When they’re local they almost ALWAYS try to make it out to a live event. When they’re not, they go for the webinar or a one-on-one strategy session. My conversion rate from these is about 30%.
So, that’s my pipeline. I won’t pretend it’s perfect. Sometimes I fall off. There are weeks where I realize I’m behind and then I spend a whole day making calls and sending emails, and that takes the fun out of it. What I’ve found though is that if you combine online connection with off-line, tangible relationship, you build a stronger response and conversion.
That’s what I’ve got. Do you have any advice or insights you can share with me about this? I’d love to hear it. Comment below… and share it on social media for me, ok?
Yesterday I rented the DVD Silver Linings Playbook and cuddled up with my dog Samantha for a few hours to some chocolate coffee and cake to spoil myself with a little me time. I didn’t know much about the movie before I rented it, but had received some good recommendations from a few friends at my office. I knew a few things:
1) I knew it had won awards
2) I knew it exceeded the producer’s expectations for it
3) I knew it was over a year old
So, I hopped online and looked at Netflix, but the movie wasn’t there. Then I hopped over to Amazon to see if they had it, and they did, but even though I was a Prime member it would still cost me $12.99 (yes, even 18 months after this movie was released that’s the price they were looking to charge), so I put it in my queue but before I pressed purchase I hopped on the Redbox website to see if one of the boxes near my house had it in stock.
Bingo! They did.
So I reserved the movie online, hopped in the car, retrieved the movie from the kiosk on my way to pick up Samantha and then settled back home for some fun and laughter.
That might seem like too much information for where this story is going, but stick with me… it has a point.
It was really a fun and touching movie. If I had seen it with someone I’m sure I would have had a lot to say in a discussion afterwards, but I watched it alone (I could have gotten into a discussion with my dog Samantha, but that might be weird.)
A few hours later I watched the DELETED scenes, and what a great lesson I learned from doing so.
There were about 8 deleted scenes which varied in length from 30 seconds to several minutes. I STRUGGLED to watch the deleted scenes because they were so boring. They didn’t add anything to the movie. It was an enlightening experience and made me think… How often do we put stuff out into the world without fully vetting it and making it the most polished, perfected, exciting thing?
The Art of the Edit is something we need to take note of and incorporate into our process more fully. If you’ve ever worked with a writer you already know that even when you think you’ve written the perfect content, there is something to be deleted, something to be clarified and something to be corrected.
After watching the deleted scenes of Silver Linings Playbook I could see why they chose to delete those scenes and believe that if they had kept them in, the movie would not have reached the award winning caliber that it did. This movie was so successful that even 18 months later I would have to pay $12.99 to watch it online, and it was still listed in the local kiosk for Redbox. That’s a noteworthy success metric.
So how do we implement this new way of thinking/doing in our business?
1) Always get a second opinion. It’s so important to step out of your box and get the input of others to make your service or product better. Production houses do this with focus groups, and so can you. Get a team of reviewers that are willing to review and test your ideas, concepts and protocols to see if they need adjusting.
2) Expand your network. It may seem easy for a blockbuster movie to get coverage everywhere, but it’s not as easy as you’d think. As the movie gained interest the distribution reps had to work hard to get it to the people while the window of opportunity would close. That hustle would be the make or break difference between an OK film and millions of potential dollars
3) Keep that good thing going. I went to the website for Silver Linings Playbook, and even visited their Facebook and Twitter page, and it’s all still active. The mistake some business owners make is to let the activities around their promotions fade and become dated. This movie is obviously still pulling in viewers because they haven’t let that happen.
So what are you working on that needs the art of the edit? Pull out what you can, add what you need and get someone else to weigh in. It just might take your latest creation to award winning status. Share what you’re working on in the comments below.
If there’s one thing that keeps a business in the black (profit) it’s innovation. It seems counter-productive to do something different but the reality is that there can only be a few successful copy cats out there and their life span is very limited. My experience shopping in New York is a great example of this.
Do you remember bootleg CDs and DVDs, or knock-off purses and watches? When I first moved to New York you could find “good looking” fakes everywhere. I always thought the real thing was better than the imitation, but there was enough of a market to keep the imitators in business… until there wasn’t.
Is the greatest form of flattery imitation, or is it the kiss of death? What got me thinking about this so much lately is the increasing number of copy cats I’m seeing on the market. There are two distinct ways I’ve been seeing this: At events and in marketing.
Now, obviously there are some fundamentals that need to be done in every business operation. That’s not what I’m talking about here. Today I’m specifically talking about the copy cat formula that is being washed, rinsed and repeated without any adjustment or alteration for the user.
Rather than give you a laundry list of what everyone is copying and how stale and boring it has become I’d like to give you inspiration. You see, I believe the greatest form of flattery is INSPIRATION, not imitation. Here are 2 examples I’ve experienced recently that point to how successful innovation can be, and how refreshing and exciting it is to deliver something unexpected and out of the ordinary.
1) Total absorption: Let’s discuss House of Cards. Netflix released House of Cards in February 2013 and released all 13 episodes at once. In addition to it being a web-only series, it was also the first time all episodes of a show were available at once. It was a gamble. It was risky. And people loved it. They closed their doors for the weekend, cancelled dinner dates and lost sleep to absorb every episode one after the other.
How to use this: Do you have ideas about a product or service that defies the usual distribution rules? Take the time to do your research, see if a market is there and outline a new vision for your success. It’s a gamble, but one that can pay off ten fold.
2) Collaborate, don’t compete: Back in January I attended a livestream event by a woman named Sage Lavine. It was called Unite 2014 and what I loved about this virtual event was that she broke the formula. Instead of having her colleagues to hop on a call or webcast with her to deliver new year inspiration insights she had them hop on a plane! From one room viewers from across the globe were able to watch 6 powerful women in business share their struggles, triumphs, tactics and vision with the rest of us.
How to use this: If time and space were bent for you, what outrageous action would you take? What have you envisioned to do that hasn’t been done before? Now, how can you partner with others to make the vision a reality?
With the two examples above are you juices flowing? What ideas come to you as you think of simple ways that you can innovate in your own business? Share them with a comment below.