How to Get Your Brand to Speak for Itself

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By: > August 13th, 2014

Was my handshake too intense? Did I make enough eye contact? Did I make too much eye contact? Am I standing too close?

Thirty seconds. Sometimes that’s all you get. What do they think of you? You gave this stranger thirty seconds to decide what they thought of you.

And how did you do?

According to scientific research, the way someone perceives you for the majority of your first interactions can be established within thirty seconds. That’s all it takes for them to decide if they like you or not. First impressions are intimidating. You’re meeting someone – a stranger – for the first time. Neither of you really know what to expect. In business, you often make your first impression on a client before you even meet them face-to-face. They can type your company or name in to a Google search, find you on Facebook, peruse through your website, or ask what other people know about you. What sort of impression are you leaving for potential clients to find? How can you ensure that they will be impressed from the outset?

Clients often step in to marketing offices asking for only one small adjustment or addition: “My logo needs to stand out more… My website needs an update…” and so it goes. Sometimes, they are right and that is all they need. Other times, and often, what they really need is an entire face-lift for their brand. It is not that the brand in itself is worthless or bad, because many times it is not, but it is that the brand has aged and in order to make a bold statement in the business world today, it needs an update. A brand is what tells a customer or client that you have what it takes to give them what they want. Your brand speaks for your company, explaining what your purpose is and what you will give. Your brand is a promise of quality, communication, and production. It could also be your breakthrough.

Don’t waste the time you have to make a quick and brilliant impression – beef up your branding. Take the bold step and make the decision to revamp every nook and cranny of your brand, and throw out those things that could taint your reputation with one glance. It could be the thing that makes or breaks a potential business endeavor – or your reputation. Invest in your brand: it may be what keeps your business alive and thriving. Don’t cut yourself short when you have so many places to go.

With great business branding, you don’t have to worry about a great first impression: it has already been done for you. Let your brand speak for itself, and you worry about living up to your promise!

Quit Working, Start Living!

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By: > July 8th, 2014

Imagine the one thing that makes you feel the most you that you have ever felt. Is it coming up with the most subtle puns to make people laugh, writing your heart out in the form of poetry, photographing a raw and stunning moment in a stranger’s life, doing something adventurous that no one else has ever done, rescuing endangered or harmed animals, creating something that makes someone smile, or coming up with ideas that could change the course of medical efforts or scientific research? This is your way of changing the world. Can you imagine it yet?

It makes you feel alive, but are you willing to admit you’re not perfect at it? Sometimes doing something imperfectly is the first step to finding something better. Many have claimed that doing what you love brings a happiness that cannot be found elsewhere, a lifestyle that benefits not only you, but everyone you interact with, and productivity like you have never seen before. Needless to say, it helps you produce an outcome that no one else can ever identically produce.

The Pareto principle, although more widely recognized as the 80/20 rule [of life], is about doing just that. It’s doing what you’re made to do – what you’re good at – and putting the most effort into that. Stop worrying about the small amount that you can’t do, and spend more time on what you can do. Wikipedia explains the 80/20 rule as, “roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” In business this means that about 80% of your profit comes from 20% of your clients and 20% of the work that you put into something.

That can easily be a let down, but take the initiative to turn it into a motivator to work differently. Do more of what you love and are good at. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing it is typically better quality, more efficient, and much more rewarding for both the giver and the receiver. Your output creates its value. This may not work for everything and everyone, but with the right amount of balance and initiative, I believe that your passion could become your full-time job. Confucius once said, “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Let that be your goal. Take what you are good at, make something of it, and use it to benefit others. Serif Group is the product of two people doing what they love. It really does happen.

80/20 Facebook graphicImagine a world where gifts and passions were put first for serving others, and not for selfish use. Don’t settle for your best work being your side job. Is fear stopping you? Why are you afraid to do what comes naturally to you? If you do what you were created to do, you will reap many worthy rewards. Don’t hide your passions – turn them into your lifestyle! 

You Can’t Fight the Plague!

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By: > June 19th, 2014

There comes a time when your friends are suddenly very absent. They don’t respond to your texts or answer your phone calls, and when you finally do see them they tell you that they have not slept much in the last couple of weeks. “I got up at 3 a.m. last night, and the night before that I was awake until 6,” they will say. You could be out on a romantic date at a fancy restaurant and your significant other will be gazing sweetly into your eyes one minute, and the next minute his eyes divert behind you and he is bursting into spontaneous cheering or a stream of profanities. Be alert: these are the symptoms of someone who has been bitten by the FIFA World Cup bug. It is a plague, and the only cure is to let the inflicted be and hope their favorite team wins (or at least is not beat by someone worse).

As contagious as it is, some of us are just immune to it, but that does not mean that we cannot still enjoy something about this month of soccer (or is it football?). From a marketing perspective, we have noticed the craziness that has been the logo explosion of each World Cup. You cannot get through a huge event such as the World Cup without at least seeing the logo in a mall, on the internet, while you’re watching tv, on someone’s shirt, or on a box of McDonald’s french fries! (Seriously, McDonald’s has an entire FIFA-based game you can play if you buy their french fries!)

In an article posted on the McDonald’s newsroom webpage was a quote from Steve Easterbrook, Senior Executive VP and Global Chief Brand Officer at McD’s, where he explained, “This is the first time in brand history we’re changing the packaging design of one of our customers’ most favourite menu items on a global scale, and what better reason than to share in the excitement of one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world.” They’re pretty serious about this World Cup thing and are taking the image up to a whole new level. Simply put, it’s hard to not run into some sort of World Cup marketing scheme this month.

So now that you agree with me that the World Cup isn’t all about soccer, (it’s actually more about marketing, right?) I want to take you on a trip down memory lane of the last 10 years of the FIFA World Cup logo. You have to admit, this is the real plague that strikes more of the population, even if you aren’t a football fan.

FIFA USA 94FRANCE 98

FIFA KoreaJapanFIFA Germany 2006

 

FIFA South Africa 2010

 

And last, but not least, this year’s vibrant logo for the vibrant country of Brazil:

FIFA Brasil

Do you remember any of these? There is strength in a powerful image, especially when it is embedded in your mind without you even consciously realizing it. Perhaps now you will notice just how much you actually look at a World Cup endorsement. You can’t fight the plague!

Get to Know the Newbie: Amelia

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By: > June 16th, 2014

Right after my first step in the door, I was greeted by Rosie’s sweet curly-haired face, followed by friendly smiles from Jackie and Bill Powell. Jackie and Bill have graciously given me some summer hours as an intern to learn the ropes of their creative marketing agency and add some college perspective creativity to their brand. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow in my skills and understanding of the marketing world. Since I am going to be around for a couple months, I figure you may as well get to know me!

My name is Amelia Hegle (pronounced “Heg-lee”) and I am a 19-year-old college Junior. I am the youngest of 3 kids and lover of all things fluffy and cuddly. I love to laugh, find the beautiful things in life, and write about the moments and people that inspire me. If you want to you can check out my  personal blog! Born in Janesville, WI in 1994, I am a native Wisconsinite. But, don’t ask me anything about Wisconsin because I barely know my way around my own city. When I was 8 years old, my family packed up and moved across the ocean to Bandung, Indonesia where I made friends, went to an international school, and learned the ropes of traveling from country-to-country while attempting to avoid worst-case scenario jet lag.

I found my niche in high school working on the yearbook in every aspect of design, writing, and photography. After I graduated from high school in 2012, I made the move to Wilmore, KY where I began studying Communications and Public Relations at Asbury University. Despite all my jokes about it years prior to moving here, Kentucky quickly stole my heart and became my second home.

So here I am, embarking on the next step in my life as their summer intern and excited to see how I grow at Serif Group. Here’s to a new adventure!

The Bunny is leaving much better eggs this year!

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By: > April 15th, 2014

Around Easter every year, I pass mounds of PAAS dyes and goofy stickers featuring prancing bunnies and cheesy flowers while at the grocery store. These kits are fun for kids, but my designer’s heart has always craved something more elegant than stickers, and more interesting than solid colors. Thanks to the wonders of Google, I found these beautiful twists on the classic Easter tradition.

Silhouette Eggs | Possibilities are endless with this super-simple update on sticker eggs. LollyChops

Watercolor Eggs | These beauties use craft supplies you probably already have on hand, and the result is pretty and whimsical. Alisa Burke

Dried Flowers | You won’t need centerpieces with these bright options. The Magic Onions

Washi Tape | For pattern lovers. Lovely Indeed

 

Painterly Eggs | These soft pastels are Springy and artistic. Paper & Stitch

Mustache Eggs | Cute and sassy, these eggs remind me of a barbershop quartet. Oh What Fun

 

Foiled Eggs | Super-elegant and perfect for a fancy Easter gathering. Martha Stewart

Silk Tie Eggs | Easy, unique, and stunning. Mommy Knows

 

 

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