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The Power of Content: Shaping a Culture Around Your Business

When it comes to approaching social media and the other communications deployed to build a brand or business it’s important to understand the significance of content and how it can be instrumental in developing and shaping the culture around your business.

Have you ever thought about your business in terms of culture?  Have you thought about the experience you’re providing to prospective clientele when they encounter or engage with your business?

These terms, when it comes to building a business are not typically given much consideration.  Marketing tends towards active advertising, promotion and selling rather than building an experience.

How do you feel when you’re being sold to?

We eagerly develop pitches and work to employ recommended techniques all geared to the end-game of generating leads, and ideally, sales; but how have we engaged our mission, values and personality to ensure that our communications represent the full picture of our business and ourselves, as entrepreneurs?Connect rather than simply sell.

UX, or User Experience, is often referenced when we talk about the performance of websites and apps,  but rarely do we explore the concept when it comes to the promotion of products and/or services – the business, itself.

Developing and shaping the culture, the experience, digitally – providing for the UX – is essential for growing a brand and business that looks to build trust as well as a sense of authority in the space.  Where, because of the type and quality of information you consistently provide, prospective clients feel compelled to engage with your business.

Look at your digital presence.  Explore your website and other communications, as well as digital assets, and see what they’re providing in UX. Try to evaluate the experience visitors might be having with your brand and whether or not there’s a culture developing that they might connect to.

What are you offering your audience before you try to sell them?

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How’s Your Elevator Pitch? 9 Tips to Make It More Effective

You have an unexpected opportunity to sell your big idea or new business venture to a potential new client or investor.  The research shows that you’ll have NO MORE than 30 seconds to deliver your best pitch.  Are you ready?!

If you own a business or are developing a product or service looking for clients or possibly investors, you should have an effective elevator pitch in your hip-pocket, ready to deliver at a moment’s notice.

Your business or idea is great.  An elevator pitch identifies and delivers all that greatness in as little time as possible.

Too often we get excited and caught up in the details of our business, and want to share the all of the intricacies about why it’s so amazing when we have the opportunity.  Consequently, your elevator pitch can lean more towards a lengthy preamble evolving into an even longer monologue of endless details describing not only your company but each of your products and services.

The result:  a bored, uncomfortable and, ultimately, disinclined listener eagerly anticipating his, or her, escape.

Tips to developing an effective elevator pitch

Here are some easy tips to help you deliver the pitch that grabs attention rather than loses it:

Keep it short – say as little as possible.  This is a fast-moving social media culture we’re living and working in.  As stated earlier, your time will be limited, plan for as little as 30 seconds.  The points to follow will help you refine exactly what you’ll say in such a limited amount of time.

Identify, define and REMEMBER your vision.  Get in touch with why you started your business and what’s exciting about it… to you! You don’t want to sound like a sales pitch, you want your listener to connect with what’s exciting about your product or service.  If you aren’t connected to the vision behind your business you can’t expect your listener to connect with what your selling.

Know intimately your value proposition.  Know exactly, intimately and in precise detail, what makes your business, product, service, unique and of value.  This is what you’re selling.  Understand it. Own it.

Authenticity wins.  Don’t waste valuable time trying to impress with industry jargon.  Get straight to the point with real language to share what you’re doing, why it’s exciting for you and what’s in it for them.

Who is your ideal subject:  Investor?  Client?  Employer?  Make yourself familiar. One size DOES NOT fit all.  Take a long think, and imagine who it is you want to be pitching to. Who are they?  What do they care about? What do they need – what is their problem (‘pain point’) – and how can you provide for, or solve, it?

An understanding of whom you want to target and what drives them will provide you with the insight you need to help draft your 30 second pitch. If you can identify your subject: the ideal investor, client, employer; you can refine your pitch so it feels the perfect fit for that special listener.

Your pitch is simply the the start of what will be an actual conversation. Is your listener nodding attentively.  Is she interested asking questions. Connection!  Now’s the opportunity to delve further into the details.

Ask a great question.  Don’t forget a simple and fairly universal human fact: what we all love to talk about most is ourselves. So, it can’t be all about you.   Get them talking about something that is meaningful, important, significant and compelling to them.  If you can get your subject talking about himself in a meaningful way, establishing a connection with you, you’re increasing your chances for real memorability. Also, they might just be that much more receptive to your offer to continue the conversation and, eventually, to your offer to take the next step in the journey of becoming your next ideal client or giving you money.

Depending on the company, you might find this tip gets immediately catapulted to the top of the list. Read your room!

Denied?  Don’t get caught up in the rejection. The entire process from concept to draft to delivery, offers you the opportunity to better identify your vision, your ideal listener and better hone your spiel.  If it doesn’t connect, so be it.

Lastly, practice! It’s natural for a new pitch to feel awkward at first so the key is to practice it until it feels natural and meaningful to you. Then breathe and smile. Your elevator pitch will come across much better when you’re relaxed.

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New Branding & Web Design!

So very proud of this launch!

This was a branding and web design project that strived to balance the corporate with the more progressive, forward thinking.  It’s a new business and the design concepts are geared to reflect the professionalism and values of the client while taking into consideration the expectations and needs of the intended market.

I knew we were looking at a more corporate sensibility in the development of the logo.  I didn’t want it too stuffy and, in close consult with the client, figured we would be able to undo some of the overtly corporate with the colour palette.  Purple provide our pop, the foundation, and our departure from the usual lawyer-liness typically drawn from the monochrome of a suit!

The result is simple: a graphic that pops with colour while quietly alluding to the client’s specialty of negotiation.  It sets the tone for a clean new establishment identity, but allowing for some departure from a corporate sensibility in the supporting collateral – web and print.

The goal when putting together the web design was to come up with something clean and easy to navigate but also feel very different to almost ALL legal industry websites.  Here’s the thing… any sites related to lawyers trend towards:

1. grey or blue
2. overwhelmingly corporate
3. same, same, SAME!!

Yes, this is a lawyer, and soon to be collection of lawyers, but, given the target market – Seattle area startups and entrepreneurs – this lawyer’s site needed to feel fresh and forward-thinking.  It needed to stand out from the sea of grey and blue.  It needed to balance the solid corporate experience and expertise with the progressive nature of my client, while appealing to the progressive, innovative nature of my client’s client.

So, in keeping with this vision, along with the aesthetics of the site, a single page, dynamic scroll was the ticket.  This allowed the message and services to be clearly identified and the information easy to find.  The site is intended to give an overview while taking every opportunity to encourage contact.

You can see it HERE!

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