We have all been there! How often do you say those immortal words… “I haven’t got time”. Your work tasks are piled high around your ears but your friends and family are clammering for your attention. You are torn. You know that important task has to be completed but your conscience is being pulled in two. Put simply… your work-life balance sucks.
It is an easy trap to fall into. We all take on those tasks that just aren’t a good use of our time. Sometimes it is because we believe that no one can quite do that job as well as we can. We may think it will take us longer to find someone to do the task than it will to actually do the task. It can be because we think it will be too expensive to outsource the tasks so we use our own valuable time instead. Whatever the reason may be, business owners, entrepreneurs and managers have all become time-poor. We sacrifice our own lives to try and achieve the impossible.
You can do anything, but not everything – David Allen
But what if there was another way? What if you could take some of those important tasks off your desk, get them completed and delivered on time with very little input yourself?
That exact scenario happened in the office last week. We have a regular client; for the purposes of this blog, let’s call him Mark. He came to us with a dilemma. He wanted to send out a corporate Christmas card to his clients. After a year of digital communication, he wanted to reach out with a real tangible item that said that he had appreciated their custom in a tough year and wished them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The only thing was, Mark had bought corporate cards last year and they were still sat in a box in his office. By the time he had gotten around to sorting them and getting them delivered by the printers he no longer had enough time to write them all and get them in the post. In the end, he had given up.
Time is what we want most, but use worst – William Penn
Over the last year, his company had undertaken a rebrand so the old cards were now just an expensive paperweight. He knew what he wanted to achieve but was so overwhelmed with the work he had on his desk he wasn’t sure he could cope with another unticked task on the Christmas to-do list.
Time for a solution?
How did we solve his woes I hear you cry? Well, here at Eighty3 we are all about coming up with creative solutions to our client’s challenges. We came up with a plan to get those cards out the door and a weight off Mark’s shoulders.
- We designed his corporate cards and print managed the job with our trusted printer. This meant that Mark never had to deal with the printer directly. He was just regularly updated by the team as to the status of his cards and when we expected delivery.
- Our development team helped him export his contacts from his CRM in a usable format. We created a mail merge, ready for getting those cards in the post when they arrived.
- Took delivery of the cards and handwrote each name, to give a personal touch.
- Delivery labels and postage were printed and applied.
- The cards were dropped at the post office with proof of postages obtained.
The whole process, including printing and postage, cost less that £150. This meant that Mark’s actually saved money based on the time he reclaimed and his hourly rate.
He was thrilled to get that frog eaten in double-quick time. It allowed him to concentrate on some key business tasks and gave him the clarity to get other business operations in motion. He wasn’t being distracted by yet another time-consuming task.
Branding is a massive part of of who we are. How you dress, the things you like, the way you present yourself, these all make up our own personal brand. As a business it becomes your logo, corporate colours, your website. In a digital age these are the things we use to tell the world about who we are. More and more relationships survive based upon our digital personas more so than our real life identities, so what is your brand saying about you?
You might love cool, crisp corporate design. The professional formality of a serif font, the icy blue tones we have all come to associate with high-end banking establishments, lawyers and accountants. Unfortunately, you have decided to run an artisan bakery... doh! The image you give off must be relevant to you market. Of course you want to stand out but you also have to make your customer feel comfortable, let them know that not only do you understand the market you are selling in but also that you understand their needs.
While it may say all the right things this cold corporate logo really doesn't hit the mark for the Knead It! audience. Cold, and corporate just doesn't fit this companies profile.
So you have agonised over your brand, you've tried every font the internet has to offer and every colour from puce to chartreuse. You now have a brand guidelines that is the size of a small encyclopedia (double sided)... but you don't bother to use it. If your audience never meets you in person, your brand is your handshake, your face, your signature, the one thing that makes you identifiable from the rest of the digital universe. Brand is king, and that great big world out there are your subjects.
Stand out from the crowd. Don't look at million other businesses/bloggers/products that exist in the same market as you and follow them. Take what is great and good about them and add some of yourself to that. Create a brand you are proud of and that will get you noticed. Talk to people and get their opinions on your ideas, might be that they see something different in there that you don't, or maybe just can add that little something that will really make it shine. But always be careful, things can sometimes be memorable for all the wrong reasons.
The Dirty Bird logo was memorable for all the wrong reasons - Kind of image to be associated with an eating establishment?
A-style logo - definitely showing some kind of style there. Intentional or in error? Discuss.
So you have this amazing new brand which everyone is gonna love. You're on to a winner. So you get your business cards printed, you build a website and you make some social channels, and the world comes running.... errr, nope! Get out there. Shout about your brand, interact, get your face noticed. You need to find people as much as they need to find you. Like, comment, share. Make yourself an integral part of the little corner of the digital universe that you want to master. Soon you will be recognised not just by what you do but also by who you are. If someone loves your blog post they will seek you out, they may spot your trusty logo in a forum, or your brand colours all over that facebook post. The more your brand is used to more confidence you instill in your following, and confidence builds trust.
So what if that one instagram post goes out without your logo carefully nestled in the corner, no one is gonna notice, right? I once worked for a company that created a viral game, it went crazy. Being shared all over facebook with thousands of people playing and sharing their scores, it was a massive success. The only problem was it had gone out into the world without any branding. Instead of receiving all this great free advertising and collecting up the wealth of likers and followers that the game attracted, they just had to sit back and watch it take flight. Watermarking, branding and placement are all tools in your arsenal to make sure that you get the full credit for that amazing stroke of internet wonderment.
So whether you are just starting out or your brand is centuries old, it is never to late to inject that fresh enthusiasm into the way you project yourself to the world. Start small and build up, Rome wasn't built in a day, but every step should aim to be a positive one.