Ed: I’ll start out a little bit about branding because right now it seems like that’s a big thing that everybody is interested in. They want to be branded. They want to have a brand. But it’s one of those catch phrases that people don’t really understand and things get confused. So to help you guys, I thought I would give you a quick little understanding of brand versus identity. So there are two different things that are in force here helping people learn their business.
So the first one we’re going to talk about is branding, and branding is the art of differentiating you from your competition. What makes you, you? Who are you? What do you do? How do you do it that’s different? All of that is derived from your goals, your mission statement. It’s sort of a rallying cry for the company. Everybody can get behind it and be like, “Yes. We get it.”
It’s the same messaging from top to bottom so that the person at the top of the chain – the president, the CEO, CFO – is saying exactly the same things in the exact same way that somebody that’s in the mail room or a temporary person would say. So sort of this big idea, overarching concept. So, a simple way of looking at it is it’s you. What do you do? How is your company different? What makes you unique?
Recently, Meg Whitman, who you all remember ran for Governor of California for a while said, “When you people use your brand as a verb it’s remarkable.” We don’t say, “Do an Internet search.” We say, “Google it.” We don’t say, “Do you want coffee?” “Do you want Starbucks?” “Do you want to XYZ?” It’s not “tissues”. It’s “Kleenex”. Right? So we think “diet sodas”, “Coke”. We never really use the different names. Now, can we do that for your company? Maybe.
So, identity then becomes the manifestation of that idea. So we will sit down and talk to you about your business and your company. We’ll ask you a bunch of questions. “Who is your market audience? How are you going to get to them? What are you going to do with it?” Then we will help you with all of this stuff. So from those conversations we can do a business card. We can help you do a logo, a tear sheet. We can help you get a good foundation of color and design for your website that we can have Shawn do. We can patch things off to Sheila for printing. We can do all kinds of things from that identity. But we have to start from there.
Now, I did have a client recently that approached me and said, “We want you to design a brand identity for us. So here. Go. Come back to us with ideas.” I said, “Well, what is your company brand? Tell me a little bit about your company,” and they said, “We’ll decide that when you make the logo.” That’s not how it works, and I couldn’t get it through their heads…
Business Growth Innovators Member: Who am I, Ed? Who am I? Can you help me out?
Ed: That’s what I was like, “Do you want me to make a banana company?
Because I could make you whatever you want. I’ll design it for you.” But it was an interesting conversation. That’s sort of what led me to this today was people really don’t understand, and what they really wanted was to have me design business cards for them that would be based on their identity. So, we’ll talk a little bit about logos and things, which is what feeds into it.
The logo is the visual identifier. So, for example, Val has the little car with the guy. Eric has the spy for CIA. There’s a little identifying mark that people can put with your company and your business immediately so it recognizes it. It’d be like we did a cartoon character for Terry. It would be perfect because people would think of Terry. The idea of the logo is to speak for you in your voice immediately and be recognizable. Okay?
So what can we do for you? How do we help you? All right. So we can do something like create a new logo identity system for you. So we took some of these companies and we helped them develop a whole brand new idea. As you see, we can also help you refresh your brand identity as we did for Lucky Cleaners. Or we can help you develop an all new one, as we did for Krista.
The Rio Nido Lodge is a really interesting one. It was, this summer I had gone away for a while. This is the power of just talking about your businesses and getting things out there, and just making connections. Long story short, we got up to Northern California and there was no room at the hotel. It literally had burned down and they forgot to call us, even though we confirmed the reservation.
So, imagine six of us all panicking like, “Where are we going to stay?” and we found this little hotel called Rio Nido, and the couple had just opened it like a week before. In talking to them they were looking for a graphic designer. They helped us out, so I’d been working with them to develop an entire new brand identity for this small, little company up in Northern California. So, it’s been a fun experience, and we talked a lot about how to develop their brands and how to get to it.
We also can work well within guidelines. So we’ve done things with other clients where we work within their branding identity using all of their stuff. This one was really fun because it had to get passed through Natural Balance for branding and design. But then Petco had to approve it because it was Petco branded. So it became an interesting challenge of back and forth 20 masters.
These are some things that I’ve done for local businesses that can help them promote and move their businesses forward. We can take complex information and we can distill it down into a visual form that can help people readily understand what they need to do, how they need to do it, and where they need to go. We can help create informational graphics that can assist people in picking classes, career paths, or other things like this.
We also have a really strong understanding of type.
Type is one of my favorite things. I love type, probably the second thing to drawing. So we can play around to help you figure out what might be best, how to promote your business in a really interesting and unique way. We can set it beautifully for you. We can make it look elegant, really set you out from the crowd.
This seems to be a big trend right now. There are lot of infographics. So if your company needs some sort of visual aid to help you move your company forward and get those informations out…
Like Crystal would be a good example, where with so much information on healthcare, it’s a hard thing for people to understand, and visual information is sometimes easier for us to intake.
We can also design characters for you for an icon or a logo, or some sort of branded animation. Right now we’re doing a lot of consultation with people doing whiteboard animations and informational animations. We can create full-blown, full-character animation. This was from a personal piece that I’ve been working on for, God, years, and this was from a piece that we’ve recently done for a financial client, doing some informational animation about how crowd funding in real estate works.
So, that’s everything that we can do for you. That’s how we can help you make your business better. We can take you from here and move you over there, and hopefully get you noticed by more people than you did yesterday. Or get you re-noticed by some of those clients you haven’t heard from in a while. So, any questions? Yes, sir?
Business Growth Innovators Member: So what’s your process? Do you have physical meetings with people?
Ed: Yeah, big question. So what will happen is if I get a phone call, I’ll usually like to schedule a meeting to come down and at least see the place. Especially for a brand identity, it’s one of those things like I want to see your facility, what you’re doing, what the work environment is like because that gives me a sense of how to start finding things. What’s going to influence it? How do we want to bring things in?
For example, when I went to see Val, her company is so customer service-friendly and oriented, and I’m like, “I’ve got to make sure that that gets into whatever we do.” Then, so we keep building on that. I’ll ask questions like, “Who’s your client base? How often do they come?” Just kind of questions to help me figure out what color pallets, what type, what inspiration that we can bring in to kind of help get your message out. Does that make sense? Did it…
Business Growth Innovators Member: Yeah.
Business Growth Innovators Member: That’s good. Then, how can we best tip you what kind of person or where do they need to be?
Ed: That’s a good question. Yeah. That’s always a tough one because, again, I think with part of what I do and probably with something like what Shawn does is there are these broad concepts. I need a brand identity. I need graphic design. I need this. Or I need a website, and people aren’t really clear on everything that goes into that. So I’ll sit down and kind of talk to them one-to-one and say, “Do you really want this or do you want that? Or do you think you need this? But let me help you with that.”
So if there’s anybody that’s looking and struggling, as far as with their marketing and thinking, “How can we get more clients or how can we get things going?” those are always good people to tip. People that have been around for a while in business that are struggling with – businesses slow down a little. As we all know, competition is literally opening up next door to us all the time. So those are also good people.
Or I know my favorite ones lately we’ve been doing some marketing for our businesses. So I’ve noticed that there are a lot of new businesses every week that open in Orange County. So we’ve come up with a price package that says, “For this amount of dollars, we can give you a logo and business cards, and a letterhead and stationary,” enough stuff to get you started in the first six months of business that can help you get going.
Because I think there are a lot of businesses that start out on the wrong foot because they don’t really have their branding done. They don’t have any sort of way to differentiate themselves. They think if they just open their storefront the people will come, and that doesn’t always work. So did that answer your question? Okay. Yes?
Business Growth Innovators Member: Sometimes in that conversation there’s a trigger word that makes you think, “Okay. Yeah. This is really a scratchy call. Oh, let me fix that. I can get you a better dial tone or something.” What kind of trigger words can you share with us to say, “Be the marketing person. Make me think about your product and how I can introduce you because they said something that made me think about you.”
Ed: So you mean from my end? So what are the trigger words that I’m talking about?
Business Growth Innovators Member: Yeah.
Business Growth Innovators Member: I’m in a conversation with Don here, and he suddenly says a word or two words that say, “Oh, well what you need is…”
Business Growth Innovators Member: Okay?
Ed: So I think where you’re going with that is one of the things – and I struggle with this a lot sometimes too, I still struggle even though I’m working on it and I know I need to – is to really listen to what people are saying. I’ve discovered, I think that’s where teaching comes in really well for me is because I’ve learned how to massage multiple different personalities at one time and really saying, “Okay, they’re asking this. But really it sounds like they really want this, and let me just start asking questions and probing.”
And sort of looking at it as an education moment and saying, “You’ve said this term. But I think you want this.” [inaudible 00:11:09] try to listen to me and put them in their place and think, “What is that person asking me that they might want? If I was in their position what would I be asking?” and try and get it out of them. It’s a little bit of psychology sometimes.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Yeah, that was my question all right. What’s the answer?
Ed: I think it depends on the person too, and different things will trigger different… Like if I was talking to Shawn it would be different triggers – or Sheila – than if I was talking to anybody else because they have some base… There’s a platform for a conversation because we have the same vocabulary.
Business Growth Innovators Member: I think he’s looking for something very specific, and maybe he doesn’t want to waste your time. Like if somebody says, “Oh, I need a business card,” that’s a good entree…
Business Growth Innovators Member: …for you to get started, and then that can begin the conversation of, “What you’re really asking me for is branding because I see that you need…”
Business Growth Innovators Member: “…a logo, envelopes…
Business Growth Innovators Member: “…letterhead, a brochure.”
Ed: Got you, yeah. So, usually with those conversations it’ll start… Like I’ll get a phone call… Like a couple years ago I had a client and we talked about branding, and he had all the same vocabulary. He had been in marketing and advertising, and so I wrote a proposal based on creating a whole new brand identity for him. In talking to him, I forget what the keyword was. But I suddenly realized, “He just wants his business card –
not redesigned, he just wants it copied and pasted into a new document and sent off to a printer.” So that, it’s just really listening to the conversation and trying to figure out…
I also – I mean, let’s all face it. We’re all entrepreneurs. We’re all trying to build our businesses. always, someone
trying to listen for opportunities to build even more business. So saying, “Yes, you want a business card. But if we’re going to do this, how about we take this and we put it on your website. Or let’s make you a new sales tear sheet or something like that.” So I think that also helps develop the expansion of the conversation by saying, “I think you might need this in addition to this,” or, “Let me help you with that to help you grow your business.” Or, “Hey, I know somebody that can do that for you.”
Business Growth Innovators Member: You said “whiteboarding”. Is that digital whiteboarding?
Ed: Yeah. There’s this huge trend right now where there’s animation where a hand moves across a board, like a regular whiteboard or a dry-erase board, and animation happens behind it. It goes from very simple pedestrian-like lettering to very elaborate. This kind of gets to Dennis’ question is, so we went to be with this client in Irvine, and they said, “We want this whiteboard animation. But we want it to speak for our company,” all the things that I talked about.
I said, “Well, that’s not going to do it because everybody and their brother has a let’s-design-you, unique characters. Let’s do almost a commercial-style video,” and the two front pictures at the end was what we came from. So we do kind of listen for things that say, “This is what you think you need because it’s the hot thing. But let’s make it unique and different and do it at an affordable price.”