Name Awareness Is Serious Business

I’m so shiny and Red….pick me, pick me!!

Choose me please…don’t ask why!

Have you said this… “I/We need a pen” or “I/We need a mug” or how about “I/We need a notepad…maybe sticky notes”?   Now, you may very well like to have these for various reasons but there are so many questions to be answered before you invest in these promotional products….and how many!!

There are over 85,000 promotional products and all too often business executives are not working with a marketing consultant or promotions director when they are in the decision-making process.  No matter what your budget is, there are products that will represent your business more specifically, will have “hang around” time, and will successfully meet your branding goals…..and not just because it is the color of your logo.

Even if it is a tradeshow and you want to spend $.30/piece, a pen is NOT the only answer.   It could be if you are an accountant and you found a nice, smooth writing fine point or a real estate agent and it is a pen with several imprint areas or a corporate law attorney where many documents are signed.  Well you get the picture.  Questions to ask yourself:

  • Where are you giving these out
  • To  whom are you giving them
  • What value do you expect in return
  • Did you look at this promotion from a marketing perspective

In this economy, it is tempting to eliminate name awareness opportunities.  The dictionary says “…..tempt ~ draw into a foolish or wrong course of action“.   Well no one I know is foolish and positive that with the correct guidance would not make a wrong decision.  Consult with a marketing professional with promotions expertise so that you get the direction you need.  A recommendation would be cut-back but don’t cut-out either marketing, PR or promotions…..have to add Social Media as well.   By the way, I have a pen and a mug for retention and leave behind gifts…..very different than give-aways no matter what the event.

Competition sharpens our skills

Why hate me....I'm just being me!!

Competition is a good thing…right?

Motivates us to be the best we can be, helps to keep us up-to-date with what’s happening in our industry, teaches us to be more responsive to change, sharpens our skills, tests our values.

With all of these positive responses set forth above, why do many view the competitor as the “enemy”.  It takes far more energy to study and complain about what someone else is doing or not doing, rather than developing our own strengths, deepest values, passions, and commitments so that what we are competent at is NOT JUST A JOB.

Keep in mind…somewhere down the line, that competitor may be a potential client and no door should ever be closed.  Respect for the way a person does business should be across the board.  Author Dr. Henry Cloud, “Integrity”, encourages us to be aware of the “wake” we leave behind us as we go through life and interact both with our personal and business relationships.  Smooth or very little waves are good!!

Focusing in on your own worth and value to your client is a whole lot more beneficial to them than comments about what your competitor is or is not doing.  Approach all with respect and it will come back to you ten-fold.

“I have been up against tough competition all my life.  I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.” ~ Walt Disney

Marketing under the big tent: 5 things we can learn from the circus

Marketing under the big tent….

“… if the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying ‘Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday’, that’s advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.” If the town’s citizens go the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.



Strategize getting value in return.


Bring brand to the attention of potential and/or current customers


Keeps brand in the minds of customer which in turn stimulates demand


Helps public to understand company/product

What would you cut-out…..hopefully nothing!!

Branding Lessons Learned in Childhood

Count Artell, Aristocrat of Magic

Long before Branding was recognized as crucial to continued success, retention and referrals, my Dad, known as “Charlie” to all who knew him well, was practicing the best branding techniques and in turn I was learning.  He didn’t even realize he was teaching me.  Here is how Charlie and Count Artell, the magician, did it:

  • Basically believed everything and everyone was “all good”

Vaguely remember hearing him talking on phone with either agents or customers recommending his competition if he thought his act would not suit the audience as well. He never understood about nationalities either….if you asked him his background, he would say he was an American.

  • Reduce pricing, undersell, underquote a colleague

Also, overheard him many times being asked to “underquote” a colleague….he just would not do it.  Just wasn’t fair to him.

  • Code of Ethics

I am sure everyone knows the “Magician’s Code” and believe me, growing up we took it very seriously.  Kindof the right thing to do.  Growing up I traveled with my Dad to all the conventions and most of his shows.  He and I were buddies.  I learned early on in my youth that holding true to an ethical standard was truly rewarding.  Building TRUST resulted in respect…..and let me tell you Charlie was extremely respected.

  • Customer Service

No matter what….the show must go on.  Count Artell was always polite, upbeat, gave of himself and truly enjoyed pleasing all that came to see him.  Backstage we would only know that he had a cold, or his back was bothering him or we just came through a raging snowstorm….he never transferred his woes on anyone must less his customer.

  • Personal Image

As he got older, he started to get arthritis in his hands and couldn’t do card manipulation as well as he used to.  Instead of dwelling on the negative, he tailored his act with tricks that appealed to his audience just as well because his business (magic) was never about him but about his “customer” (audience).

Bottom Line: We are impacting our youth with everything we do and say.  They may seem as though they are engaged in listening to something else or not listening at all but the fact is they are better at multi-tasking than we ever were.  When I started my own business five years ago, I just knew what my standards would be as a business person but I recently realized, I learned everything from Charlie, Count Artell and my Dad.  In the end he got Alzheimer’s and didn’t even remember he was a magician but he knew me, “D”, and he provided me with  guidance, high standards, caring, accepting, right thing to do and marketing savvy that only a magician can.