Friday, July 31, 2009

Social networking overload?

Where does one find all the time to tweet and keep up with friends on Facebook? This article from Mashable gives us some tips to sort it all out -- for your business and your social life.

Check out the article >

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

SP Design Selected for Burning Man Sticker

Meg Raymore's design was selected as one of the official Burning Man 2009 designs. Look for it on the playa!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

You, as a Brand: Branding Yourself for Small Business Success

From SmallPond Studio

By Meg Raymore, SmallPond Studio

Recently, a client asked me, “I’ve heard the best thing a small business can do during a recession is strengthen their brand. Does this mean I should send a postcard to everyone in Tahoe? What if I don’t have the money for a big marketing campaign like that right now?”

His question got me thinking, how can small business owners build their brand with little to no extra money in the marketing budget? And the answer struck me – “Start building your personal brand.”

Like branding, which is not about short-term marketing and advertising efforts, personal branding is not simply about self-promotion. Personal branding is the basis upon which you build your self-promotion, identity, and marketing program. It is about understanding and projecting your core values, and by doing so, building trust and loyalty. Take email for example. Anyone can send you an email, but how do you decide which ones to open and read and which ones to delete? The answer: personal branding. You will open and respond to messages from people you trust – people you know offer a promise of value.

Why is a personal brand important to a small business owner? In addition to creating trust and loyalty, a strong personal brand will help clearly differentiate you from your competitors in the minds of your potential clients. It’s not enough to be known for what you do – you must be known for what you do differently.

So how do you develop your personal brand? Just as you would a corporate brand.

First, develop your brand. This is the soul-searching step in which you ask yourself the hard questions, such as “What are my values? What am I most proud of? What do I want to be known for? Why do I do the work that I do?” By answering these questions it will become clear to yourself and others who you are and what you stand for.

Next, package your brand. It’s no secret that companies spend millions on their product packaging because people make decisions based on appearance and perception; thus, it makes sense that you invest in your own identity package. As a small business owner, you should already have the obvious items, like a logo and a business card, but also take time to evaluate tangible things like your office space (does it reflect who you are?) and your website (does it tell your story?). This also includes intangible items like how you answer the phone, how you respond to emails, and even your personal style.

Finally, communicate your brand. Now that you’ve developed your personal brand, get out there and convey it to the world. The key to marketing yourself is through “word-of-mouth” promotion, and every personal interaction you have is a chance to brand yourself. Position yourself as an expert in your field. Give presentations, write articles, lead discussions about your industry. Meet people, go to mixers, volunteer in the community. All of these interactions will build trust in you as a person, which will go far in building trust in your company and the services or goods you offer.

In the words of Dale Carnegie, “There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.” You are a brand. Put “You” to work for your business success.

SmallPond Studio can help you build a strong corporate brand. E-mail us at or call 530-587-5625. View our online identity portfolio.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Facebook: "Virtual parlor for the middle-aged"?

A recent San Francisco Chronicle articles tells us what we likely already knew by looking at our friends list: People 35 to 54 are now the biggest age group on the Web site.

Check out the story for yourself.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Email Marketing: Quality vs. Quantity

Many of our clients are often looking to grow their email lists to astronomical numbers as quickly as possible. This goal is completely understandable, especially considering how inexpensive email marketing can be; however, we would argue that the quality of your list is far more important than the quantity of people on it.

A recent article on Chief Marketer argues that when you grow your list too quickly or email too frequently, "You can lose customers, prospects, credibility, not to mention that you can easily get blacklisted by major ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and corporate networks."

Check out more of the article.