Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Howl-o-ween!

We love Halloween at Kalico. Growing up, my family used to decorate our house as a haunted house and it was "the place" to go on October 31, the scariest one of them all! I also remember years and years of homemade costumes for me and my sister (my mom was always very creative and crafty!) Halloween was always a fun and creative holiday in our household, one that the whole family got into.

So, I love to see creative advertisers get into the Halloween spirit too. Here's a few print ads I found particularly inventive and fun:

San Francisco Zoo's "Boo in the Zoo"

These ads really caught my attention, and even after looking at them several times, they still make me smile! So simple, yet so effective!

Guinness Halloween Ads (Various)
Again, these ads definitely catch my attention and make me do a second look. The one on the far left, I had to look at twice before I got the full brilliance of it!

Various Advertisers (Pizza Hut, Heineken, M&Ms)
I think these all speak for themselves! Creative, catchy, and smart!

I hope these ads help get you in the Halloween spirit, and hopefully help to get your creative juices going as well. I wish everyone a safe and SPOOKY Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Super, Simple 3-Step Marketing Plan

Yesterday during my weekly BNI networking meeting, my very wise friend and fellow chapter member, Whitney Hahn (certified guerilla marketing coach and co-owner of Digital Bard Video. Web. Marketing.) presented us with a super easy, 3-step procedure, to get started on our 2012 marketing plan. And… here is is:

Step 1: Write down the marketing actions you want to take. Keep it very simple, just action-based, such as "Write Blog Post" or "Advertise in Local Newspaper". Whitney suggests writing each action down on a small piece of paper, like a Post-It note.

Step 2: Divide a large sheet of paper (or white board) up into 5 sections: daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly. Then, take the actions you created in step one, and assign them to one of these sections. For instance, for Kalico, I would take my "Write Blog Post" post-it, and stick it in the "weekly" section of my white board. Do this for all your actions (keep in mind, it should be easy to rearrange things as needed, we are working with post-it notes, here, people. they're sticky, that's what they do.)

Step 3: Once you're happy with your actions and timeline, be sure to add them to your regular appointment calendar, be it an online calendar, your blackberry, your planner, etc. Basically, wherever you keep track of your appointments, meetings, and events, you also need to include the actions indicated above. It's like you're making an appointment with yourself and your business, be sure you schedule the time here (I'll admit, this is where I fall short!).

And, there you have it. The start to a super, simple, low-tech, but ever-so-effective marketing plan. And remember, marketing plans may need to evolve and change over the course of time, and that's ok (in fact, it's typical!). But, at least you'll have a starting point to work from, with goals and a timeline you set yourself. I hope this helps! How do you come up with your marketing plan?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

HOLY COW! We're in GD:USA!

OK, so we are still totally stoked to be a part of Graphic Design USA magazine's November feature "A Culture of Green," which highlights 12 eco-conscious design studios around the country. And holy cow, Kalico is among them!

When we were first approached by GD:USA for this story, I'll be honest, I was a bit apprehensive. How would I "stack up" against some of the larger, more well-known sustainable design firms? I mean, I definitely try to conduct my business with an eco-conscious mind, but my business is small, so everything I do is on a small scale, right? And then I got over myself and realized it's not a competition about who is "greener". The important thing is that we all do what we can to be eco- and socially-conscious, both on a business and personal level. As noted in the "Culture of Green" article, I approach sustainability as a process, for myself and my clients, and I'm constantly striving to learn and improve along the way.

Here's a list of easy suggestions and steps Kalico takes to help cultivate our green thumb:
  1. Send project estimates, comps and revisions digitally to reduce the amount of paper consumption
  2. Use scrap paper and/or print double-sided when we need to print
  3. Purchase recycled office supplies, such as file folders, envelopes, and paper (Staples has a great, fairly cost-effective line)
  4. Use natural light whenever possible (we currently work in a room with a lot of natural sunlight, rarely having to turn on the lights during normal business hours)
  5. Conduct a majority of meetings via phone or email to cut down on transportation for us and our clients
  6. Use FSC-certified printers, soy-based inks, and recycled paper for client jobs whenever possible
  7. Have an in-office recycling bin for all paper products
  8. Only use digital photography and request digital proofs when possible 
  9. Eliminate plastic water bottles, using refillable canteens or glasses instead
  10. Be conscious of the end effect of there a better approach?
  11. Furnish with recycled or pre-used office furniture where applicable (which often translates to "on the cheap" as well!)
  12. Use a green web host 
Do you have some additional suggestions or practices you do in your business? I'd love to hear some additional suggestions! 

PS-Let me know what you think of the GD:USA article! I can't wait to see the printed version—if anyone has an extra copy or two, please let me know!! 

PPS- I LOVE that Graphic Design USA choose to use the picture of me with my dog Kai! (He's smiling in this photo too!) Special thanks to Mary Kate McKenna Photography for this headshot photo and to Aaron Haslinger Photography for the work photo!

Monday, October 3, 2011

All You Need is Love

Last week I participated in International Freelancers Day, an online conference exclusively for solo professionals. It was great—lots of wonderful speakers, great topics, and best of all, it was FREE! Since I gained so much insight and information, I am going to dedicate the next few blog posts as recaps of some of my favorite sessions, I shall call it "All the Cool Stuff I Heard on Friday".

First up is a recap of Peleg Top's session entitled "All You Need Is Love—Growing Your Business From the Inside Out". Peleg focused how to run your business with love versus with fear; how to take your passion and build your business around it.
Fear = anxious, saying yes to things you shouldn't, always being in reactive mode, working with the fear of always wanting to please your client

Love = energetic, being in creation mode, creativity, working with the desire to serve your client
How does LOVE show in your marketing?
Well, Fear shows in marketing when you try doing the same thing everyone else does, and when you feel the need to always grab your client (or potential client's) attention. Don't get me wrong, getting a potential client's attention is not necessarily a bad thing! But, when you feel the need to constantly inundate them with ways to show how good you are, you may come off a little desperate, and the "fear" definitely begins to show. Conversely,  Love means connecting with your client, serving your client, creating a value to your client so they can see the passion behind your work. This makes your client want to work with you, and enjoy working with you!

Ready. Aim. Fire.
So, how can you get your passion to show more in your work? Peleg suggests the "Ready. Aim. Fire." method:

Ready: Take an audit of your current business. How much passion is in your current work? Are you proud of it? Do you want to share it with other? Did you enjoy working on it? Is there something specific you'd rather be doing with your work? Where is your passion, if it's not in your current work?

Aim: Create a positioning around your passion. Focus on a specific kind of client you want to work with or a specific kind of work you want to do. Declare this first to yourself (this may actually be the hardest step), and then to the world. Be specific about who you are as a business, what you do exactly, and why.

Fire. Now that you know where you business passion lies, start marketing to those who share you passion. Research who they are, where they can be found, etc. Chances are, if you both enjoy the same passion, you may already know who your next potential client should (and could) be.

"Passion is the Fuel for Creativity" Is there passion in your work?

Thanks again to Peleg Top for his wonderful webinar. We'll be continuing our recap of International Freelancers Day in blog posts to follow, with topics ranging from Effective Self Promotions, Hiring Your First Employee and Smart Risk Taking.