Friday, December 30, 2016

Resolutions, Social Media and What Life is Really Like

Social media used by companies or individuals is full of our annual highlights.  These highlights are true and honest and something to celebrate and definitely the type of energy to put out in the world. It is never a representation of all that we are.  I am going to take a moment to do what most business owners don't do.  I am going to tell you the behind the scenes, the worries and the life that does not appear on social media.  I navigate these on a day to day basis fairly successfully but hey, they still exist and they are still a part of who I am.

1.  Deadlines, I mean DEADLINES. I don't remember the last time I had a day when there wasn't an emergency project that came in that rearranges everything on the priority list.  Honestly, this is something I love about my job; no day is the same.  And it is something I have to work on.  There are times when I am not enough and cannot work fast enough.  There are times when I cannot have the follow through in the time frame requested and I worry.  I think no one will be happy.  And there are definitely times when all of the arranging in the world does not make me a faster writer or capable of creating good work in the amount of time given.  I hate the feeling that I am failing someone's schedule even if all of the good communication in the world cannot buy me extra time in their world.

2.  My co-workers.  Have I talked with my coworkers enough, are they connected to our vision? Do they need anything?  Are they happy?  Have I asked them how their day is at some point this week. . .this month.  Have I looked up from my hurricane of busy to see how they are doing in the midst of their own hurricanes and am I giving them what they need to learn, grow and love their jobs?  These questions whirl about in my head.

3.  Will I fail. A few times a year when I am sure no one likes me, I will indeed fail and not be smart enough and I must sell any extra "stuff" I have at home to prepare for this impending doom.  It does not matter that the financials show we will be here next month or next year.  The facts don't matter. This is a feeling I get when I am personally feeling the push pull of wanting to improve as well as balancing my work.  It is fear based thinking and it has no place in my positive brain.  Sometimes it rears it's head anyway.

4.  How do I refuel myself.  How do I personally handle the life of stressful deadlines every day for people that I care about and not carry that stress with me everywhere I go?  I care about the outcome for them.  This ends up as things like:  Put down your phone Kori.  Seriously.  Just for an hour, put down your phone.  Exercise.  Laugh.  Be yourself at work.  Breathe.  Let go of all of the rest when you walk out of the building.  You see, as a business owner, you get calls at night.  You answer.  You think about the next best plan.  Your brain is always working on a project.  So, I work on giving my mind a break as best I can.

5.  The things I never get to.  Gosh - I should blog more often, I should tell people more about what we do, I should tell people that I can save them time and money and I know how.  I need more time. Why do I not have more time?  Refer to item number 1.  I have so many goals.

And then there is this life of appreciation I lead: for my coworkers, for our amazingly wonderful clients, for being a part of their businesses growing and sharing that success.

I don't make resolutions, I make plans.  I manage the fears above and keep moving in the direction that I believe creates a company of integrity, honesty and unmatchably (yes, I realize this is not a word) talented people.  We laugh and use humor to deflect the external pressure and encourage people to be themselves.  And I am honest that we will never reach our goals because the target will always move, will always improve, will always propel us into the next initiative.

A tough day does not mean a bad life.  A negative thought does not mean it needs to be shared.  It is important to still share the positive, but it is also ok to still be human.  Here is my wish for 2017 for you:  I wish that you encounter more good than bad.  I wish that we lift each other up whenever possible.  I wish that the positive vibrations we put into the world multiply (see the 2017 heuss printing calendar).  I wish you health to accomplish things that make you joyful.  I wish you perspective that your work matters.  I wish you a year of growth, development and happiness.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The 80 Year Marketing Donut

Yesterday I visited my grandmother.  She is 98 years old.  Whip smart and a true pleasure to converse with.  She is hard of hearing and I prefer it when she tells a story because it makes the conversation flow easier and is more relaxing for me.  Well, a gem of a story fell from her lips.  It is a piece of my family history.  It is a small piece of our United States history.  It is a marketing story.  It is a story of thankfulness.  I would like to share it with you.

Written in her voice as best as my memory serves me: (told sitting on her couch in her apartment)

The woman down the hall died about a month ago and her family has been moving her stuff out and cleaning ever since.  There must have been many things to go through.  She had nice things.  Her furniture was beautiful.  Her children called the Salvation Army to pick up her furniture.  Someone will find some really nice furniture.  I am glad the Salvation Army was the one who came.

When your grandfather landed on Normandy Beach on D-Day and spent the day fighting and climbing and burying his friends in a large trench by carrying the bodies across the beach (pause). . . that was a hard day. (pause)  He worked a very long day.  When he was finished, the Salvation Army was giving free donuts and coffee away.  The "unnamed service organization" was also there and they were charging for donuts.  I never give money to them.  

I like what the Salvation Army does.  I like the bell ringing they do.  I always donate to them and have since the war and put money in their kettles.  I am sure that furniture will find a good home.

Yes, this was a short story.  I sat in silence for a bit.  Running through my mind was the fact that my grandfather lived through a day where a free donut was the best thing that happened.  That was a terrible day for so many.  Also, that may have been the most expensive donut ever handed to a person based on the fact that it has generated over 80 years of annual giving.  As a company that sells give away items for many throughout the year, it is a reminder that the way an item is given is as important as the item sometimes.  The way we all present our brand matters.

My grandmother has each holiday season had a red flower with the Salvation Army on a ribbon attached to her purse.  I did not know that that small red flower reminded her of her husband, of my grandfather.  I did not know that it was because of a donut.  And it was because my grandfather on perhaps the worst day of his life, got to sit down for 10 minutes of peace and enjoy a treat instead of fighting for peace.

This thanksgiving, may you find peace.  May you revel in something small and may you appreciate in thankfulness the time you have to enjoy.  May we all remember those that suffer. And may we provide small acts of kindness for we never know how long or important the impact may be.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Holiday gift ideas

It seems early to play holiday music in stores.  Or to plan your dinner parties (is it ever too early to think about food).  But it is time to focus on this Fall in your business.

Whether employee or customer gifts or give away for Thanksgiving or Christmas or another holiday, it is the right time to order to take advantage of both price and shipping discounts.

Also, guaranteeing delivery on your time frame is our priority.  This means planning ahead.

From calendars to clothing, from unique gear to stand our surprises, it is the best time to brainstorm.  Email with your information on what you may be thinking and we can send you ideas to perfectly enhance your goals.  After all, YOU don't have to do all the work.  We are here to think and support you with new creative ideas.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sometimes simple is better

I often think about my messaging when producing an item.  Does it make sense right away?  Does what I say make the person who is reading it more interested? 

This weekend on the way to a fishing pond, I passed this sign.
I wasn't prepared for a marketing lesson in the middle of my day off so this photo was taken with a phone.  It says "SALE GUYS STUFF" with an arrow.  Yup, Guys Stuff.  What is guys stuff?  I am significantly intrigued.  My mind is wondering, will I find fishing lures, jock straps, engines, cars, moustache grooming devices? 

On the way to the Guy Stuff Sale, I passed a house.  There was a sign in front of the house, it said "Not Here".  I was on the right track.  The next house had a sign that said "HERE".  I was at the secret GUY STUFF SALE!!!!!!  Go me!

There was a mean dog.  I figured this is ok.  Because guys who sell guy stuff should have intimidating dogs.  The first thing my eye settled on was a table with china on it.  Well, gosh, my illusions were shattered.  There was an antique dresser, a german clock, some cool dental chairs and an engine!  Yes, the GUY STUFF

I left the small sale laughing.  While I did not find a much sought after item, I loved that the message on the simple signs sucked me in.  What a brilliant move for a truly terrible sale! 

Sure, the rest of us in business should follow up our message with an actual product, but once in a while in marketing, we can take a moment and appreciate the little things.  And really, our messaging choices are never a little thing.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Things that don't cost more that everyone should do

In printing and marketing, we see everything.  We see brochures, business cards, magnets and shirts every single day.  We bind, fold, package, ship and do our jobs.  Our favorite thing?  When someone asks us a question or lets us create or wants their marketing material to stand out!  We love to brainstorm and believe that the best ideas come from an ongoing discussion.  There are quite a few solutions we provide when someone asks us for input or fun ideas.  Some very cool, stand out items that we produce and use to communicate messaging are an investment and have an increased cost.  Often this comes with the quality of the materials chosen.  However, there are many many ways to create impact without increasing the cost of the material being produced.  Let's talk about some.

Folds - brochures, flyers, membership material, scorecards, any item that folds creates an opportunity.  Often, we are designing material to stand out in a specific way.  Creating a short fold, using a unique fold or thinking about folding in a non-traditional way can make a piece stand out without adding a cent to the production cost.

Messaging - What you say matters.  Our writing services or consulting on customer base and WHAT to say to them provides a valuable, outside perspective.  From teaching a pizza chain how to use facebook appropriately to creating stand out wording on a revised brochure to making business cards stand out because of a unique quote, the messaging on material needs to get a response from your customer. 

Size - Is something very small?  I sent someone my business card in an envelope just slightly larger than my card.  How fun is that?  Of course, I sent them a gift card as well.  When we print gift cards for people, we do envelopes to put them in.  Very few people actually mail those envelopes, but they really stand out!  A good way to think about size is to look at what is on your desk.  What is there?  What size is it?  In a stack of things or mail, what would stand out?  Should something be square?  Should it pop up when it is taken out of an envelope?  Size is a fun way to look at material differently.

Color - What color is your eye drawn too?  What is easy to read?  Difficult to read?  Yellow, red and reversed out text are difficult applications to read quickly.  There is a place for those colors in marketing material and they stand out.  They eye is drawn to red most readily, but reading red text is hard on eyes, especially aging eyes.  Thinking about color, revising a logo, designing material in an unexpected way are great ways that we help with legibility and getting a message across quickly.

Mail - Variable data can put personalized information on a mailing piece.  This increases readership of a piece by about 20%.  With customers who mail all over the country or internationally, we are often able to vary data based on their geographically relevant information.  Timing of a mailing can get a better response depending on the time of year or other items.  Mail promotional items in a box with a fun design on it.  Mail a paper plate inside a frisbee for a picnic invitation.  Mail a ball, yes a ball, not inserted into a box and allow your customers to play and have fun.

Each person we meet with is different and your customers have unique needs.  Sometimes a fun, creative discussion can provide fodder for your marketing plan and achieve goals while still keeping an eye on the bottom line.  Happy brainstorming!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Weddings and Everything Social

We love happy people!  Planning an event can be a tense time, especially a wedding where many family members are so excited.  This process can also be fun (and affordable)!  Let us help you create just the look for your entire event.  It's what we do.  And we love it!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Holy dance party batman!

Our work is full of a variety of deadlines and while no one ever dies, there are emergencies and things that need done very fast.  Those of us who work here love this stress, thrive on the tight turn-around times and on making our customers (you) happy.  This allows us to feel satisfied in our jobs and like we are helping the world be happier in a small sort of way. 

This means, we have attracted the best, most interesting, most creative co-workers ever.  In the midst of a disagreement, someone will ask for an arm-wrestling contest. Things like this happen.

In the past week, here are the moments that have filled our workplace with joy.
  • We had a bbq with cookies that tasted like red velvet cake
  • We did pushups mid day to see if we could all get to 20 pushups
  • We all worked together to load some donated heuss printing notepads into one of our favorite customer's cars
  • We called a dance off
Yes, we work.  We work very hard, very quickly and in a very focused way.  That creates the need to let off steam and every once in a while. We discover that what we appreciate most about our lives, our customers, our jobs, each other are sometimes the small things that get us through the big things.

Go forth and have a happy day today.  Thanks to those of you who call and fill our lives with awesomeness!!!