Tuesday, July 30, 2013

To Thine Own Self Be True

I turn down work all the time.

Sound crazy? It’s not, and it shouldn’t be for you, either.

At Creative Source, we do certain things very well: Banners. Displays. Graphics.

We do them professionally, accurately and quickly. Clients looking for sign companies in Canton, Ohio and the surrounding region come to us for visual marketing solutions. These include shopping malls, banks, hospitals, schools, doctors, dentists, lawyers, manufacturers and more.

Dave Hess and I broke into the business two decades ago at Camelot Music, in the marketing and advertising department.  A big part of our job was to design and produce signs, displays and banners for more than 400 retail stores nationwide.

Along the way we learned that more than 90 percent of communication is non-verbal. What’s more, we humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. How many times have you heard people say, “I’ll believe it when I see it?” That’s not just a saying; it’s the truth.

We capitalize on that fact by producing great graphics for our clients.

So why do I turn down work? Because sometimes people ask me if we produce advertising campaigns. Or radio commercials. Or websites. And I tell them no.

Could we? Maybe. Probably. But that’s not who we are.

At Creative Source, we’ve found that the key to standout performance is to know what we do, and do it better than anyone else.

Banners. Displays. Graphics. We’re a one-stop shop for creative visual solutions.

Is your brand clearly defined? If not, identify the key products or services that propel your business forward, and focus on those.

We can’t be all things to all people. But if we’re the right things to the right people, we have a better chance of standing out and being a success.

MIKE BOYD is president of Creative Source. Clients looking for sign companies in Canton, Ohio
and the surrounding region come to Mike and his staff for creative marketing solutions.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

At Golf Outings, Low Scores Aren't the Only Way to Stand Out

I played in a golf outing recently, and was reminded that sometimes, in order to stand out, you have to fit in.

It was a beautiful day on a beautiful course that is the centerpiece of a prestigious country club. Teams representing businesses and organizations from Ohio and beyond assembled early in the morning to shake off the cobwebs, warm up, and embark on a day of fun, food, and fellowship.

My company sponsored a foursome, and it included colleagues from the sales training, web design, and public relations fields. Other foursomes included the usual list of suspects: bankers, attorneys, accountants, contractors, craftsmen, corporate executives, salespeople, union representatives and more.

Golf outings are held to raise money and awareness. You end up spending most of the day with your group, which makes it easy to miss the big picture. Because outings provide remarkable opportunities for networking, learning and listening.

How many times a year do you have the opportunity to cross paths with so many fellow professionals in such a relaxed, intimate setting? To be honest, golf was the last thing on my mind. I enjoy the game, but I’m no PGA pro. What interested me most was the opportunity to meet and converse with a diverse group of business professionals.

Those opportunities were seemingly few and far between: early in the morning as players arrived; during a lunch break on the turn; in the clubhouse for drinks after our round; and at the dinner that concluded the event. In truth, however, those moments provided me with the chance to interact with others and find out more about their businesses.

It’s not the time for blatant sales pitches. Networking never is. But it’s a great place to meet people, learn about them, and let them know you’re interested.

And that’s the key—showing interest in others. You can’t do that if you’re always off on your own, or hiding in the shadows somewhere, keeping to yourself.  Standout performance is about more than just showing up. It’s important to put yourself right in the middle of the crowd, where you can meet people and truly interact in a social setting.

I’ve written before about how I had to learn to get out into the community and spread the message about Creative Source and our brand. I had to get out of my comfort zone and literally learn to fit in with others.

Golf outings aren’t the only way to do that, but they’re definitely one of the best. If you’re trying to build your brand, look for ways to do it with more than just your work. Participate in community activities, events, and organizations. Look for opportunities to interact with people in the business community on a personal level. In addition to helping others through your participation, you’ll stand out in the minds of your business partners and prospects.

MIKE BOYD is president of Creative Source,
a marketing solutions company in Canton, Ohio. Click here to visit them online.