Creative Services – Why It’s Not Just About The Design

helvetica It’s easy to fall into a creative services trap when thinking about your company’s brand identity, website, and marketing collateral. Royal blue or Cyan? Helvetica or Serif? Guess what - It’s not all about the design! If your branding wins design awards but doesn’t tell your story or affect your bottom line, it isn’t doing its job.

Branding is about strategy and gives valuable insight into what makes your company unique and the values that lie at its core. It’s about identifying your market and speaking directly to them. Who are they? What are they looking for, and how can you help them? Your branding has a job to do and it isn’t just to look pretty.

Let’s talk about your website for example. Think of your website as a 24/7 sales girl. It’s our job to tell her what to wear, what to say and who to talk to. Putting her in a blue dress doesn’t matter unless it actually matters to your market. Now, I’m not suggesting that design means nothing (I am in creative services after all), I’m simply saying that spending 12 months perfecting the minute details of your website means 12 months that your sales girl is sitting on the sidelines.

A live website that’s 80% perfect is working 100% harder than a website that isn’t live at all.

 So how do ensure that your branding is doing its job? Start by asking a couple of questions:

  1. Who is my target market specifically? What problems are they facing? What are they afraid of? What gives them comfort or makes their life easier? Are they men, women? How old? What do they believe in? You can’t possibly know how to talk to and appeal to them if you don’t know who they are.
  1. What is true about me/my company? You’ve learned a thing or two over the years – what is unique about what you do or how you do it? What lies at the center of your business? It doesn’t matter who your audience is if you don’t know what you have to offer them.

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 2.32.29 PM

Branding strategy is built by understanding where you and your market intersect.  You make money by expressing where you create value, to an audience who value it.

It becomes really easy to answer questions like: “Royal blue or Cyan?” and “Helvetica or Serif?” when you know what you are aiming at, what your market wants and what you’re offering.

Look for my next blog “The 10 Things Every Website Needs to Have” to learn more about how to make your marketing and branding work harder for your company.

The 4 Intellectual Capital Graphics You Need Today

So, why graphics? When it comes to turning your intellectual property into more powerful intellectual capital - graphics rule. And in a world where most communication is growing increasingly truncated into sound-bites, we’ve found that graphics help the brain connect ideas faster. Graphics enable information to unfold in a format that provides simultaneous ingesting of information – from your firm’s quality to the content of your message to a hint at your ideal audience – all of that can be related to your audience in a graphic even before the first word is read. It’s really pretty impressive when you think of it that way. What I’ve experienced is that when graphics are thoughtfully constructed they can fast-track insight on a multi-tiered level all happening in the blink of an eye.

So which graphics to start with?  Here are the four essential intellectual capital graphics you need and why:

1. A “What You Believe” Graphic - Nail your world view and share the essence of your philosophy.

2. A “How You Transform Others” Graphic: Help explain STATE A (where people are when they meet with you) and then STATE B (how they are better off because of your solutions)

transformation graphic


3. A “Your Market Position” Graphic:  Explain where you are positioned against others. David versus Goliath is a good, classic structure, as is the "Third Space" idea that Steve Jobs positioned when he showcased the iPad. Consider that contrasts are good for your clients.


4. A “How You Deliver” Graphic:  Outline is a step by step fashion how you run the process of working with others. A narrative graphic here that walks clients through the steps of working with you alleviates confusion and informs your WHAT with WHY!

this is a classic "worldview" graphic with a process around it

Who you are and what you believe drives the way you create value. Graphics show it and allow others the chance to really peer beyond your product into the experience you create and the value that lives within your practice.

the wisdom Harvest

What to know how?  Start with your wisdom by downloading this free tool to help you define your wisdom and how it serves others: