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Monthly Archives: July 2015

Branding with Color and Font

The worlds most valuable brands include Apple, Microsoft, Google, Coca Cola, and IBM.  These top five “Most Valuable Brands,”  according to Forbes Magazine Online, know more than just how to be savvy in the world of business, they know how to use simple things such as color and font choices to burn their iconic images into the consumer’s mind.

While developing a brand image takes many components including the promise to the consumer, logo, color and font, what stays in the mind of the typical consumer is what is etched in their mind in the form of font and color.  For example, we all know the swirl of the coca cola name and the bold red seen on every can.  We also know the bright golden yellow arches of the letter M as the McDonald’s brand.  So what do the colors and font that a business chooses say about their brand?  Let’s take a closer at which color and typeface styles come in to play with the world’s most powerful brands.

According to a recent study done by Visually, the color elements of the world’s top brands is broken down in this manner:

  • Blue 37% – Brands such as Facebook, Twitter, Lowes, Intel, Dell, Boeing and Hyundai use varying shades of blue to showcase their brand.
  • Red 27% – Brands such as Target, Coca Cola, ESPN use hues of red for their product/services.
  • Black 27% – Brands such as Verizon, Amazon, Disney, and Gillette use black and white to make a bold statement about their products.
  • Yellow 16% as seen in UPS and McDonald’s.
  • Orange, Grey, Silver and Green make up the remainder of the color hues used in top brands.  Each color says just a little something different about the personality of each brand whether it is innovative, new, perky, sleek or any number of other terms to define your business.

atil_img_colormeaningsThis graphic by Atilus shows some of the branding identities associated with each color and color combination.  The perception of a color varies in different cultures and societies, so this is something that must be kept in mind when deciding your brand’s color. Below, you’ll see a list of some common colors, along with their associated traits and meanings. (Atilus)



Font choices are usually designed to include several style variations. This can include styles like light, regular, bold, semi bold, ultra bold, and italic. Some fonts also include “Expert” versions, which are fonts that include fractions and mathematical symbols.

Just like colors, fonts provide readers or viewers with some sort of trait or idea attached to them.  According to Atilus some fonts mean sincerity (Times New Roman) or some can look childish (Comic Sans). Depending upon the type of service or product being sold will determine the type of font you may want to use.  For example a law firm may want an official font while a new tech company may want something that says innovative.

L3a8QObYGfyD77yg60T6Ujl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBVaiQDB_Rd1H6kmuBWtceBJSkillcrush has devised a graphic that helps show font style and the characteristics associated with it.  Their research has shown that the choice of typeface or font has a major role in the user’s experience.

Be sure to do your research before choosing a color or font for your new or re -designed website.

Rewards and Incentives in the Workplace

Employers are always looking for ways to retain employees that are motivated and and engaged.  After all, the most important asset to any company is its people.  With more than half of America’s companies using incentive programs it is no wonder that many companies are looking for new and creative ways to both recognize good work and reward it appropriately.

Incentives and rewards for stellar performances have benefits for both employer and employees.  When workers are recognized, their performance and productivity increases as well as morale is given a huge boost.  As a result of this employers experience greater efficiency and an increase in sales and productivity. Therefore, when rewards are given regularly for excellence the result is a win-win situation.  Let’s look at some ideas for rewarding and recognizing great work as well as incentives to encourage employee engagement.

  • Employee Recognition – Saying thank you in big and small ways can go a long way to making employees happy!  A small thank you note, an email to your team mentioning an employees excellence, a shout out to an employee during a staff meeting or even a posting on an employee board could be a nice way to recognize work that was above and beyond the norm.
  • Personal Touch – Having bosses higher up visit the office of the employee and give a warm and in-person “thank you”  shows that hard work has not gone unnoticed.  In addition to visits from higher management ,maybe a small gift or favorite bouquet could be given over a lunch on the boss!
  • Money Incentives – The bottom line is a huge incentive for many families that would love a hand written note but could really use a monetary reward for excellence instead.  These incentives include employee stock options, profit sharing plans, paid time off, bonuses and cash awards. Additional monetary incentives include annual or semi-annual bonuses, such as mid-year and end-of-year rewards.
  • Non Monetary Rewards could be in the form of perks such as health center memberships, flexible work hours or training opportunities.  The rewards and incentives are valuable to an employee because they allow workers to learn new skills and pursue advancement opportunities.
  • Special Events – Company outings that include family members could be a great incentive for many families who may not get an opportunity to go to a ball game or amusement park.  Employee appreciation weeks could give a great morale boost and show employees that you want to reward their hard work.

Looking for more creative ways to show your appreciation at work?

Forbes Low Cost Incentive Ideas for Employees

Exploring Employee Incentives


Retaining Great Employees

Creating a strong and vibrant work force that meshes with your company personality does not end once the hiring process has been completed.  If you went to great lengths to identify, interview and hire talented employees that are the “right fit”  for your business then you should make it a top priority  to practice good retention policies as well.   Let’s take a look at some methods to help your business keep your most valued employees.

  • Communication – During exit interviews, one of the biggest complaints from employees to human resources is usually a lack of good communication or problems that stem from a lack of communication.  Create an environment where employees feel like they can talk about issues either through regular staff meetings, open-door polices with management or via virtual meetings to hash out problems inherent in group projects.  Employees need to feel that they are being listened to and that their ideas matter.
  • Rewards and Perks – Depending upon the financial situation at your small business, try to offer some kind of monetary perk or reward whether it is stock options, merit raises, bonuses for a projects well done, or even gift cards.  This can be done publicly or privately to reward for positive results or a job well done.  A built in incentive system can keep employees going when things get tough or even boring at work.
  • Clear expectation and goals – Employees like to know what is expected of them and others with whom they work.  In addition, feeling connected to the organization’s goals is one way to keep employees mentally and emotionally tied to your company.
  • Employee education and advancement –

Time & Task Management with “IPA”

By Guest Blogger: Nancy Black, Owner of Organization Plus

One of the common things I find among many of my business clients is their constant challenge to get everything done. It can be stressful and it can make people feel overwhelmed at times. As a business owner, I can totally relate!

Many people feel like they can never get everything done or catch up. Their To Do lists rarely are 100% complete, they just keep getting longer and longer – a few things get checked off, but more and more things get added. Many suffer from what I call the “Terrible Toos” –  too much to do, too little time to do it in.

When I see this I recommend that people rethink their time and task management strategies and start thinking IPA: Identify – Prioritize – Action.

But before starting the IPA exercise you must have a clear understanding of the driving force behind doing what you do, and have the desire (if not an obsession!) to improve your time and task management skills.

Ask Yourself These Questions
Why do you want to save time (what will you do with it?).
Why do you want to be more effective (what will be the benefit?).
Why do you want to improve your productivity (how will this make you feel?).
What is your purpose behind it (why are each of these things important to you?).

Once you have the answers to these questions the next step is to formulate a plan to achieve the results you want. That’s where IPA comes in.

The first step is to IDENTIFY the many different tasks and to-do items you need to get accomplished. Think of this as a “brainstorming” session. Put everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, down on a blank piece of paper.

The next step is to PRIORITIZE the tasks you have identified in step #1. In addition to prioritizing, take a moment to look at your list and DELEGATE anything you can to someone else. This is very important. Successful time managers know how to delegate!

Frustration and stress often is a result of having too many “open items.” You can identify and prioritize all day long, but if you don’t take ACTION nothing much is ever accomplished (and things keep piling onto your list of things to do!).

Try my IPA time and task management system for five days. I think you’ll find it helps you get more done while simultaneously giving you a greater sense of accomplishment.

And then, maybe as a reward, take a day off from work as a “ME DAY” and do something just for yourself, something you’ve been putting off for too long!

About the author

Nancy Black, Owner of Organization Plus. Questions or comments?

E-mail her at or visit

Successful Email Marketing Campaigns

If your Inbox is anything like mine, learning that 144 Billion emails are sent globally everyday is not a shocker. The average business person receives over 100 emails to their work email daily. In fact, according to figures from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), email marketing has now overtaken direct mail in terms of volume.  Given this massive amount, how can companies craft email marketing campaigns that are successful and set themselves apart from the rest of the very crowded Inbox?  Let’s look at the ingredients of a great email marketing campaign.

  • Plan, Plan, Plan – Obviously some major forethought needs to go into each email marketing campaign.  Consider the following items before designing an email.  Who is your target audience? What are your objectives? What is your budget? How are you going to implement and track your campaign? Deciding the answers to these  questions will help you with the direction, content and tone of your email.
  • Perfect those Lists – The better quality your email lists are, the more likely your email will get delivered (and be read).  The use of “opted in” email lists and those who have previously agreed to receive emails is always best for marketing purposes.  Gather from sales reps, vendors, and clients who would be interested in the information you are willing to offer.  Consider also segmenting your email lists to develop specific offers for targeted audiences.  When possible make the greeting line personal for the recipient.
  • Catchy Headers – The first line of your email is the header.  This is your chance to catch the readers attention and make a positive impression.  If you lose them here they may not read the content or call to action.
  • Text Length and Content – Craft your message carefully including key words that keep the reader engaged.  Write your messages so they appeal to customer interests and hobbies. Ask your customers what they want to hear about: special offers, new services, etc. Keep your emails short and to the point.  A good “Rule of Thumb” is the more regularly you email the shorter the content should be.  For example, if you email a Tip of the Day – it should be extremely direct and to the point.
  • Images – Pictures and Logos should coordinate with your brand and the image you wan to portray.  Keep pictures custom and use them to enhance the email not just to fill space since images take longer to download and can take away from the message.
  • Give a Call-to-Action – This is the ultimate goal of your email marketing campaign.  Do you want to explain a new product or service?  Are you asking for input from customers?  Make “what you want the reader to do”  clear and easy to understand.
  • Measure Success – Measuring your email marketing efforts is key. In order to improve future email campaigns, it is important to know what works and what doesn’t work.  Find out which emails were opened and read via careful study of reports and email analysis.

Cause Marketing

Starting in the 1960’s with the dawn of the Jerry Lewis Telethon held every Labor Day weekend by businesses to raise funds for research for Muscular Dystrophy, businesses began to harness the power of promoting beneficial relationships between causes and businesses.  Since that time businesses have really flourished with the win-win solution of Cause-Related Marketing.  Take for example TOMS Shoes by Blake Mycoskie, where the  purchase of one pair of shoes means a pair of shoes is given to a person in need.  They also contribute to more than 70 countries for safe birth programs, clean water programs, and eye exams for people in need.  This partnership that involves hundreds of companies to help the poor around the globe has made this company synonymous with charitable giving and good business practices.  What is cause marketing, how can it be done and what are the benefits are the focus of this weeks blog.

What is cause marketing? – Cause marketing or cause-related marketing refers to a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. This dual benefit can lead to awareness about a cause as well as being a positive way of promoting a company’s brand.

Cause Marketing By-The-Numbers -Consumers and employees tend to favor and are drawn to companies that support a cause.

  • 90% of consumers would switch to a brand that supports a cause, when price and quality are equal.
  • 41% have bought a product because it was associated with a cause or issue.
    83% wish more of the products, services and retailers they use would support causes.
  • 85% have a more positive image of a product or company when it supports a cause they care about.
  • 79% of employees feel a stronger sense of loyalty to their employer at companies with cause marketing programs.
  • 69% of employees decide where to work based on a company’s support of a cause. (Source: Vernon Graphics and Promotions)

Common Types of Cause Marketing

  • Point-of-sale program- Consumers donate at a register to a cause such as through a coin canister or electronic donation.
  • Purchase-Triggered Donation – This type of donation occurs when a consumer buys a product or service. For example, over the holidays, the department store chain Macy’s traditionally donates a dollar to the Make-a-Wish Foundation for every letter to Santa dropped into its special store letterboxes.
  • Employee Action Program – In this type of program a company doesn’t just donate money but rather uses its workforce to be socially responsible.  For example a company may donate employees hours to volunteering at a cause sponsored by the company.
  • Licensing programs – Companies may decide to put a non-profit logo on their products to promote both the product and the cause simultaneously.
  • Social Media Programs – Companies may use Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms to assist local causes.