24 May 2009

My Famous Business Card

Chances are, that if you've met me in person, you have one of my famous business cards already.

OK, maybe famous is stretching it, but they are certainly unique and on their way to being semi-famous or quasi-famous... if even on a very minor scale.

In April of this year, Francomedia won the Platinum Hermes Creative Award for the design and concept for these very creative business cards and ever since, we have been getting more notice and plenty of buzz about our cards.

The cards themselves are pretty clean and simple, save but a few creative features to each card that speaks to each employees individuality/ specialty. What really makes them remarkable is the complex process to create them - it's the final result and effect that makes them truly sui generis.

Earlier this week, our cards were featured on Card Observer, a site dedicated to creative and unique business cards. Shortly after our posting on that site, we received word that a blogger named Yanda out of Singapore wanted to cover the cards and feature them on their site as well.

It didn't take long for other web sites to pick up the information and start sharing the news about our cards. At time of this writing, we have found a few different sites that are showing our cards: Such as this one and this one and this one and this one and this one and this one and this one and this one.

Needless to say, this has increased traffic to the Francomedia web site in a huge way.

When I look at the cost to produce our cards, compared to other business cards, some would say I was crazy for doing it, as each card comes close to $5. However, if you look at the fact that these cards have resulted in getting my company international attention online and local press in two magazine articles, I would have to say that it was well worth the expense.

Everyone I hand these cards out to, comments on them and reacts positively. Well, except for one lady who asked about their longevity in a landfill to which I replied, "You're not supposed to throw them out!"

I guess no matter what you do, there will always be one person with a different, albeit skewed, perspective. I assure you, the cards are recyclable, so if you do feel you must dispose of the most creative card you've ever gotten, don't irresponsibly throw it into the garbage, I urge you to recycle it or re-use it.

In marketing, in business, in advertising, ...hell, in anything - doing something truly unique and creative will get you noticed... and that's what it's all about, right?

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16 May 2009

The Time it Takes

Doing a good job takes time - doing a lousy job takes no time at all.

It's easy to go through the motions but that's not what I'm about. I'm a marketer and slapping things together doesn't help anybody. Things need to be thought through, in concept, in planning, in design and in execution.

I recently heard Roger Grant from Identicor speak on the subject of branding and naming (he is one of the only professional name generators in the country) and he said, "have a look through a trade magazine at all the ads... it's more about fitting in than standing out." I thought this was brilliant. It really sums up what we're about, standing out.

Life isn't middle school and your brand isn't trying to fit in - you need to get noticed and you want to be talked about. Hell, using that analogy, a brand with pimples might make you a household name.

Being different, or remarkable is what any good marketer does - we help you stand out.

If you really want marketing that helps your brand stand out and generates engagement then you have to understand that it takes time + planning + experience. I am always willing to spend the time needed to ensure that the right ideas are put forward, and sometimes even invest time and money into projects that I am passionate about.

If you want band-aid solutions and knee-jerk reactionary planning, I'm not your guy. I don't settle for mediocrity and I won't dedicate time to something I don't believe in.

Great brands and good marketing don't just happen and they're not born of a single event, but rather through planning, thought and design.

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03 May 2009

Presentation Synergy

I made a 45 minute presentation to about 50 business people. The group was called the Synergy Network, made up of successful entrepreneur types from all fields.

Now, I'm not one of those people that is afraid of speaking in public. As long as I am prepared and have written the material, I can get up in front of anyone or any crowd of any size. Come to think of it, I think that may just be the key to making a great presentation. Writing about something you are passionate about and rehearsing it again and again (and again) that is.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves here... I'm not saying that I made a great presentation, it was good, but it wasn't great. And there are a few reasons why. For starters, it was my first real public presentation, going into a room as a guest speaker where my presence was advertised. No pressure, I'm a professional, right? Another reason was that I was just too busy leading up to my presentation and despite keeping a clear schedule, I could not escape the usual interruptions of running a small business.

So, let's just say if I were to make the same presentation this week, I would look a bit more comfortable and wouldn't have rushed through a couple of important parts. Remember, all parts in a presentation are important, otherwise they shouldn't be included.

My presentation was about how I started Francomedia and how I became the Idea Hooker... a story which did garner a few chuckles from the audience (it was meant to). I then spoke about identifying your brand motto and gave two real world examples of how Francomedia exceeded their clients expectations through immersive marketing. The two examples I showed were the Alternate Reality Game or ARG we developed for The Node Gaming Centre called 'Experience the Node' and the unique packaging experience we designed for VoodooPC which we called the 'Out of Box Experience'.

When it was all said and done, I was happy with the outcome. I got to meet some interesting people and hope to do some business with some of the contacts soon.

It didn't hurt that I had the whole team of Francomedia behind me in putting some kick ass graphics up on the screen and helping me fine tune the speech... Thanks guys, you always make me look good.

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