Twitter Link Roundup #302 – Terrific Reads for Small Business, Entrepreneurs, Marketers, and Designers! Amanda Bowman | July 21st, 2017

Einstein. Leonardo. Curie. The earth is occasionally graced with a mind so brilliant, all the rest of us can do is appreciate their unparalleled gifts to the world. Science offers us clues as to how a genius is born, but the truth is, we still don’t completely understand how those extraordinary brains were created. National Geographic explores how those trailblazers came to be in a fascinating look into the brightest minds the world has ever known. One promising bit for the less fantastically gifted among us: it’s not just what you’re born with – it’s how you nurture your talents, too. So break out that guitar, crack open your book of advanced differential equations, start practicing making a souffle, and bring out the genius inside you.

Now, we hope you enjoy another great set of links and articles that we shared with you over the past week on our crowdSPRING Twitter account (and on Ross’s Twitter account). We regularly share our favorite posts on entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, logo design, web design, startups, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

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5 Famous Introverted Leaders And What You Can Learn From Them Katie Lundin | July 20th, 2017

Most people imagine a successful leader as fast-acting and larger-than-life. In other words, an extrovert. Our Western culture naturally assumes that leaders must be extroverted “men of action.”

But why?

Marti Olsen Laney, doctor of psychology and author of The Introvert Advantage reports that 75% of the world’s population is extroverted. So, the odds are good that many leaders are extroverted. But, it’s not just their sheer numerical advantage that casts extroverts in the leading role.

Gareth Cook of Scientific American points out that,

In our society, the ideal self is bold, gregarious, and comfortable in the spotlight. We like to think that we value individuality, but mostly we admire the type of individual who’s comfortable “putting himself out there.” Our schools, workplaces, and religious institutions are designed for extroverts. Introverts are to extroverts what American women were to men in the 1950s — second-class citizens with gigantic amounts of untapped talent.

This inherent bias in favor of extroverted behavior pervades all aspects of our culture, including the political and business realms. But as Cook explains, introverts have a great deal to offer. A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research confirms it.

The study’s authors listened to conference calls, analyzing the linguistic patterns of 119 CEOs — 28 from tech firms and 91 from public firms. The initial findings suggest that reserved CEOs are connected, in some way, to a stronger bottom line.

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D. and author of The Introverted Leader reports in an article for Forbes that 40% of executives consider themselves to be introverted. That’s a pretty strong representation considering introverts only make up 25% of the population at large. Clearly, introverted leaders must be doing something right.

So what’s their secret to success?

We looked closely at 5 highly successful introverted leaders, seeking lessons and actionable advice that you can implement today.

 

Warren Buffett

Topping our list of impressive introverted leaders is the investment guru, billionaire, philanthropist Warren Buffett. Known as the “Oracle of Omaha,” Buffett is one of the world’s richest men and a respected financial leader.

Behind the legend and hype, Buffett’s introversion is an indelible part of who he is – presenting both strengths and challenges to his eventual rise to success. The most valuable of those strengths may very well be Buffet’s ability to comprehend the abstract. Andy Hinds, in his article “Warren Buffett: The World’s Richest Introvert,” shares:

As Buffett explains in the Bloomberg documentary, his success is partially due to making concrete sense of the abstract: “If you look at the market as buying pieces of businesses, you will be able to see when the market is wrong.”

By peering through the numbers to the underlying reality, Buffett has been able to fly in the face of conventional wisdom and consistently outperform the market.

A 2012 study by Randy Buckner, a Harvard psychologist, revealed that introverts consistently show a thicker concentration of gray matter than their extroverted counterparts in areas of the brain (the prefrontal cortex) that control decision-making and abstract thought. Buffett’s ability to master abstract concepts – like the stock market – is likely linked to his natural introversion.

In that sense, Buffett’s introversion served his career incredibly well. However, some of his introverted traits presented him with obstacles to overcome. Buffet shares in an interview,

I had the intellect for business, but not the persona… I had to learn to communicate with people better, particularly in groups. I just couldn’t go through life being terrified to speak in public.

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Famous Logos And What Your Business Can Learn From Them Arielle Kimbarovsky | July 19th, 2017

Every company wants to be popular and for its logo to be instantly recognizable and famous. In fact, some entrepreneurs think that companies become famous because they have great logos.

That’s only partially correct. For example, Nike, McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola have instantly recognizable and famous logos but each has spent hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars to promote their brands.

Most companies don’t have huge budgets to build brands that equal some of the best in the world. But even if your budget is small, you can still build a strong brand (that has the potential to join the ranks of the world’s best).

A strong brand starts with a strong company name and a good logo design.

Yet most entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t understand the key fundamentals of logo design (or naming for that matter; we wrote about naming in a prior post).

Understanding these design elements can help you find a terrific logo for your business.

Ultimately, when it comes down to creating a highly recognizable, memorable logo, you need good design. As the “I love New York” designer Milton Glaser says,

There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.

We can’t promise you that your logo will become the next Nike swoosh. But if you pay attention and learn from famous logos, you can find a design that supports and enhances, rather than undermines, your brand.

Here are the top 5 lessons businesses can learn from famous logos:

  • Simplicity is more important than intricacy.
  • Versatility is key.
  • Smart design is better than just pretty design.
  • Timelessness improves recognition.
  • Color is a game changer.

 

1. Simplicity is more important than intricacy.

Top logo designers agree that the best logos are simple. As we previously wrote:

Simplicity is vital. A complex logo will be difficult to print and reproduce and may not fully engage your audience. Take a moment and think about brands that are successful and/or famous. Most likely, you’ve thought of companies like Apple, Volkswagen, Target, McDonald’s, etc. What do they all have in common? They all have logos that are simple and easily recognized when printed by themselves, and when printed in solid black and white.

This idea of simplicity is well grounded in the KISS (keep it simple stupid) framework. Instead of spending hours adding details and nuances to a logo, the best logo designers find ways to take away from the logo and simplify the design. French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery does a great job summarizing this in one sentence:

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

A brand that does simplicity extremely well is Target.

The beauty of the Target logo is that there is nothing complicated about it. It’s just two red circles usually printed on a white background. The circles take the form of a bullseye, which connects the logo to the name “Target”, but the circles don’t actually illustrate a true bullseye with all the rings and numbers. Target took an existing object that connected to its name and simplified it.

In fact, Target’s logo is so simple that it’s easy for a child to draw, and importantly, to recognize. But the creation of the Target logo took a lot of thought. Target’s executives took the time to think about their brand messaging and what they wanted the logo to reinforce. In the end, simplicity won, according to chief creative officer Todd Waterbury:

The enduring strength of Target’s logo lies in its utter clarity. It is a design that is viewed equally from every side: from the front, the back, from the left and the right. The bull’s-eye is a symbol that is immediately, simultaneously seen and understood, one in the same, as precisely what it is.

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5 Successful Rebrands And What You Can Learn From Them Ross Kimbarovsky | July 18th, 2017

A brand is more than the company name and logo, but a strong brand starts with a great name and logo design.

As we previously explained:

A brand is the sum total of the experience your prospects and customers have with your company. A strong brand communicates what your company does, how it does it, and at the same time, establishes trust and credibility with your prospects and customers. Your company’s brand is, in many ways, its personality. Your brand lives in everyday interactions your company has with its prospects and customers, including the images you share, the messages you post on your website, the content of your marketing materials, your presentations and booths at conferences, and your posts on social networks.

Whether you’re starting a new business or have an existing business, ask yourself: does your logo reflect your true brand?

If it doesn’t, consider rebranding your business.

Rebranding is often hard and many who try, fail.

But if your business is hitting a wall, a rebrand can help. A good rebrand can shed new light on a business, connecting it with customers in new and effective ways.

In this video, we look at five rebranding successes so that you can understand the strategies and use them in your own rebranding efforts.

Invest in your brand today to be more successful tomorrow.

Your company’s brand deserves a first class logo. Let crowdSPRING’s team of  200,000+ designers help you find it. It’s easy, fast and your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed – just click below to get started for as little as $299. 

7 Proven Ways to Improve Customer Service Amanda Bowman | July 17th, 2017

In most situations, a customer’s only direct human contact with a company is through the company’s customer service team. Usually, the customer isn’t happy about something and needs help. As a result, whether you run a Fortune 100 company or a small business, it’s critical to have great customer service people on your team.

With increasing competition and choice, customers and prospects offer their loyalty to a company only if the company gives them good reasons to do so.

Happy and satisfied customers are often long-term customers. If your company can show that it prioritizes the needs of its consumers, you’ll be way ahead of your competition. It’s should be obvious but worth a reminder: retaining customers you already have is more efficient, profitable, and impactful than having to seek out new ones. 

The White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that on average:

  • Loyal customers are worth up to ten times as much as their first initial purchase, and
  • It’s 6 – 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.

Kayako’s survey found that 60% of consumers would be “unlikely or very unlikely” to give repeat business to a company that had given them bad service in the past – even, notably, if a trusted friend recommended the service.

First impressions matter, and you only get one. Customer service is almost always the first impression a customer will have with you, and it’s key to make it a priority for your business. Tony Hsieh from Zappos says:

Rather than spend a lot of money on marketing, we take most of the money we would’ve spent on paid advertising and re-invest it in customer experience…We really don’t think that customer service is an expense that you should try to minimize, it’s really an investment in your brand.

There will always be competitors with larger advertising budgets, lower prices, and other gimmicks designed to attract customers. Customers will often be able to find a cheaper product or service with the click of a button or the swipe of a finger. But most customers look for great value, not simply the lowest price. And that’s where customer service can tip the scales your favor.

As we wrote previously:

Your customer’s problems represent a major opportunity for you to build a relationship with them, surprise and delight them, and build a great reputation and engender strong word-of-mouth. How can you do this? It’s simple, really; building great relationships with customers is little different from building relationships with friends. It is a mater of spending time, paying attention, listening and responding. It works the same with customer relations; just like you learn to appreciate your new friends as you spend more time with them and get to know them better, you’ll build lasting connections with your customers, too.

By providing the best possible customer service, you will nurture increased trust and brand loyalty. Great customer service can mean the difference between your business thriving or sinking.

Here are 7 proven customer service tips to help you put smiles on your customers’ faces. We’ll discuss each in more detail below.

1. Align your customer service to your customers.
2. Go where your customers are.
3. Maximize your customer interactions.
4. Surprise your customers.
5. Be more productive with what you have.
6. Invest for the long term.
7. Give your customers a way to provide feedback.

1. Align your customer service to your customers.

It’s important that your customer service is aligned with your customer’s expectations. John Tschohl recently talked about this alignment of service strategy and expectations in a post for Desk.com:

Why is it so important to understand your different customer groups and tailor an optimal mix and level of service for them? Provide too little service or the wrong kind and customers may switch to the competition. Provide too much service, even the right kind, and your company might price itself out of the market and struggle to balance the books at the end of the year.

There are four elements that make up a service strategy:

  • Determine the customer segments you want to target,
  • What are the expectations of customers within these segments,
  • What service expectations your competitors may have already established, and
  • What your strategy is for exceeding these expectations.

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Twitter Link Roundup #301 – Terrific Reads for Small Business, Entrepreneurs, Marketers, and Designers! Amanda Bowman | July 14th, 2017

As emoji have become more popular, they have impacted our culture’s psychology and language. Thousands of year ago, people communicated solely through symbols. Will this happen again in our future?

What do the way we see and use emoji say about us, individually and as a society? The Emoji Ligature Rorschach test might reveal something about the way we see ourselves, others, and our relationships. Take a look and see what you think, but be warned: there’s a parental advisory attached.

Now, we hope you enjoy another great set of links and articles that we shared with you over the past week on our crowdSPRING Twitter account (and on Ross’s Twitter account). We regularly share our favorite posts on entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, logo design, web design, startups, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

startupsblog

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Fresh from the SPRING: Janisa Audree | July 13th, 2017

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we recognize a gem submitted in this logo project:

 

The challenge of this project was to create a captivating logo for a honey wine. We raise a toast to this bee design.

Let us start the slow clap for Janisa. Check out more great work on Janisa’s profile page.

Nicely done, Janisa, nicely done!

7 Ways Your Small Business Can Market Better on Social Media Katie Lundin | July 13th, 2017

Social Media is often touted as a fix-all marketing wonder channel. And, with its ease of use, there’s no excuse for businesses not to at least experiment with that channel.

Justin Sachs of the Young Entrepreneur Council points out:

One of the best features social media marketing has for businesses today is its low barrier to entry. Gone are the days where a business is required to spend thousands of dollars on advertising to reach its prospect. You can now reach your audience spending as little as five dollars per week!

And not only is social media easy to access, research has shown that social media can be a truly powerful marketing force.

A 2017 study by Social Media Examiner reveals that 92% of marketers surveyed feel that social media is important to their business. 88% of those marketers said that social media has increased exposure and 78% of marketers listed increased traffic for their business (among other benefits like generating leads and increased sales).

But, like any other channel, social media is only as useful as the strategy behind it. For many business owners and marketers, figuring out what content to post on social media is a bit of a puzzle. We’ve heard many business owners and marketers ask “How do I use social media for my business?” or “How do I start social media marketing?”

Let’s remove some of the mystery.

We’ve curated a list of 7 best social media content practices that will help your business engage customers, promote your business, and get the most from its social media efforts.

1. Establish your audience.
2. Honor your brand voice.
3. Leverage content across multiple platforms.
4. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
5. Create a content calendar.
6. Capture attention with images.
7. Offer content of value.

 

1. Establish Your Audience

When creating content for social media the first question you need to ask is, “Who is my audience?”

Determining your audience will guide your choices on what kind of content you should share. (Hint: you should share content that your audience will value!)

In our previous article, “A Mile in Their Shoes: Framing Your Content Marketing Strategy” we wrote:

…the best way to excel in content marketing is to give your target audience something they’ll find valuable. Knowing who they are is the first step. The next is trying to put yourselves in their shoes, and then creating something that would mean something to you in that position.

If your business has already done its due diligence in establishing its brand, you should already have a good idea of who your audience is. So, as in all major business decisions, refer back to your brand if you need some extra guidance. Then ask yourself – what does my audience want?

Then give it to them with thoughtful, well-written content.

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4 Major Rebranding Failures And What You Can Learn From Them Ross Kimbarovsky | July 11th, 2017

A brand is more than the company name and logo, but a strong brand starts with a great name and logo.

If you have decided that it’s time to refresh your brand, keep in mind that giving customers something new does not always mean they will love it.

When done properly, a rebranding effort can help your business realign with your target audience, embrace a new direction, build customer buy-in and drive sales.

When done incorrectly, rebranding can, at best, go unnoticed and make no impact. At worst, you run the risk of alienating customers and causing profits to dive.

In this video, we look at four rebranding failures so that you can gracefully avoid these rebranding pitfalls.

Invest in your brand today to be more successful tomorrow.

Your company’s brand deserves a first class logo. Let crowdSPRING’s team of  200,000+ designers help you find it. It’s easy, fast and your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed – just click below to get started for as little as $299. 

Why A Good Logo Is Essential To Your Business Arielle Kimbarovsky | July 10th, 2017

We’ve all heard the advice: invest in your logo. And while it may seem obvious to some why it’s important to invest in a well-designed logo, many entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t really understand why logos are so important.

In the simplest of terms, a logo is a design, icon, or mark that identifies your company. Your brand is more than just your company’s name and logo, but a logo is an important part of a company’s brand. It’s the visual cornerstone of the brand.

Before we look at the important elements you’ll want to have in your company’s logo, let’s first look at how a logo helps your company stand out in a crowded marketplace.

1. A good logo helps customers to identify your company.

The most important job of a logo is to help customers and customer prospects identify your company. That’s why the best logos are simple and memorable. Just think about how many logos you are able to recognize in your everyday life! Those logos serve as a reminder that Nike was the brand that made your shoes, or that Apple is the reason why you’re reading this on a Macbook.

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