Overcoming Six Feet of Separation

We are all relational beings and as we weather this storm together, here are six tips we can remain authentic as a brand while staying “six feet apart” from our customers:

  1. What are you in the business of ‘selling’?
    • There is no better time than now to reflect on the ultimate purpose for your company’s existence. While products / services are the tangible goods that generate revenue for your business, your company should stand for more than that. 
    • What is your vision (ie. what impact your company hope to have in the society; the ‘some day’) and your mission (ie. what you are doing today’ to achieve the ‘some day’)? 
  2. Do you have a plan?
    • Budget Plan. Do you know your reserves? Are there any alternative sources of revenue? How are you taking advantage of the SBA Disaster Relief Assistance? Check this link for resources.
    • Communication Plan. How do you continue to stay relevant and connected with your staff and customers whether you are closed temporarily or operating as normal? 
  3. Your best brand advocate.
    • If you have a team of staff, they are the people you need to communicate your plans with on a daily basis. Are you getting them involved in some problem-solving decisions? How do you care for their welfare beyond cutting them a paycheck (if you are even able to do that)?
    • If you are a solopreneur, your family and your trusted friends are your support system. Don’t weather your business challenges by yourself.
  4. Your next best brand advocate.
    • If you are an essential business, how are you communicating with your customers beyond a business transaction? Do they know how you are caring for your employees? Do they know how you are keeping them safe if they need to interact with you (and your staff) face-to-face?
    • If you are not a non-essential business, are you keeping in touch with your customers via the website, social media channels, emails, phone call, or even a card? This is where you need a Communication Plan.
  5. Be Real.
    • Your staff and customers relate to you as a person, not as a company. Are you taking the opportunity to share your vision and mission for starting this business to begin with? 
    • Be real (not defeated) about how the current situation is affecting you. Authenticity will allow you to build rapport and improve the quality of your communication.
    • Learn about defining a Personal Brand, a section in my upcoming book titled “One Game Changer to Boost your Business“. 
  6. Be Aware.
    • Empathize and acknowledge the challenges your staff and customers are facing.
    • Identify their needs (eg. bored, fear of getting infected, lonely/isolated, reduced income, etc.) and consider how you can meet that need. 
    • DO NOT exploit the fear of people to make money. 

Into the Middle of the World

I would never have known that when I was born in Singapore, Ecuador is directly under my naked bottom on the other side of the world. While there’s no practical reason for that piece of information known as antipodes, it makes for a good opener to this post, right?

World map showing location of Ecuador and Singapore

Now that you are back after having fun searching for other antipodes of countries you know, let’s get back to Ecuador and the connection I have with this country known as the Republic of the Equator (a literal translation from the Spanish name, República del Ecuador).

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It Started with a Bunch of Bananas

Small chalkboard signs promoting 19 cents bananas at Trader Joe's.

Take a picture of these,” said a fellow crew member after I put up my first two-sided chalkboard sign I drew for a banana tree at Trader Joe’s Oklahoma City.

Looking back, I do appreciate the advice as the side that says “We’re a Happy Bunch” pretty much summarizes my sentiment having been part of this grocery chain.

Here’s a sampling of the various signs I have the privilege of creating by hand; some of which are permanent while others are a figment of my memory (but thankfully captured on camera).

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What’s the Buzz?

The conversation happening on various social media channels is a form of word-of-mouth that cannot be ignored. However, that doesn’t mean that a business needs to have every social media account there is to engage in those conversations.

Take note that there are conversations happening between people offline, which in most cases may carry more weight than online word-of-mouth. So, how does one effectively manage and cultivate meaningful conversations?

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Your Logo is Just the Tip of an Iceberg

iceberg brand story and logo

What logo comes to mind when you see the double golden arches (or part of it)?

It wouldn’t take long for anyone to immediately recognize it as the logo representing Happy Meals and golden fries; a gateway to the promised land of McDonald’s. The fast-food chain even turned their logo upside down in honor of International Women’s Day; a clever twist to their iconic symbol.

Inverted McDonald’s sign image from Pop Culture. Billboard image from blogTo.

Wouldn’t you like a logo as recognizable as McDonald’s?  You may say you are not as successful as this global franchise with a similar marketing budget, but the development of a key identity piece like a logo deserves much more time, effort, and money than you feel it needs. Consider this; your logo will be front and center throughout the lifetime of your business! 

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Unexpected Matches In TJ’s

For the last few months, I have been loving every moment working at Trader Joe’s as a crew member. Besides the camaraderie of being part of a family of like-minded people, the small but unique selection of food and beverages had me in culinary heaven.

As Valentines Day draws near, Trader Joe’s launched a contest on Instagram calling customers to share which two food they would bring together. While I am not eligible to participate in the contest as a staff member, here’s my top three (unexpected) matches made at TJ’s (styled after the EatLovePun series).
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Vector vs. Raster

vector and raster

While your company logo on a website may look sharp on the computer or smart phone screen, the same logo may not look as good when printed on a business card or an outdoor billboard. The reason is in the way an image is rendered online and on print.

If you look closely at an image online, you may notice tiny dots (or squares). These dots collectively formed the image you see. You may also have heard the term “dpi” used to refer to the quality / resolution of an image; it stands for “dots per inch”. The more dots within an inch, the better the image will look online and on print. These images are often referred to as raster images and they have extensions like jpg, psd, png, tiff, bmp, and gif at the end of the file name.

Images found on websites are usually at 72 dpi with smaller file size (typically under 1MB) so that they load faster. However, when the same image is printed on a business card or banner, it will usually be fuzzy, jagged and blurry. This is because with only 72 dots per inch, the clarity of the image will be compromised. An ideal resolution for images to be printed should be at least 300 dpi.

Vector images are formed by shapes created in vector programs using lines and points (see image above). Vector-based images are great for when you need scalability, like applying your logo on something as small as a name badge to as big as a signage. Vector files have extensions like eps, ai and pdf at the end of the file name.