From the Clinton Presidential Library when Renae and I visited in Summer 15.
From the Clinton Presidential Library when Renae and I visited in Summer 15.


Do you give anything away for free?

Maybe it’s a free upgrade to an order, maybe it’s a free white paper, maybe its a free consultation.

Why would you do that?

Free is the opportunity to create a reciprocal relationship. Free could be the chance to prove yourself.

So what could you give away for free? Probably something you have in abundance. The reason a lot of restaurants give away free drinks, is because they have a huge amount of syrup on hand and it costs them very little. But at the same time their profit margins on the drinks are huge. But if it leads to a purchase of a burger or pizza, they come out ahead. It also gives them a chance to make you a fan!

I have an over abundance of ideas. While in the gym the other day, I saw a commercial for CopperFit Compression products. It had Brett Farve playing flag football with the compression product. My brain immediately thought, what an amazing campaign idea: take submissions of people using CopperFit products to win a chance to play flag football with Brett Farve! So I tweeted it to them.

No one responded. I didnt expect them to. It didn’t cost me anything to tweet it and I didn’t lose anything by sharing that idea. But the upside could be huge. What if someone from Copper fit saw it and thought, “Hey, I like that idea!” and gave me a call. What if someone else say that idea and thought, “That guy has a great idea, I wonder what he could do for my brand.”.

It could lead to future business. Ideas are worthless if you do nothing with them. I am going to start sharing more of mine with #freemarketingidea.

A pound of cure in a bad customer experience (Pt. 2)

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In a pervious post I looked at what an Ounce of Prevention might look like in preventing a bad customer experience. (You can read it here).

Now lets talk about what to do when a bad customer experience happens.

  1. Do Not Take It Personally:
    I know a few small business owners who take a customer responding badly to their product or service after a failure really personally. When someone takes personally a bad review or a customer expressing their bad experience it can interrupt their logical thought process in trying to make amends.
    It is vital to remain emotionally distant from the situation so that you can respond in the proper way. Responding from an emotional position can end up escalating the situations and it will end up being more damaging to the brand. This also involves giving the customer the benefit of the doubt and not assuming they are just out to try and damage your business.
  2. Listen:
    Listen to what the customer is saying when they have a complaint to share. This is an opportunity to 1. Show empathy and 2. make a customer into a stark raving fan!
    Think about it! You have a customer who cares enough about their experience to tell you about how to make it better. There are those who are just out to try and get something for free but we should use this as a chance to become better.
  3. Finally customer may be entitled to some renumeration. If someone’s order was messed up, your product failed, or your service fell well below expectations you may need to reimburse the customer in someway. This is one step that can really make the client feel valued and could prevent you from losing a customer to getting at least one more chance to prove yourself to them.

If they comment on social media and the comment is legitimate, do not delete their post! Respond with kindness and an offer to rectify the situation. People will notice the response and generally reward you for it.


If you take this fail and do your best to turn it into a win a customer might end up having a great experience and you know what happens when a customer has a great experience? They tell people!


Everyday we have a chance to win and make stark raving fans. Make it count with every customer!


Candidate Logos Part 2: Republicans (Part 2)

Even though the election is not until next fall, the presidential campaigns have kicked off. While this is super frustrating to many, including myself, one of the upsides is you get to see lots of important branding. In this series of posts I am going to be evaluating the top candidates logos. How do I determine the top candidates? I used this study by the Washington Post.  This will be a three post series. The first post will be dedicated to the Democrat candidates and the next two will be dedicated to the Republican candidates (because there are currently so very many of them). (Read about the Democrats Logos Here and the first half of the Republicans here.)

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Rand Paul:

Visual appeal- 8
Symbolism- 8
Execution- 8
Rand Paul is a man on fire. He wants change and with this aggressive logo, I think he communicates that clearly. It works well in different colors and it is my favorite. Simple but effective.




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Mike Huckabee

Visual appeal- 6
Symbolism- 2
Execution- 5
Nothing crazy going on here for Huckabee. If there is intentional symbolism here, I am completely missing it! Instead it looks like they selected some random abstract shapes and threw in a few stars. And the kerning between the K and A is way to close.

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Jeb Bush

Visual appeal- 8
Symbolism- 4
Execution- 8
Well someone is clearly trying to avoid associating himself with his brother. The natural move in a family such as this would be to invoke the fame. This is the most light hearted of the republican logos. I think the choice of an exclamation point is setting him up for a alternate logo with an upside down exclamation point trying to court the Spanish speaking vote. Also what an interesting b.



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Scott Walker

Visual appeal- 8
Symbolism- 8
Execution- 8
Probably the most creative inclusion of American Imagery this year. The block flag in place of the E strangely works for me. I think it would even be clear in one color. I feel like this candidate is a strong American loving candidate. Mission accomplished logo.


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Donald Trump

Visual appeal- 4
Symbolism- 2
Execution- 4
Trump doesn’t need a creative logo. Everyone knows who he is. I think that has more to do with his poll ratings then his true popularity. But this logo is exceptionally plain, thus the low rating.

Customer Spotlight: Maxwell’s Bow Ties

I have been eagerly awaiting this post for over a month now. Monday the website for Maxwell’s Bow Ties went live and so now is a good time to tell you about it! When I first started my business a gentleman wearing a unique bow tie walked into the Co with the apparent mission to find me. That man was Max Garner and we started a business relationship to help bring his bow ties to market in the best way possible.

Max and I worked together to create the entire branding package: logo, packaging, and a website. It has been a joy to work with Max on all of these projects and to wear the bow ties around town (yes I have been actually wearing these and they are awesome!).

Here are the goods (and you can order them here):


Maxwell's Bow Ties logo engraved on wood.
Maxwell’s Bow Ties logo engraved on wood.
MBT Business Card Front
The front of Maxwell’s business card.
MBT Product Insert Front
The front of Maxwell’s product insert.


The backside of the Bow Tie Insert
The backside of the Bow Tie Insert with the story and care instructions.

I hope to see everyone wearing Maxwell’s Bow Ties this Christmas!

McDonald’s addressing its millennial problem?

While perusing the internet last week I came across a new online ad campaign from McDonald’s featuring Grant Imahara (formerly of Myth Busters). McDonald’s has hired Imahara to help “bust some byths”(ht-wd) about their products. This campaign is made up of videos of Grant Imahara and others visiting the factories where the McDonald’s food is made. The video below is an exploration of the sandwich that can only be described by the name McRib!



With this campaign McDonald’s is trying to take steps to recover it’s public image that was so degraded during the great pink slime scandal of the last 2000’s. I think their image is especially tarnished with Millennials. Millennials tend to care about the quality of their food and where it comes from. During a conversation at the CO last night it was pointed out that Chipotle restaurants have a great reputation with Millennials because they have their supply sourcing Millennial-proofed. They use organic and sustainable products which Millennials love. I think this ad campaign is specifically trying to overcome some of the distaste that Millennials have for McDonald’s. What do you think?



What is holistic marketing?

While guest teaching a class with a client at the University of Memphis-Lambuth campus last week I made the following statement:

“As a marketer I am a bit of a control freak.”

I think as marketing continues to develop this statement will become more common. If you handle the marketing for a business, not just providing a service like a logo or some print material, it will serve you well to be a little controlling when it comes to marketing.

As the marketer for a business (or the owner) I think you should start thinking about every point of contact with a customer as an opportunity to make a stark raving fan. I describe this thought process as Holistic Marketing. Holistic marketing means that marketing is more than just a logo and an ad.

Holistic marketing works through all of the pieces of your business to help the customer have a great user experience

(to borrow a term from the web design world). Instead of thinking about something like customer service or returns as an annoying/nonprofitable area think of it as a tool you have to help retain a customer and increase that customer’s lifetime value.

Like social media, websites, and text messaging, customer experience is another tool of the marketer.

If you have a great ad and someone comes to your restaurant, visits your retail location, or calls your phone number and the food is cold or the clerk is rude your ad is going to do more harm than good. Before you spend money on ads think: What pieces do we need to have in place to make sure this ad is as successful as possible? Evaluate the entire process for the customer from walking in the door to completing his purchase to returning something if her experience is bad. Then think about how you can make each step in the process great for the customer.

Questions about holistic marketing? Send me an email and we can set up a consultation.