How can black and white copies damage my business?

Are you in need of professional print collateral for your business? Do you print take out menus or other “throw away” collateral and maybe you are looking for an affordable resource? Let me tell you this… before you go to that black and white copier (and possibly damage your brand and your return audience) let me give you a quote!

How can black and white copies damage my business? You have worked hard to open your business, to maintain quality service and to create a return customer base… so why would it matter if the take out menus I put out there are a simple black and white copy? It’s just a menu right? Well… not exactly.

Everything you put out there for your business is a tool that supports the brand you are working so hard to create! If, let’s just say for the sake of this article, you are a restaurant that prides itself in amazing food, great service, quality atmosphere, do you want your customers to take that “impression” along with them when they leave? By handing them a nice full color take out menu, it puts out the impression that you really DO care about your image, your atmosphere, and that MUST translate into the food and the service because hey, this restaurant guy really has it together! Full color printing is not only more likely to be read, it is more likely to be retained for future use! And right there is where you snag your return market. Give them something they will want to hold on to for future reference.

On the flip side of that, suppose you hand your customer a black and white to go menu as they are leaving. INSTANTLY there is an impression that:
a) This restaurant is haphazardly trying to maintain by just popping out black and white copies, maybe to save money, maybe in a pinch, or maybe they’re not really doing so well and cutting corners financially… and in turn,

b) This business owner is simply shooting straight for my return business, without really caring about building the relationship and investing in their own brand – ability.

I realize that may sound harsh, but it’s honest impression. As a business owner you should realize that the material you put out there is not just physically speaking to your prospects, it also carries intangible impressions that can either help or hinder your business image. Something as simple as color print vs. black and white can actually psychologically elevate your business standing within your prospect pool, and help create return business!

Here is the real kicker – Color printing is not as expensive as you may think! You don’t have to be within the Ocala Florida area for me to help you with your print needs. No matter where you are in the US, I would love an opportunity to quote your next print project in color and show you that, long term, your spending the same money either way!

Amy Keel
Marketing Solutions Specialist

What Exactly is Cohesive Marketing?

co•he•sive (koʊˈhi sɪv)
1. tending to unify, harmonize, or be consistent.
2. well integrated; “a cohesive organization”
3. united – characterized by unity; being or joined into a single entity.

When something is cohesive, it can be torn apart, fragmented and spread out, but you will always know that each of those pieces come from the same whole.

Would it not stand to reason then, that when presenting your business to the world you would want to create a cohesive image to your audience, no matter where they might be viewing from? This, my friends, is cohesive marketing… and guess what? Cohesive marketing helps to establish and reinforce a BRAND.

woode blockLet’s say you decide you are going to use a square wooden block, paint it red with your name in white as a representation of your business. You take these wooden blocks and leave them everywhere you go. At the market, at the bus stop, at each of your clients offices… You leave your blocks behind everywhere you go, freely giving them to people, freely setting them about. Eventually, people are going to start to recognize these blocks. They will take notice and think “I just saw that same red wooden square block on the other side of town yesterday.” They will mention it to a friend who will say, “YES! I saw the same red wooden square block at the market, then again in the street…” And then people really begin to look at these blocks, and wonder what they are about, begin to investigate the business name and, guess what? When they need your service they’ll think, “Oh, that business with the red blocks does that…”

And maybe you have a micro business, and all you do is sell wooden blocks, but you have established a COHESIVE BRAND through your community!

Lets say you do the same thing but everywhere you go you leave something different… a round blue coin one place, a green square bowl another, at the market you leave a sheet of orange paper and hand out to people random colored and shaped objects. Do you think people will take notice? Will they think, “Hmmm, that green square bowl makes me think of the round blue coin I saw the other day?”

Well, depending on the extreme randomness of it, there is a chance SOMEONE will notice. But do you see the picture I am painting here? By consistently, and COHESIVELY presenting your red blocks to your community (or prospect pool) you are creating an association not only with the shape of your block, but the colors, and textures as well.

Apply that to your marketing material. Are your brochures a “green square bowl” and your business cards a “round blue coin”? Is your web site a “sheet of orange paper”? Do you throw about varying marketing material randomly in the hopes of catching your audience?

Or did you take your “red square block” and divide it up into various pieces, being a brochure, business cards, a web site, (vehicle wraps, billboards, print advertising, etc. etc.) that when placed together create a whole “red square block”, but when presented separately  STILL represent a “red square block”? THAT is cohesive marketing, and that is so vital, no matter how small or micro your business is!

Marketing is not as difficult as some small businesses think. You do it every day whether you choose to be aware of it or not. Pay attention to the image you are putting out there, make the choice to be cohesive. You don’t need high dollar graphics, just use the same graphics, the same color scheme, the same colors. You will start to see a difference in how people perceive your business, and you will create a brand recognition that you can build on!

-Amy Keel
Marketing Solutions Specialist
Amy Keel Designs

Got Schwag?!

promotionalProducts2promotional products:
sometimes nicknamed swag or schwag, are articles of merchandise (often branded with a logo) used in marketing & communication programs.

Most successful marketing campaigns have schwag in one form or another. Pens, T-shirts, mugs, tumblers, calendars, clocks… even the embroidered Polo shirts you and your associates wear. These items help to broaden your audience and brand your business even when you aren’t looking!

Not only does everyone love freebies, but they have been shown to sway user opinion… in a 2010 study, 41% of U.S. respondents indicated that their opinion of an advertiser was more favorable after receiving a promotional product. And since we all know that buying is generally  an emotional decision, (coupled by a logical justification) why not give your prospects that warm fuzzy about your business / services!

Small businesses are often intimidated by the order process, and by the projected cost of promotional products… I am here to tell you we can find some schwag that will fit your budget, and I will handle the headache for you! Its what I do! :0) Call today, 352.843.2435.

Is your logo speaking life into your business or damaging your brand?

A common error I see with small businesses that are trying to save money by self promoting is logo degeneration.


The logo on the left is degenerated, as if it has been photocopied numerous times. The logo on the right is not. Which one would you like to represent your business? Remember, your logo represents your brand, and so does the material you are placing in the hands of prospects! While black and white copies serve the purpose of carrying the information, what do they portray to your audience? Do your marketing materials portray a calculated, cohesive brand for your business? Or are you conveying a half hazard effort with degenerated photocopies or low resolution images that are muddy or hard to see?

Keep in mind that your first impression is an opportunity you only get once!

Breathe life into your business with this one simple practice…

Your logo files are invaluable! You dont need to know or understand the differences between web resolution and print resolution, but you do need to know this one thing… keep a high resolution .eps file of your logo handy at all times! Once you lose track of it, you are beginning the degenerative process! You dont have to know what to do with it, you dont have to be able to even open and edit it, but you do need to have it readily available to the people who DO know how to work with it and who require it! As your business grows so do your needs, and eventually you will need to order shirts, or do a vehicle wrap, billboard or a magazine ad… and that logo you pulled off the web is not going to cut it. (for reasons we arent discussing here, web resolution = bad!) So you are faced with 2 options. Use the logo you have and create sub standard, fuzzy and ultimately brand damaging collateral, (and often when dealing with professional printers the ISN’T really an option) OR pay to have a high resolution version of your logo created. So make sure you and your staff realize the importance of good clean collateral by having high resolution logo files available. You will be thankful in the long run! This simple practice can separate you from your competition. :0)

Why image resolution is important in your small business marketing…


Today’s small business tip:
From Amy Keel
When self promoting, it is more important than ever to pay attention to the QUALITY of the marketing material you are putting out there. Ever go through all the trouble of pulling images from the web, laying out a flier and print it only to find it looks horrible? The images are either really tiny OR they are super blurry.


Here’s the WHY…
In a perfect world, when you print any image it should be at least 300 dpi (dots per inch – thats how RESOLUTION of images is determined) The problem with web images is that the majority of them have been downsized to 72dpi (screen resolution) to speed up web page loading times. In the picture attached, the image on the left is a 300dpi (print resolution) image, on the right is the exact same image at 72dpi (screen resolution) – when I look at the image on the right on my screen, it looks to be the same size as the print resolution image. BUT as illustrated here, the size of the image when printed is minute compared to how it appears on screen.

This is why printers, designers, promo product companies tend to throw that web logo back at you and ask for a high resolution image. ALWAYS keep an eps of your logo handy. It makes a WORLD of difference for your marketing material!