My favorite take away this quarter was learning about all the different free program options for design and video creation. I liked exploring them and figuring out which ones worked for my needs and which ones didn’t. Knowing about all these programs is very helpful in my career. Most of my customers that I consult on marketing for are on a tight budget and usually have to do much of their own marketing. Being about to direct them to these inexpensive or free options is something that brings a lot of value to them. It’s also helpful tools to have on hand for small projects I do as gifts for family and friends. Adobe programs are so expensive and usually, in order to keep up with the latest versions, you have to buy the new program every year or two. Software like that adds up quickly and can take away from a marketing budget.
Everything I learned in this class was new to me, so I feel like I got a lot out of it. Although I don’t plan on following this career path, I did take away a lot from learning about, creating and taking the usability test. I thought it had interesting metrics for testing things that were successful and things that needed work, and in the end, it gave some great ways to give customers constructive criticism about things they may not want to admit need work. I don’t plan on implementing anymore usability tests, but I do often have to provide constructive criticism to customers about certain areas of their business. This test gave a great format for organizing those tasks that need to be tested, then sharing that info with customers. It creates an easy to understand template so that everything is organized and there is structure to what was accomplished.
The three marketing pieces that were created for Dillanos Coffee Roasters are an email newsletter, a postcard and a 30 second video about an upcoming event for the roaster. Each piece plays a significant role in marketing for the release party and the coffee that Dillanos roasts.
The email newsletter with a note from the CEO is sent to all current customers and anyone else who signed up for the newsletter through the website or at trade shows. It explains the upcoming release of the newest Dillanos single origin coffee and the corresponding event to celebrate it. It also offers a discount for early registry of the event. This is a great piece to send out to customers who have already agreed to receiving email offers and updates from the company so it wouldn’t be considered spam.
The postcard is something that can be sent out with all shipping and delivery orders, handed out at any prior event or trade show or left at the front desk for customers that come in to purchase coffee. The postcard outlines the upcoming event and gives time and place details so that people know when, where, and how to register and attend the event. It also includes a well photographed visual that might entice customers to want to attend the coffee release party.
The video is a sequence of photographs arranged in the order of “crop to cup”, or, in simpler terms. the order that coffee is harvested all the way up to you being able to drink it. It serves as a learning experience, a lovely visual, and the text on a few of the images shares the upcoming event info with whoever is watching it. The purpose of the video is to try to illustrate the hard work and commitment that goes into creating a new roast, like the one that the attendees are having the opportunity to taste at the event.
All of these pieces correspond together with the overall company marketing to show the commitment to the customers in bringing them the best roasted coffee.
In Kristine Remer’s article, 6 Ways to Improve Usability on Etsy she discusses her thoughts and habits on the wildly popular e-commerce website, Etsy.com. She talks about her browsing habits, which are probably similar to many others, and some of the more frustrating things that Etsy has on their site like pagination, to many search categories and no photography standards. As an experienced UX consultant, she is able to offer ways to fix each problem to make the user experience more pleasant.
I chose this article because the Pepper Pot Polish website I designed my test after was Etsy based. There are a lot of really great things about Etsy, but there is also a lot of work that needs to be done in order to make it a better experience. Since there are so many different sellers with so many different products on the site, making it as easy as possible for a customer to find a product among thousands of like products is very important. Perfecting the search functions and categories will ease the search process, as well as make some products or stores more visible that might not have been before.
I also liked her idea about creating photography standards. There is almost no excuse in this day and age, why a photograph should be dark, blurry and difficult to make the product out of. Most phones have a decent camera on them that will take worthy product photos for an online shop.
Remer, K. (2012, February 6). 6 Ways to Improve Usability on Etsy. Retrieved March 5, 2015, from http://juneux.com/blog/2012/02/6-ways-to-improve-usability-on-etsy/
This quarter I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and really enjoyed the content I read. In each section, broken up by the 7 habits, I took away plenty of leadership and personal/professional development tools.
For the first couple of habits I learned goal setting and how to write a personal and professional mission statement. These tactics will enable me to visualize where I’m going and how I’m going to accomplish it proactively. By creating goals and giving myself a vision for where I want to be, it will make it easier to move forward into the place I’m trying to go.
Other things I learned while reading through habits 3-6 included time management, delegations, active listening and synergy. Learning to prioritize what is important in order to weed out the unimportant tasks while achieving a goal is critical for developing leadership skills and moving towards my goals. Listening to those around me in order to be a strong leader, instead of a dictator and learning to work with others through delegation and teamwork are all important skills that are learned from these habits.
Habit 7 you learn to evaluate your progress and decided if you stay the course or change it up a bit, in order to reach your goal. Checking in with myself while I’m on this long journey is what ensures my success instead of being caught off guard.
I enjoy blogging when I am given a prompt for a post as opposed to having to come up with my own content. I think it can be easier to blog for a class than it is for personal or professional because it’s much easier to follow guidelines for so many words and an exact topic that we’re learning about.
Entrepreneurship – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?
Begin with the End in Mind– Habit 2, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
This habit is based off of thinking about your life up until the very end, then spending each day with that idea in mind. Are you living up to your potential? Are you living each day by your meaningful values and your vision? Do you have a clear destination? If not, what could you be doing to be living that way? And how can this apply to being an entrepreneur?
In the section All Things Are Created Twice, Covey outlines first a mental creation, then a physical creation. When put into perspective of business it means first coming up with the idea of your business, the target market, the financials, and so on, then creating the physical business that is up and running. If you’re doing this without considering the end, failure is likely. If you don’t have a clear idea of where you are going with your business, how can you succeed?
This helped me visualize a better planning process when it comes to running my own business. Instead of being bogged down only by what is in front of me, looking at the bigger picture, planning for the future and creating long term goals with the end in mind are what will help lay the foundation for success. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the little things that can add up when you are an entrepreneur, but keeping that vision for the future, and creating goals will help move forward.
I still have no desire to own my own business again anytime soon, but I wish I could have had these insights when I was running my business before. I was easily caught up in all of the tedious little stuff that piled up, or put too much time and energy into the fun stuff that didn’t need immediate attention, and completely neglected looking forward into the future and creating goals and plans for where I should be going. While I did manage to do alright for myself for a period of time, it became obvious that how I was approaching my business wasn’t something I could do for the long run. Ultimately I ended my business and have since moved forward, but having these tools and insights will help me do it better if I choose to try again some day.
As a graphic designer focusing mostly on branding start-up companies it was essentially my job to create “something from nothing”. I’ve met and designed for some really great businesses that created their companies out of what seemed like nothing and often used their passion and motivation as an inspiration when trying to translate who they were into a visual representation.
I often had a process when creating a logo or branding a company. First, getting the owner to write down all of the words, phrases or feelings they had associated with their business was the most important step. From there I could have a better understanding of where they wanted the design to go, without asking them WHAT they wanted designed. More often than not, asking someone who isn’t design-minded to describe what they wanted designed ended up in failure on both ends.
Second, I would look in art books, at photography, in readings or anywhere else to get inspiration for the words and phrases I was given. I often visited color pallet sites (like colourlovers.com) and looked up colors within a range I was visualizing, to help me focus my creation.
Next was brainstorm-style sketching. Maybe I had an idea, at this point, of what I wanted to sketch or maybe I was just going to try out some different things. I usually tried to do a 50/50 with typography based sketches versus image based to see which direction I wanted to go.
Last, before sending off at least 2 separate designs for the first round of proofing, I would do focused sketches. These would be a direct translation of what I was working out with all of the previous steps. Sometimes I would send the client actual sketches and sometimes I would render them on the computer if I thought they would be able to visualize the end result that way.
After that I would do up to 2 more rounds of changes before the final product was delivered.
Hello from Dillanos! I’m the CEO, David Morris. When I started Dillanos Coffee Roasters in 1992 I didn’t ever think it could become what it is today. We pride ourselves on our amazing coffee, but we’re even more proud of the company culture our employees and our customers have helped create. It’s important to us that each of our customers, new and existing, understand and feel like part of the Dillanos family. This is our most important goal and why our mission statement is simply: HELP PEOPLE, MAKE FRIENDS, AND HAVE FUN!
EMAIL EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Spread The Love! Reply to this email with the name and email address of 3 friends or family members, and each of you will receive 40% off your next Dillanos purchase! Act fast though because this offer is only available through Valentine’s Day! This includes all whole bean and syrup flavors, as well as coffee accessories such as mugs and Dillanos branded merchandise.
Only 3 friends per person, please. Offer excludes brewing equipment.
Check out our write up in Roast magazine for 2011 Roaster of the Year!
“DILLANOS COFFEE ROASTERS is downsizing. That’s right, the company-which is housed in a 45,000-square-foot facility in Sumner, Wash., with plenty of room to grow-decided to go mini with its latest purchase. “We know a lot of roasters who started out small, but built up and bought bigger roasters as they grew,” says Dillanos co-owner Chris Heyer. “We did that, too. But in the last year, we also purchased a 25-kilo Probat, which is way smaller than the other roasters we have. We’re almost going in reverse.”
When it comes to getting new clients or business for the company I chose to follow, Pepper Pot Polish, I think the three most important things to do are networking, then making sure to follow up, using social media to reach a larger audience and take advantage of communities, and offering periodic deals and specials to entice new buyers.
Networking can be tricky, but making connections wherever you go, making sure to have an “elevator pitch”, carrying business cards and then following up each introduction with a “nice to meet you” letter or email can be a very important tool to grow this small business. So many times people say one thing and do another, and especially in business, keeping your promises or referencing something you talked about with a potential customer will create a bond and help establish a long lasting relationship.
Exploiting social media for its vast reach to otherwise out of reach customers for a small business is an essential tool for a start-up trying to make a name for themselves. Even better, joining a community within social media and creating a bond with others in your industry can help to push your brand out even farther with co-advertising.
Offering deals to new and established customers can act as a thank you, but also entice new buyers to try your brand. If your product is good, but they just needed a deal for the extra push to buy, then you have the ability to gain them as a life-long customer from that point forward.
Habit 6 in the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People talks about Synergy. This relates to serving the customers of my micro business on the basis of trust. The core of this habit is creating trustful relationships through communication in order to create a bond that is “greater than the sum of the parts.”
Steven Covey writes “Synergy is everywhere in nature. If you plant two plants close together, the roots commingle and improve the quality of the soil so that both plants will grow better than if they were separated. If you put two pieces of wood together, they will hold much more than the total of the weight held by each separately. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Simply put: working together to create a relationship built on trust and communication is the foundation of what synergy is.
Because my company is such a niche business, it is extremely important that I build my business off of relationships and being transparent to my customers. When dealing with anything from sales to customer service issues, building and maintaining mutual trust is the key to success. The only way I can truly succeed in this business is if I have the ability to synergize with my customers.
When we are communicating through synergy, we are allowing ourselves to be open to what the other is saying and suggesting. We are allowing the mutual trust we have built to solve a problem and help my business grow. It starts with believing that everyone involved in the communication is there to help and grow and support one another.
Synergy in business allows everyone involved to be authentic and gain a mutual respect for each other. It allows for all parties to encourage communication through our differences and understand that we all have different opinions and values. Within my business I choose to celebrate the differences between me, my customers and any other people I come in contact with as my business grows and evolves.