design importance for small businesses

Business Designs On Commerce

Gee Ranasinha Communications, Customer Service, Marketing

How important is “Design” in your business? “But we’re not a design business!” you exclaim. Excuse me, but that’s irrelevant. The fact of whether you’re ‘selling’ design as your business isn’t the issue. It’s that the very essence of every customer-facing touchpoint in your business is dripping in design decisions. Even deciding to not make a decision is a decision in itself Design is much more than simply another way to imagine a lemon squeezer, personal music player, or a vacuum cleaner. But I’m not (just) talking about the design of your product, or the look of your website. I’m talking about the design of your actual business. Not what it makes. Most marketers and small business owners will spend a lot of their time evaluating what are basic – but nonetheless superficial – design elements. The shape and color of your business logo. The typeface, image choice, and layout of the content of your website. Sure, these are part of the design aesthetic of your business. But business design is so much more. It goes so much deeper. Business design is the way you choose to describe what you do to customers, to partners, to the press, to your …

Public Relations Services Evolution

Less Public and More Relations

Gee Ranasinha PR, Social Media

There’s a great article over at Mashable about how technologies such as social media have impacted the way we consume information, and the knock-on impact for the Public Relations business. It seems that, slowly but surely, companies are realizing the “spray and pray” approach to distributing information – par for the course for most PR companies until very recently – is finally on its way out. And about time too. With so much digital noise competing for our attention, it could be said that media releases are more important now than ever before. But for the vast majority of press announcements to remain valid forms of “content distribution” (for that’s what we’re talking about) we need to get away from the days where “Big Company #1” blasts out a release a day (or more) simply for the sake of it, expecting everyone to drop everything and take notice. Judging by the content of many that I see, most press releases today have little ‘meat’ to them, and seem to be sent out as much for the backlink value as anything else. But PR shouldn’t just be about distributing press releases – whether that’s by emailing Word files to editors and …

chip on a mug

Your Company Isn’t Perfect

Gee Ranasinha Communications, Customer Service

Regardless of how many – or how few – individuals make up your organization, your company is not a faceless automaton. It’s not a perfect machine. Which means that, every now and again, something goes wrong. Take your pick – airlines, home appliances, cars, computers – just about everyone has their own personal horror story about how they put their faith in a product or service, and how the company behind it let them down. Since we all know that bad news travels faster than good news, a company’s reputation can be hit pretty hard in a short space of time – especially with today’s far-reaching communication tools such as social media, blogs and so on. No organization is perfect. There’s a human component, which means (now and again) your company makes mistakes. And that’s OK. Because, as I see it, it’s not about the fact that your company, your representatives, your employees (hey – even you) have made a mistake. It’s a fact of life – we all screw-up now and again. What’s important is what happens next. Passengers need to be told why there’s a delay, and what’s being done about it. If there’s a hiccup in production …

importance of simple business messaging

Simple Is Complicated

Gee Ranasinha Communications

Most times, simple is hard. Ask any regular user of Twitter, and they’ll tell you that it’s often tough to get one’s point across in 280 characters or less. During the phase of creating content – collateral, manuals, advertising, whatever – it’s too easy to succumb to the temptation of making our communication sound grander, more important, or somehow more “intellectual” than it really is. Too often, we want to show off. We want to revel in the thought that we know something about a subject that the reader does not. As a result, we gild the lily. We embellish, extrapolate and elaborate when – most often – what’s required is something simple. Most successful organizations in the world are able to distill their communicating down in a way that just about anyone can understand. Think of Apple, Nike, Disney, or Ben & Jerry’s and most people know what they do and what they’re about. The brand purpose, value articulation, or use case is clear for anyone (and everyone) to see. You don’t need a English or Science degree to get what they’re about. And nor should you. So, why do most companies continue to overly complicate their messaging? Because …

marketing with permission

Asking For Permission With Your Marketing

Gee Ranasinha Business, Marketing

Everyone hates advertising. If you’re like me, the instant the TV show you’re watching goes to a commercial break you almost unconsciously reach for the remote control to change the channel. We buy set-top boxes that allow us to record the TV that we want, while at the same type removing the advertising that we don’t want. We cut the cord and bypass cable / satellite TV altogether, opting instead for (usually) subscription-based streaming services. We are even willing to pay certain websites for the sole purpose of removing the advertising from our viewing experience. Our hatred of advertising seemingly has no bounds. The advertising industry’s response to get their product in front of our faces? They try to remove the choice – and add more advertising. They force us to watch ads at the beginning of web videos and DVD films that we can’t skip past. When we enabled pop-up window blockers in our browsers, they put the ads INSIDE the web pages themselves. But it wasn’t always like this. I remember when ad campaigns – both print and TV – were more creative, interesting and entertaining than many of the articles or shows that they served to punctuate. …

marketing, video, translation, traduction, InDesign,

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Gee Ranasinha Business, Communications, Marketing, PR, Sales, Social Media

Have you heard of the phrase “Do as I say, not as I do” ? Many business leaders have the right intentions, the right thoughts or the right motives to effect change, yet exclude themselves from the application of the directive. Yet, more often than not, change is only truly embraced when applied from the top downwards. Perhaps it’s implementing better interdepartmental communication. Or maybe a more consistent, strategized corporate or product message designed to permeate throughout the organization. Except the CEO – or the Sales Director, or the Customer Services Manager, or whoever – doesn’t think that this new thinking applies to them. They carry on improvising their sales presentations – or describing the product their own way, or emailing a distributor without cc’ing the appropriate territory manager – the way that they have always done. In other words, dutifully ignoring the carefully-crafted initiatives that, often, they were an integral part of devising in the first place. The result? Well, if my boss doesn’t bother to make the effort, why should I? Subordinates see that their bosses aren’t taking the new initiatives on board. Within a short space of time the best-laid plans of mice and men have collapsed. …

customers are lazy like this lazy dog

Customers Are Lazy

Gee Ranasinha Business, Customer Service

Regardless of the size of your company, customers are expecting it to be as easy to do business with you as with some of the biggest companies in the world.

hiring the right marketing resource

The Right Person For The Job

Gee Ranasinha Advertising, Communications, Customer Service, Marketing, Presentations, Social Media, Website

We often get inquiries from business owners or marketing people looking for help with a very specific issue. Perhaps they’re looking for someone to set-up and manage their PPC campaigns. Maybe they need a brochure redesigned, the writing and distribution of a press release, or help with their social media efforts. But let’s back up a touch. Each one of the above a very separate disciplines. Broadly-speaking, someone who’s an expert in pay-per-click advertising isn’t going to be able to design a brochure. At least, they won’t be able to do it as well as a someone who specializes in design. This is where things get a little foggy. All of the above job titles could come under the umbrella of ‘marketing’, but they don’t have to. All advertising, for example, is marketing. However all marketing isn’t advertising. Advertising, design, PR, and marketing are very different disciplines. However, far too often the job descriptions are exchanged and intermixed. Someone who’s great at web design, may not be so hot on allied competences such as SEO, CRO, or copywriting. Yes, they can design a kick-ass website for you. But when it comes to how well the site is seen on search …

fail to plan in business

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail

Gee Ranasinha Business, Marketing

If you fail to plan your business activities, outlook, and marketing, you shouldn’t be too surprised when you don’t get the results you had hoped for. As you’d expect from a marketing services company, we get a lot of inquiries – often more than 50 per week – from business owners looking for help with their marketing. While the first question most people ask is usually “how much is this going to cost me?”, my first priority is to understand the entire business position – why it exists at all. I need to be convinced that the business in question can not only stand on its own two feet, but can grow. If I can’t be convinced of that, then the conversation stops there. If we can’t get on board with a client’s business idea and associated business plan, we cannot get enthusiastic about the business – and that affects the quality of work that we do. What’s just as important is how the business owner in question views the subject of marketing their start-up or small business. How a marketing budget is decided, how it’s divided over a twelve-month calendar, and what business goals the marketing plan is meant …

crown on velvet cushion

It’s Not (Just) About Content

Gee Ranasinha Communications

Read the latest marketing books and blogs and you’ll be told that producing relevant, engaging content for your target markets is the way to get your brand noticed. But what if you’re producing top-drawer stuff, but no-one’s getting to see it? It can’t just be about content. If it was, we’d just have to product amazing stuff and people would find it. If we Build It, They Will Come, and all that. Content is important – of course it is. But content on its own only gets you so far. “Context” (sorting the wheat from the chaff – or ‘curation’ in today’s parlance), on the other hand, is certainly as important if not more important, than content. But there’s a bigger one: “Delivery.” We all know that the printed newspaper publishing industry is suffering a readership decline that few doubt will ever be reversed. Is that because newspapers are suddenly producing poor content? Not at all (well, apart from a few exceptions). Newspapers are suffering due to a combination of delivery method and cost. Why do I need to go and buy a printed newspaper – to read yesterday’s news – when I can read today’s news from my laptop …

choice for the customer

Spoilt for Choice

Gee Ranasinha Business, Communications, Marketing

One of our current clients originally came to us because they had run out of ideas on how they could be the best at what they did. They wanted our take on what we thought they needed to do to be the ‘only’ choice for their customers. The problem is, in just about any industry you care to name, there is always a choice for your customers. Being (in your opinion) better than everyone else isn’t enough nowadays. For example, I prefer Google Chrome as my web browser of choice (even if, more recently, I’ve been using the Brave browser for its speed and removal of cookies and trackers). However, I’m happy enough to use Safari on the (admittedly) rare occasions when a particular website doesn’t play so nicely with Chrome. Changing over to Safari is not a big deal to me. In the same way while I prefer Evian bottled water, if the restaurant only has Volvic it’s not a deal-breaker. You see where I’m going with this? It doesn’t matter whether what you’re selling is (as far as you’re concerned) ‘the best’. No matter what the product or service, there are other choices out there which, by and …

If We Build It, They Will Come

If We Build It, They Will Come

Gee Ranasinha Business

Whether it’s tradeshows, PR, social media or whatever else: today you need to be in the minds of your target market before the show starts.