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Three Tips to Conquer Big Projects Successfully

Conquer your big projectsEveryone has those certain projects that could overwhelm you if you let them. Those giant projects that tower over you and intimidate you before you even start.

I have been working on one of those of projects for the last couple of weeks and have three tips on how not only to handle them without losing your mind, but also conquer them successfully.

5 Tips to Help a Businesswoman Succeed in the Workplace...and Life

The Ladies of BLUIn the last decade, women have made great strides in business. Unfortunately, we usually have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously and we still only earn $.77 for every dollar a man makes. Many factors play into how a woman in business is perceived, and it's an obstacle that can be downright frustrating at times. Is it society's fault for creating stereotypes and engraving a false perception in our minds? Or are we to blame for feeding the perceptions with our actions?

Here at The BLU Group, we are constantly working on ways to improve ourselves as business professionals and are fortunate enough to have the tools and resources to do it. From observation, experience, loads of advice, and constructive criticism, I have developed 5 tips for business professionals (particularly women just entering their field) to learn and live by:

Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Client When Printing a Brochure

Printing questionsTo help ensure a smooth start to your projects I have developed a series of questions to ask your clients when beginning a new project. In my previous post, ‘Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Client Before Designing a Brochure’, I discussed - you guessed it - the best questions to ask your client when beginning the design and development of a brochure. As every Account Executive or Project Manager probably knows, the project isn’t over when the client approves the creative. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the top 5 questions to ask when moving into the next stage of the project - printing.  

1. Do you have a preferred printer? – Often times a pre-existing relationship exists with a printer the client has worked with in the past. If that is not the case, let the client know that you have several printing partners and will recommend the one that would be best suited for the job, keeping in mind price, quality, and niche.

Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Client Before Designing a Brochure

5 Top Brochure QuestionsHave you ever looked back and realized you should have asked a question that you didn't? When you have a busy day that can change at the drop of a hat it's easy to let something slip your mind. However, as an Account Executive or Project Manager, nothing should get by you. Having to go back and ask questions you should have during the initial meeting, takes valuable time away from your day and may diminish your credibility with the client.

To help ensure a smooth start to each of your projects, I've put together a series of lists of questions to ask your clients when beginning a new project. Since there are a variety of different projects you will be managing, let's start with one of the most basic – the brochure (future blog posts will address other projects). For the purpose of this post, I will be talking about the design and development of the brochure. Look for my post next week to read about printing it.

1. What is the purpose of the brochure? – Be sure you understand what the goals of the piece are and what the company wants it to say about them. The answers to these questions will give direction to the creative team.

You Get What You Pay For

Hairstyle - Quality and PricingRecently, I wanted to get my hair dyed. My friends told me to go to a professional salon, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. I opted to go somewhere cheaper (we will call it Salon X), despite all the warnings I received. I now fully understand the phrase, “you get what you pay for”.

Because I “cheaped out” and went with Salon X, I ended up with a mop of discolored hair that will cost me more time and money to fix than it would have if I had gone to a professional the first time. Working at an advertising agency, I meet a lot of clients who are trying to grow their business. Many times, they are impressed with what we have done for previous clients, amazed at our capabilities, and want to work with us. Yet, when it comes down to talking about budgets, many of them “cheap out”.

Not wanting to pay for quality the first time around, they go to a cheaper option that offers the work for half the price, and then are disappointed with the end result. Many times they come back to The BLU Group to have us fix what the previous company did for them. Had these people looked up the definition of the word “cheap” in the first place, they would have found it to be described as “small value”. Ding ding ding! We found the connection between quality and pricing.

Cold Calling and Overcoming the Fear of Failure, Mistakes, and Rejection

A woman making cold calls.Entering into a new position at any job brings excitement, joy, and a little bit of fear. If your new job has anything to do with sales, marketing or growing the company you work for, you will most likely be asked to make a cold call or two.

As an Account Executive at an Advertising Agency with small-medium size businesses as clients, one of my most recent tasks has been to grow our base and reach out to potential bigger clients through, you guessed it, cold calling.

Through this experience I have learned a few things about myself, cold calling, and how to be a better business woman. Most importantly, I was able to overcome the following hurdles:

1. Fear of the Unknown: One of the worst parts about cold calling is that you don’t know how the person on the other line will respond. Will they laugh and hang up? Will they be rude and condescending? Or will they actually be interested and ask you questions you weren’t prepared to answer? Whatever the case may be you have to put aside your fear of not knowing and just pick up the phone.

Working as an Intern at The BLU Group – Advertising and Marketing

Mackenzie Hautala, Intern ExtraordinaireHave you ever stepped out of your comfort zone by working in an unfamiliar environment? If so, how did it feel? As a student I was involved with numerous activities and internships that were in my comfort zone. When I got an advertising and marketing internship with The BLU Group, I was unsure if I could succeed in this environment because I did not have any sales experience and only introductory knowledge of marketing concepts.

As a Communication Studies student, there is no direct path towards a career. Through trial and error you find your niche and work towards that goal. For me, that has been quite hard to figure out. I have changed what I have wanted to do several times during my college career. I’ve thought about sports, healthcare, management, and getting started in the music industry. However, I never thought about the opportunities there are with marketing.

Working with Small Businesses – A Love/Hate Relationship from an Ad Agency’s Perspective

Frustrated businessman.The BLU Group – Advertising and Marketing has been in business for 8 ½ years. We are a full-service ad agency that got its start in a basement and now serve a variety of niches, particularly small businesses in a particular region. Without these small businesses, there would be no BLU, but as we continue to evolve as an agency, look to expand our reach into larger markets, and grow our bottom line, our dedication to helping small, or more appropriately, micro businesses becomes more difficult.

Micro and small businesses (under 30 employees for the purpose of this post) are wonderful to work with for a variety of reasons. Here are our top 3:

Color Resources for Designers

Pantone Color BookOur world is a colorful place. We are able to see millions of colors. Color metaphors such as "seeing red" or "paint the town red" abound in many languages. We all have favorite colors and colors we look good in. It's no wonder color plays a huge role in design and marketing.

If you Google color psychology you'll get over 5 million results. Lucy Neuberger, Brand Designer at The BLU Group, wrote an article about The Impact of Color - In Graphic Design...and Life which does an excellent job of summarizing the meanings of colors. Searching for color theory returns a similar amount of information.

Large corporations go to great lengths to research color so they make good branding decisions regarding their products. And good designers in agencies large and small, have an understanding of color psychology and theory and use it in their design. But even with a solid base of color knowledge, it can sometimes be a challenge to come up with a color palette for a new logo or brand refresh from the millions of colors available. To meet this challenge I turn to my favorite go-to color resources.

Creating an “Edge” over your Competitors on Facebook

Competitive EdgeHave you ever wondered why your Facebook posts don’t show up on the wall of all your fans? You post a photo or status update, and see at the bottom left corner of the post that only 200 people saw it.  You know you have 500 fans, who in turn have on average 300+ friends. How did your post only reach 200 people? Well my friends, let me introduce you to a little tool called EdgeRank Checker.

EdgeRank Checker, created by the geniuses at Facebook, uses an algorithm to rank posts in the Facebook News Feed. Business pages that have a high EdgeRank score have a better chance of showing up in your news feed than pages with low EdgeRank score. That’s right; Facebook controls and dictates who gets to see your posts, so it’s important to follow the three variables that control your overall score.

The first variable is affinity, which is concerned with the relationship between User and Page, and is a measure of the interactions that exist between the two. Examples of interactions that Facebook considers are:

  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Clicks (on links, photos, etc.)
  • Shares
  • Wall Posts
  • Mentions

Basically anytime there is engagement between a business’s page and a fan of that page, affinity exists and is measured.