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crafting brand experiences
for the modern audience.
We are Fame Foundry.

See our work. Read the Fame Foundry magazine.

We love our clients.

Fame Foundry seeks out bold brands that wish to engage their public in sincere, evocative ways.

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Platforms for racing in the 21st century.

Fame Foundry puts the racing experience in front of millions of fans, steering motorsports to the modern age.

“Fame Foundry created something never seen before, allowing members to interact in new ways and providing them a central location to call their own. It also provides more value to our sponsors than we have ever had before.”

—Ryan Newman

Technology on the track.

Providing more than just web software, our management systems enhance and reinforce a variety of services by different racing organizations which work to evolve the speed, efficiency, and safety measures, aiding their process from lab to checkered flag.

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Setting the pace across 44 states.

With over 1100 locations, thousands of products, and millions of transactions, Shoe Show creates a substantial retail footprint in shoe sales.

The sole of superior choice.

With over 1100 locations, thousands of products, and millions of transactions, Shoe Show creates a substantial retail footprint in shoe sales.

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The contemporary online pharmacy.

Medichest sets a new standard, bringing the boutique experience to the drug store.

Integrated & Automated Marketing System

All the extensive opportunities for public engagement are made easily definable and effortlessly automated.

Scheduled promotions, sales, and campaigns, all precisely targeted for specific demographics within the whole of the Medichest audience.

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Home Design & Decor Magazine offers readers superior content on designer home trends on any device.

  • By selectively curating the very best from their individual markets, each localized catalog comes to exhibit the trending, pertinent visual flavors specific to each region.

  • Beside the swaths of inspirational home photography spreads, Home Design & Decor provides exhaustive articles and advice by proven professionals in home design.

  • The art of home ingenuity always dances between the timeless and the experimental. The very best in these intersecting principles offer consistent sources of modern innovation.

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  • Post a need on behalf of yourself, a family member or your community group, whether you need volunteers or funds to support your cause.

  • Search by location, expertise and date, and connect with people in your very own community who need your time and talents.

  • Start your own Neighborhood or Group Page and create a virtual hub where you can connect and converse about the things that matter most to you.

December 2016
By Kimberly Barnes

Going the Distance: Four Ways to Build a Better Customer Loyalty Program for Your Brand

Loyalty programs are no longer a novelty. That means that yesterday’s strategies won’t work moving forward, so look for ways to rise above the noise, setting yourself apart from the cloying drone of countless other cookie-cutter programs.
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Going the Distance: Four Ways to Build a Better Customer Loyalty Program for Your Brand

article-thedistance-lg It’s easy enough for a customer to join your loyalty program, especially when you’re offering an incentive such as discounts. All your customer has to do is give out some basic information, and voila! They’re in the fold, a brand new loyalty member with your company. From there, it’s happily ever after. You offer the perks; they stand solidly by you, bringing you their continued business. Simple. Or is it? In reality, just how many of those customers are act ively participating in your loyalty program? Do you know? Sure, loyalty program memberships are on the rise according to market research company eMarketer, having jumped 25 percent in the space of just two years. However, that figure may be a bit misleading. The truth is that, while loyalty program sign-ups may be more numerous, active participation in such programs is actually in decline. At the time of the study, the average US household had memberships in 29 loyalty programs; yet consumers were only active in 12 of those. That’s just 41 percent. And even that meager figure represents a drop of 2 percentage points per year over each of the preceding four years, according to a study by loyalty-marketing research company COLLOQUY.

When discounts just aren’t enough

So what’s a brand to do? How can you make your loyalty program worth your customer’s while—as well as your own? After all, gaining a new loyalty member doesn’t mean much if your customer isn’t actively participating in your program. Consider this: Does your customer loyalty program offer members anything different from what your competitors are offering? Chances are your program includes discounts. That’s a given. And what customer doesn’t appreciate a good discount? But when every other company out there is providing this staple benefit in comparable amounts, it becomes less and less likely that customers will remain loyal to any one particular brand. Frankly, it’s all too easy for customers to get lost in a sea of loyalty member discounts. They’re everywhere. In fact, just under half of internet users perceive that all rewards programs are alike, according to a 2015 eMarketer survey. The key to success, then, is to differentiate your business from the crowd. If you can offer your customers something unique and valuable beyond the usual discount, chances are they’ll be more likely to stick with your brand. Here’s some inspiration from companies who get it.

Virgin: Reward more purchases with more benefits.

That’s not to say you need to get rid of discounts entirely. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Customers still love a good discount. The goal is to be creative in terms of the loyalty perks you offer. Take the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, for example. As part of its loyalty program, the airline allows members to earn miles and tier points. Members are inducted at the Club Red tier, from which they can move up to Club Silver and then Club Gold. Here, it’s not just a discount. It’s status. And people respond to feeling important, elite. Still, even where the rewards themselves are concerned, Virgin is motivating loyalty customers with some pretty attractive offers. At the Club Red tier, members earn flight miles and receive discounts on rental cars, airport parking, hotels and holiday flights. But as members rise in tiers, they get even more. At the Club Silver tier, members earn 50 percent more points on flights, access to expedited check-in, and priority standby seating. And once they reach the top, Club Gold members receive double miles, priority boarding and access to exclusive clubhouses where they can get a drink or a massage before their flight. Now that’s some serious incentive to keep coming back for more. Discounts are still part of the equation – but they are designed with innovation and personal value in mind, elevating them to more than just savings.

Amazon Prime: Pay upfront and become a VIP.

What if your customers only had to pay a one-time upfront fee to get a year’s worth of substantial benefits? It may not sound like the smartest business idea at first glance. But take a closer look. Amazon Prime users pay a nominal $99 a year to gain free, two-day shipping on millions of products with no minimum purchase. And that’s just one benefit of going Prime. It’s true that Amazon loses $1-2 billion a year on Prime. This comes as no surprise given the incredible value the program offers. But get this: Amazon makes up for its losses in markedly higher transaction frequency. Specifically, Prime members spend an average of $1,500 a year on Amazon.com, compared with $625 spent by non-Prime users, a ccording to a 2015 report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Patagonia: Cater to customer values.

Sometimes, the draw for consumers isn’t saving money or getting a great deal. The eco-friendly outdoor clothing company Patagonia figured this out back in 2011, when it partnered with eBay to launch its Common Threads Initiative: a program that allows customers to resell their used Patagonia clothing via the company’s website. Why is this program important to customers? And how does it benefit Patagonia? The company’s brand embraces environmental and social responsibility, so it was only fitting that they create a platform for essentially recycling old clothing rather than merely throwing it away. The Common Threads Initiative helps Patagonia build a memorable brand and fierce loyalty by offering its customers a cause that aligns with deep personal values. OK, so their customers get to make a little money, too. Everybody wins.

American Airlines: Gamify your loyalty program.

If you’re going to offer your customers a loyalty program, why not make it f un? After all, engagement is key to building a strong relationship with your customer. And what better way to achieve that goal than making a game of it. American Airlines had this very thing in mind when it created its AAdvantage Passport Challenge following its merger with USAirways. The goal: find a new way to engage customers as big changes were underway. Using a custom Facebook application, American Airlines created a virtual passport to increase brand awareness while offering members a chance to earn bonus points. Customers earned these rewards through a variety of game-like activities, from answering trivia questions to tracking travel through a personalized dashboard. In the end, participants earned more than 70 percent more stamps than expected – and the airline saw a ROI of more than 500 percent. The takeaway: people like games.

Stand out from the crowd.

Your approach to your customer loyalty program should align with your overall marketing approach. Effective branding is about standing out, not blending it. Being memorable is key. To this end, keep in mind that loyalty programs are no longer a novelty. That means that yesterday’s strategies won’t work moving forward, so look for ways to rise above the noise, setting yourself apart from the cloying drone of countless other cookie-cutter programs.

608 Getting attention in the age of distraction

How to make sure your ads are getting noticed and getting results.

June 2016
By Jeremy Girard

Small Changes, Big Impact: 5 Things You Can (and Should!) Do Today to Boost Your Website’s Performance

There’s no time like the present to implement these quick fixes and reap the rewards for months to come.
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Small Changes, Big Impact: 5 Things You Can (and Should!) Do Today to Boost Your Website’s Performance

artice-smallchanges-lg Every spring it happens like clockwork: the temperatures get warmer, the days get longer and everything in nature becomes more vibrant and colorful. Along with these changes in the great outdoors comes the irresistible urge to clean house and embrace a fresh start. Why not keep that motivational momentum going and apply it to your business – and, more specifically, to your website – as well? After all, there’s no time like the present to sweep away the old and outdated and bring in fresh new ideas and technologies. But you don’t necessarily need to dive head-first into a full redesign and all of the time and expense that entails to reap measurable results. Instead, here are five small steps you can – and should! – take today to ensure that your site is up-to-date, relevant and doing all it can to bring you new customers and grow the community around your brand:

1. Reposition your contact form.

For most website owners – especially those in service-based businesses such as law, accounting, consulting, real estate, etc. – the key “win” for their site is when it motivates a visitor to request more information or schedule a meeting. Contact forms are a ubiquitous website staple intended to provide a convenient – and highly measurable – avenue to initiate communication between an interested prospect and a company. However, perhaps because they are so commonplace, all too often these forms are given little strategic thought, resulting in a cookie-cutter name/email address/phone number format that yields more bogus spam submissions than legitimate new business opportunities. However, there is one simple change you can make that has been shown to get better results: reposition your standard “Contact us” form as an “Ask our experts” feature. By doing so, you shift the focus of the form to providing your visitors with an opportunity to submit a question that is specific to their needs and concerns. Rather than feeling like they are opening themselves up to an endless barrage of solicitation calls and emails, your visitors will sense that they are initiating a dialogue with an expert who will help them solve their particular problem. Make sure to respond to all inquiries within 24 hours, provide helpful advice that is free of charge and tailored to your prospect’s situation, and leave the door open to continue the conversation in a future meeting or phone call. By doing so, you will establish an important foundation of trust and confidence with your potential new client that will make them more inclined to engage your professional services. expert I have personally seen the submission rates on these types of forms increase dramatically. On one site where this small change was implemented, form submissions jumped from one or two per week to one or two per day – all legitimate business opportunities that were sparked simply by repositioning the focus of the form.

2. Productize your offering.

Another challenge that professional services organizations face in creating a website that works as an effective customer conversion engine is that they do not sell a specific product but rather a suite of services that can be customized to each client’s specific needs. This makes it terribly hard to market to visitors who come to their site and simply want to know “What exactly does this company sell, and how much does it cost?”. Because there are so many variables to the company’s offerings, there is not a quick and easy answer to these questions. If this challenge sounds familiar to you, one approach you can try is to “productize” what you have to offer. Create a bundle of services with a fixed price, and market that package on your site in a simple, straightforward manner that makes your offering easy to understand and helps visitors feel like doing business with your company is as simple as buying a product off the shelf at a store. package This is exactly what my company did with some of the technology consulting services that we offer. Instead of only listing the array of services we provide, we also created a product that representing a very specific offering. This made it so much easier to answer the “What do you sell?” question, and it gave us something tangible to promote in our marketing campaigns. In reality, this approach in no way limited the range of services we are able to offer our clients; rather, it merely served as a vehicle to open doors to new opportunities and made it easier to start conversations with new customers for whom we could ultimately provide a custom-tailored solution. Examine the services that you offer, and work with your marketing team to create an appealing package that you can market – understanding all the while that this “product” is really just a means for you to connect with customers and begin the sales process with something tangible that they can easily understand.

3. Lose your home page carousel.

One simple change that I have seen many websites make in the past year or so is to remove animated image carousels from their home pages. These carousels have long been a popular fixture of website design, but the reality is that they can sometimes do more harm than good. Home page carousels typically feature giant, screen-spanning images which carry with them heavy download requirements both for the images and for the scripts that power the animation sequences, thereby creating a potential stumbling block in performance for users on mobile devices or with slower connections. Additionally, studies have shown that click-through rates on animated carousels are extremely low, and they drop significantly from the first slide to the subsequent ones. This is why many companies are replacing rotating carousels with a singular static message instead. This one change can greatly reduce a page’s download size (when my company did this on our home page, its file size decreased by 75 percent) while having little to no effect on actual user engagement or click-through. In fact, because the page now loads more quickly, many sites actually see an uptick in user engagement because fewer people are abandoning a site due to poor performance. image Do you have a carousel on your website? If so, do you know whether or not it is working well for you? Your marketing team may be able to do some A/B testing between a version of your site with this animation feature and one without it to see which performs better. Since carousels do work well for some sites (like news organizations or sites with lots of frequently updated content), having this data can help you determine whether or not it’s time to ditch the carousel.

4. Update your image(s).

Stock photography is something of a necessary evil of website design, as more often than not, companies don’t have the budget to execute a full-fledged custom professional photo shoot. However, not all stock images are created equal. Stock photos that are overused or that look so obviously staged that they scream of their “stockiness” can cheapen a site’s design and leave visitors with a negative overall impression of the site. Replacing those images can make a big difference in a site’s visual appeal. If your site’s imagery is stale, you can make some simple image swaps to freshen it up. If you are going to change out old stock images for new stock images, make sure to seek out photos that feel fresh and that are not terribly overused (most stock photo sites will tell you how many times an image has been downloaded). An even better option is to try to add some unique imagery to your site. This could be photographs that you hire a professional to take or – in keeping with one of this year’s hottest trends – custom illustrations that you commission from an artist. illustration If your budget is tight, incorporating even just one or two such one-of-a-kind images in key spots on your site can really boost its visual impact. For instance, if you lose that aforementioned carousel on the home page and replace it with one truly compelling static image and message, it can make a really powerful first impression on your visitors.

5. Publish less.

Most experts agree that publishing original, value-add content on your site on a regular basis is key to optimizing its success – both from a sales and marketing standpoint and as an advantage in the never-ending battle of SEO. While I agree with this approach in principal, for many companies, the drive to publish regularly has resulted in putting out mediocre content simply to meet an inflexible standard of frequency. This is often an entirely counterproductive effort, as content that lacks in quality, original thought or value for the reader reflects poorly on the organization and its perceived level of expertise. Publishing original content to your site on a regular basis is still a best practice, but that content must offer value for it to succeed. Let’s say a visitor comes to your site and is impressed to find that you publish new articles weekly or monthly; however, once they click through the headline to see what they can glean from your writing, if what they find is mediocre at best, what motivation do they have to return to your site again in the future, let alone entrust you with their hard-earned dollars? If, on the other hand, you publish new content less frequently, but everything you produce is of the highest quality, then that same visitor will know that the time they spend on your site will always be worth their while, and they will look forward to the next time you post something new. Re-examine your current content marketing strategy, and ask yourself whether you are focused on quality or frequency. If it’s the latter, commit instead to writing less but to improving the quality of what you offer on your site. While this change may not have an immediate impact, it will absolutely yield long-term results that your visitors will appreciate and respond positively to.

In closing

Eventually, your website will need a redesign, but in the meantime you can make small, strategic, surgical changes that will pay immediate dividends in your site’s success. This approach of implementing gradual but regular modifications will also benefit you when it does come time for that full redesign. By making intelligent improvements over time, you will ultimately be closer to your end goal, leaving less to accomplish with the redesign and thereby paving the way for a smoother and less costly project.
January 2016
By Jeremy Girard

Seven Ways to Shed Weight Fast!...For Your Website

This year, resolve to trim the excess baggage that’s slowing your site’s performance – and possibly sinking its search ranking.
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Seven Ways to Shed Weight Fast!...For Your Website

article_shedweight-lgWith the holiday season and all of its excesses in the rearview mirror, for many of us, our thoughts turn next to resolution-making, specifically vowing to shed the extra pounds that are the collective result of any number of regrettable dietary choices made over the course of past months, from digging into the kids’ trick-or-treating bags to raiding the fridge for Thanksgiving leftovers to a daily egg nog latte habit. But while we’re in resolution-making mode, we’d do well to think not only about how to trim our waistlines but also how to slim down our websites. Why? Just like all those little culinary indulgences add up to extra pounds on our bodies, the small additions you might have made here and there on your website can weigh it down and leave its performance in the same type of sluggish slump as you might feel after one too many pieces of grandma’s pumpkin pie.

The problem

Today’s websites have become bloated, with the average web page tipping the scales at over 2 megabytes. That may not sound like much in an era when we’re well accustomed to talking in terms of gigabytes and even terabytes. However, when it comes to the Web, even 2 megabytes is too much, especially for visitors using low bandwidth or mobile devices, who are likely to leave your site rather than wait for a too-slow page to load, leaving you in the perilous position of losing their business altogether. Hefty page weight and poor performance can also have a negative impact on your site’s search ranking, as Google and other search engines now include these elements as key factors in their algorithms. As a result, streamlining the size of your web pages is certainly a best practice, but where do you begin? Just as shedding pounds requires you to make changes in multiple aspects of your lifestyle, there are a number of aspects of your website that you can examine to find ways to trim the unnecessary dead weight that’s detrimental your site’s performance.

Your seven-step plan for website weight-loss success

1. Optimize images.

As giant, screen-spanning images have become a popular trend in website design, pages have gotten heavier and heavier over the years. One way you can make a drastic reduction in the weight of your web pages is to ensure that the images on your site are properly optimized for the Web and that you’re not serving unnecessarily large images to mobile devices with small screen sizes.

2. Retool HTML files.

HTML files also impact the download size of a page, so look for ways to optimize the code to reduce the overall size of the file. Although these savings are likely to be small, remember that even small changes can add up to measurable improvements.

3. Streamline style sheets.

Because CSS files must be downloaded in order for a user to view your site, poorly formatted files or loading of unnecessary styles can increase the size of downloads. Requiring multiple style sheets can also have a negative impact on performance, since each one will require a separate HTTP request to fetch that file.

4. Ditch JavaScript where possible.

Using JavaScript files or libraries is a common practice in modern website design, but when it comes to optimizing page download size, there are a few drawbacks to this approach. First, requiring an entire library for just one effect (like an animated carousel of images) is not the best use of bandwidth. It can also lead to a critical user experience fail if your website does not work as intended because a visitor has elected to disable JavaScript in their browser. In some cases, JavaScript may be necessary, but be sure to make the distinction between when it is truly a must-have versus when it is simply a nice-to-have feature.

5. Use Web fonts sparingly.

The rise of Web fonts has given designers much more flexibility in their application of typography on the Web. Instead of being forced to select from only a handful of Web-safe fonts, Web fonts allow new typefaces to be included with a site’s files or linked from a third-party resource, such as Google Fonts or Adobe’s Typekit service. While these solutions have greatly increased the options available to designers, they can also significantly impact the performance of a web page. Font files must be downloaded with the page, so it is important to keep these to a minimum. Requiring three or four different weights of one font may be attractive from a visual standpoint, but it will be brutal from a file size perspective.

6. Eliminate external feeds whenever possible.

Content that is pumped in from other sites, including social media feeds and ads from by a third-party provider, will absolutely slow a website down, as external feeds are notorious bandwidth hogs. While these resources are sometimes necessary, their use should be limited as much as possible.

7. Check for CMS dependencies.

If your site uses a content management system, there are likely to be aspects of that CMS and how it is configured that play a role in performance. Since CMS platforms draw their content from a database, the calls to that database can slow the download speed of your page if there are too many of them or if they are not configured properly.

Know your numbers

Just as you need a scale to help you gauge your progress toward your target weight, you also need tools to help you measure the impact the steps you’ve taken above have made in improving the performance of your website. The Website Speed Test from Dotcom Monitor is a great tool that allows you to “instantly test your website speed in real browsers from 23 locations worldwide.” This application will not only tell you how large your page is but also measure its load time and reveal which elements contribute most to its size (similar tests are also available from Google). Armed with this data, you can charge forth with confidence, knowing that your website will soon be a leaner, meaner business growth machine – no fad diets or gym memberships required!
February 2015
By Carey Arvin

The Anti-Super Bowl Ad: How to Be a World-Champion Marketer Every Day of the Year

Why be content to create one big splash and then settle for 364 days of irrelevance? Instead, make every day of the year count in building and strengthening your relationships with your customers.
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The Anti-Super Bowl Ad: How to Be a World-Champion Marketer Every Day of the Year


So you don’t have the budget for a major celebrity endorsement from the likes of Pierce Brosnan or Brett Favre or even Kim Kardashian. And you don’t have the creative firepower to produce the heart-tugging epic of an adventurous puppy and his friends the Clydesdales. Lucky you.

Why? Because you have something far greater at your disposal.

Super Bowl ads and super-sized budgets: Who needs ‘em?

The Super Bowl might be the most-talked about moment in marketing every year. But that’s just it: after a week of speculation leading up to the big game and a couple of days of chatter after, all of those big-budget blockbusters quickly fade away into yesterday’s news.

Ultimately, Super Bowl ads fail the test of good modern marketing.

Think about the one quality almost all Super Bowl ads have in common: They may be funny. They may be sexy. They may be clever. They may be controversial. But at the end of the day, they are all designed to entertain. The Super Bowl – and everything surrounding it – is about over-the-top, in-your-face, entertainment. And therefore, the commercials that air in between plays in the NFL’s ultimate game and the pyrotechnics-infused half-time show have a lot to compete with to win our attention. Therefore, their only hope is to grab us and keep us entertained for 30 seconds.

While surely many of these spots will succeed in making us laugh or awww or even roll our eyes, that’s where their impact ends. They are too far removed from the products they are meant to promote to make any real connection with the audience. They don’t tell us anything meaningful about the brand. They don’t make a promise that we can evaluate to gauge the company’s merits against its competitors’. They don’t provide any content of substance to solidify our trust in the name behind the hoopla. Therefore, ultimately, they fail the test of good modern marketing.

The anti-Super Bowl advertiser’s playbook

For those of us mere mortals who are tasked with growing a brand without the coins to drop $4.5 million for the privilege of being adjacent to a mega moment in pop culture for 30 seconds, there’s no need to bemoan our lack of deep pockets. Why? Because we have a much more powerful set of weaponry in our arsenal.

In today's marketplace, the only valid currency is trust.

In today’s marketplace, which is one founded by, built by and existing for the people, trust is the only valid currency. And trust isn’t built through entertainment. Trust is built brick by brick, day by day, by companies that work hard, communicate honestly, deliver reliably and provide value beyond expectation.

Here are the seven commandments of trust-building that you must practice 365 days a year to conquer your market:

1. Have a purpose.

Your products are not your purpose. No matter what you sell, you have a greater reason for being than completing transactions and making the cash register ring.

Your company exists because you provide a product or service that meets a need or solves a problem. Focus on what it is about your offering that makes your customers’ lives easier, better or more fulfilled. Center everything you are, everything you do and everything you say around serving that purpose.

2. Build a relatable personality.

Stop trying to be a capital-B Brand. The capital-B Brands of the world are the Nikes, the Coca-Colas, the McDonald’s and the Apples of the world: instantly recognizable with a mere glance at their logo – or even their signature colors.

Your brand is more than your icon. Your brand is shaped by the values that define every interaction you have with your customers. Your brand is a mosaic of your people, and as such, it should be inherently human with genuine human qualities.

Don’t approach your customers as a Brand. Approach them from the perspective of someone who understands their needs and wants to solve their problems and make their life easier.

3. Communicate value.

Less than half of consumers trust paid advertising (down about 25% since 2009, according to Nielsen), which just goes to prove that useless, empty marketing content is useless, no matter how comedically, sexily or outrageously it’s dressed.

Today’s consumers are starved for meaning, transparency and utility. So when you communicate with them, forget the flash and focus on the substance. Create content that stands the test of time and provides genuine value, not just a lot of noise.

4. Be present – on every screen, not just the big one.

Wherever it is that your customers live, that’s where you should be. If they’re on Facebook, be on Facebook. If they’re on Twitter, start tweeting.

Listen. Contribute to the conversation – and not just when it serves your needs. Be helpful.

Above all else, be real. Don’t approach the conversation as a self-motivated, faceless corporate salesperson. Come to serve the community and its goals. Be yourself – a person with a budget, family, needs, problems and passions just like everyone else.

Read more: Mastering Tribe Marketing

5. Invest in your existing customers as much as you invest in acquiring new ones.

Never underestimate the value of loyalty. It costs much less to keep a customer than to win over a new one. And if you’re really good, you can turn your customers into fans that will serve as evangelists for your brand and do your marketing for you.

6. Make waves.

Commit to your story. Own your point of view. Don’t be afraid to risk alienating a few people in exchange for being loved by your core customers.

Doing things as they’ve always been done is comfortable and safe. You’re not going to offend anyone. But you’re not going to inspire anyone, either. Everyone who likes you one day can be gone the next. But people who love you stand by you.

In every industry and in every market, there is the opportunity to be revolutionary. Give the tribe of people who share a passion for what you do something meaningful to rally around. Show them that you understand them and you care about meeting their needs.

Draw a line in the sand. Demonstrate what you stand for. Be equally proud of what you are and what you are not.

Be bold. Be unapologetic. Be arrogant if that’s what it takes.

It shows passion. It shows conviction. It’s better than being imminently forgettable.

Let go of the safety net of liking. Make waves of love and hate. You’ll make the choice for your customers an easy one every time.

Read more: Death by Liking

7. Deliver.

To borrow the words of Steve Jobs, “Real artists ship.” At the end of the day, action is your best advertising. Every interaction you have with your customers is a chance to move the chains – either to advance toward the goal line of winning their trust or to lose yardage in the fight.

Action is your best advertising.

Don’t go over the top with your advertising. Do go above and beyond in delivering on your promises – every single time without fail.

It all comes down to this: You may never be a Super Bowl advertiser. But you can most certainly become a world-champion trust-builder. And that’s a title that pays dividends 365 days a year.

Read more: What Are You Doing to Move the Chains?

October 2012
By Kendra Gaines

Why Design Affects Your Bottom Line

Good design may be hard to quantify, but its power to build trust, create desire and motivate action is indisputable.
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Why Design Affects Your Bottom Line


In the numbers-driven world of business, it’s easy to undervalue design.

To someone who’s responsible for closing sales and meeting growth projections, design probably seems like a superfluous luxury. It’s the pretty wrappings. It’s the fancy bells and whistles. It’s the little niceties. But it’s not going to make or break the success of your business.

Or is it?

Humans are visual creatures. As such, design is one of the first and most important ways that a potential customer experiences your brand. From your website to the package on the store shelf to your products themselves, design plays a role in every decision that customer makes – from whether your company is trustworthy to whether they need and want what you have to offer to whether or not they are going to shell out their hard-earned dollars to buy it.

What you’re left with, then, is an indisputable fact: design has a direct effect on your bottom line.

Building trust

Imagine this scene: You go into a doctor’s office, and there are nothing but sick patients in the waiting room. The tile on the floor is cracked and dirty, and the chairs and side tables are tattered and torn. There’s an unidentifiable but unpleasant smell lingering in the air. The receptionist has a bit of an attitude. When she finally calls you back to meet the doctor, he’s wearing a stained lab coat, and his hair is disheveled. Do you really trust him with your health?

Does that scenario sound extreme? It’s no more drastic than the visceral negative reaction you create in a prospective customer when your website, packaging, brochures and business cards are poorly designed and show a lack of attention to detail.

Just as the doctor in our hypothetical situation may be a brilliant medical professional, it’s hard to see past the poor image conveyed by his office, his staff and even his own physical appearance to trust in his expertise.

Similarly, you may have a great product, but new customers aren’t going to be open to trying it because it doesn’t look like it’s worth their money. There’s too great a disconnect between the quality you claim and the quality of the tangible items they can see right in front of their very eyes.

To put it plainly, if you do not value your image, customers will not, either.

Creating desire

Today’s world is one of choice and variety. Anytime there’s a purchase decision to be made, the options are nearly limitless.

For example, let’s say you’re planning to buy a new laptop, and you’re trying to decide between a Mac, Sony Vaio, Acer and Toshiba. They’re all well-known brands, and if you get down to the nuts and bolts of their features and benefits, they’re fairly indistinguishable from one another. Even the differences in price aren’t enough to sway you.

So how do you decide which one to buy? You go with your gut feeling.

That gut feeling is nothing more than a reaction that’s governed by emotion rather than logic. Design plays a key role in driving that emotional connection between human beings and inanimate objects like laptops. It’s what makes us attach ourselves to certain brands because we like what owning or using them says about us.

Maybe you liked the feel of the Sony in your hands, or perhaps you liked the external casing on the Acer. Maybe you just like the image of yourself sitting at a Starbucks with that universally recognizable Apple logo on your laptop. No matter what strikes your fancy, it all goes back to design.

A good designer can pinpoint what it is that evokes a certain emotional reaction from an individual and translate that into visual images that help to forge a connection.

You have to ask yourself what’s sexy about your product and how to convey that in a way that creates desire. Perhaps you want your customers to feel a sense of freedom when they use your product. Or maybe you want your product to be associated with elite professionals. It’s all possible through well planned and executed design.

As hard as they may be to define, emotions and gut feelings drive buying decisions, and good design can sway those decisions in your favor.

Influence and motivate action

Really good design puts your customers in the palm of your hand. It analyzes problems and creates solutions that can influence the actions of your audience.

How? By steering and directing their actions in ways that work at an almost sub-conscious level.

Principles of design like visual hierarchy and balance ensure that people see exactly what you want them to see.

Think about how you process a typical web page as a user. Your eye is drawn to certain images and colors on the page. It follows visual cues from one element to the next. It skims big, bold headings to glean what the page is about.

When you’re on the other side of the screen, you need to make sure that all of these elements are working in your favor to put you in control and in a position to achieve the outcome that is most beneficial to your business and your growth objectives. Good design will make it happen.