Reimagining Business

Change is interesting on every level. I’ve heard that public speaking is the #1 fear, even more so than death. My experience with business owners and corporate execs tends to indicate that change is even more frightening.

We soften the concept of change by calling it innovation. Still, innovation seems to be interesting mostly if someone else is doing it. When it comes to your own doorstep, as in you have to learn or do something differently now, it loses it’s sparkle.

There are a few companies who recognize that business must systemically and fundamentally change in order to be relevant and sustainable going forward. These are the brave ones, the committed leaders who’ve embraced the understanding that all business is ultimately human business and as such, must appeal to the higher nature inherent in humanity.

The old days of simply looking at bottom lines and profit margins for maximizing revenue is over. People, at an increasing rate, are choosing to do business for nobler reasons and are voting for attention to human values with their dollars. They have figured out that lower prices for them may mean hardship for others or a manufacturing process that is unhealthy for workers and/or the environment. In other words, low cost may be more expensive than anyone wants to pay.

The companies that don’t want to change will ultimately be forced to accept their responsibility to society and the environment (either by loss of sales, government regulation, or public disgrace, etc) or they will cease to exist.

It’s time to reimagine business. Do good while doing business. Make it a part of your business model, your processes, your supply chain, your people, your services and products. Perhaps you need to chuck the status quo and even daydream a little bit. What should a company looked like that actually cared about the people it impacts?

The business leaders that ask that question and make the changes necessary today will be the true leaders of tomorrow.

Success Requires Business with Higher Ideals

In 2008, Jim Stengel left his prestigious role as global marketing officer at Proctor & Gamble to start on a new mission sharing his passion for growing business through a focus on higher ideals. Below is a good video that shows the result of studying the world’s top 50 brands and their correlation to ideals. These companies are successful because they don’t just offer a product or service but reach for something higher.

It’s a great video in its entirety but please try to watch at least the first 3:20. And if you can hang in there longer, keep watching for the great example of Coca-Cola’s return to ideas by delivering happiness—guaranteed to make you smile (unless you insist on being pissy).

The research done by Stengel and his partners at Millward Brown reveals every successful brand must address at least one of the following fundamental ideals (human values):
Joy: Delight people with experiences of joy, wonder and limitless possibility (examples: Lindt, Zappos)

Connection: Enhancing the ability of people to connect with each other and the world in meaningful ways (Natura, Starbucks)

Exploration: Helping people explore new horizons and new experiences (Discovery, Pampers)

Pride: Giving people increased confidence, strength, security, and vitality (Snow Beer, Mercedes Benz)

Society: Affecting society broadly, from challenging the status quo to redefining categories (IBM, Innocent, Method)

Ultimately, every business is human business. Connect to your customer’s fundamental values and they will connect to you.

Here’s the link to his video. Enjoy!

The New Story of Brand Success: http://www.jimstengel.com/thought-leadership#articles

Messages with Energy

Recently I was able to get away to a retreat center for some solitude. One of the striking features of this retreat area is the wind farm near it. Surrounded mostly by farmland, the landscape makes a hard line against the blue sky. Rising up from the ground are the towering white wind catchers. They are beautiful with the rich blue sky behind them. Their slow movement and deep whirring noise give a peaceful yet surreal undertone. You can’t see the wind that turns their limbs, which then converts the wind to energy that powers the laptop I’m typing on.

Good marketing does the same. You shouldn’t be aware of the ad or marketing effort for its own sake. The connection comes when the message turns to energy that powers the viewer to act. Some of the most silent marketing pieces create the loudest noise.

Own A Color and Make a Difference!

[image src=”http://www.bigvisionmediagroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/BVMGOwnAColorImage.png” width=”200″ height=”250″ title=”Your Image Title”] Today I helped save a child’s life. All I had to do was buy a color! With over 16.7 million colors to choose from, Own A Color tells you specifically how many lives will be impacted by your color ownership.

Take a look, find your color and save a life. http://www.ownacolour.com

New Security Fixes

I don’t understand why people intentionally hurt other people. I watch the news and simply shake my head at the culture of terror and harm. It’s not something I like to dwell on.

Yet the nature of my work forces me to daily consider protection for my clients. Like many web companies, we love WordPress for is ease of use and great search engine optimization. Unfortunately, so do hackers. A couple of weeks ago, a new virus began moving through the web specifically targetting WordPress websites.

In an effort to provide the highest level of service to you, our great partners, we are now including improved security procedures and functions to every new website. This includes:

  • Changing the default User ID from “admin”
  • Installation of Password Encryption – This will encrypt the password dynamically each time you login. You will not be able to use your browser to save your login information. We apologize for the inconvenience but it’s a small matter compared to having your website hacked, yes?
  • Installation of Login Lockdown – This function will lock down any brute force attacks that occur by locking down the admin area after 5 failed login attempts. The admin area will remain locked for 1 hour for the offending IP address. If for any reason you do get locked out and need in quickly, contact us and we’ll attempt to reset the password or wait the designated hour.
  • Installation of back end security software – This software is installed to protect key files that are targeted by hackers.

Yes, it’s extra work but I don’t want you or me to wake up to a website hack. WordPress is a great website solution but requires perpetual vigilance to keep secure.

As a website owner, please be sure to install any updates available as these usually pertain to security. I also recommend you make regular backups of your site so if the unseemly event happens, you’ll be able to restore your website based on the most recent backup.

 

BVMG Office Open – Party

Lots of fun last evening surrounded by some very special people.  It takes all of us to make a difference. The people that came to our first party celebrating the open of our new office space each had a role in helping us get there.

Since our work is done as a virtual agency, many of the team had not yet seen the office space. As I gave the tour, I was able to talk a little more about the importance of our B-Corp certification. Having our office located at Innovation Cafe is a perfect match for how we see the world. Together we create something better than we had alone.

Thanks to Carl, too, for his labor of love in cooking some truly delicious food for our event.

Take a peek at: Flickr

Big Vision Design Receives Best Web Design Company Award

Big Vision Design, LLC, has been awarded Best Web Design Company and added to a list of “Great Web Design Companies” on the webhostingsearch web site. This award recognizes the creative accomplishments of Big Vision Design and helps bring them into the spotlight as a formidable company that not only excels in the area of web design, but also in the establishment of brand recognition and market strategy.

Located in Kansas City, yet accessible worldwide through the web, Big Vision Design is committed to helping small businesses and nonprofit organizations receive their start. Through careful market analysis, Big Vision Design helps clients identify their target audience and develop a marketing strategy that effectively communicates products and services. Their motto is based on the philosophy that less is more. “Keeping it simple: we’re here to get your message out there,” best describes their relationship-based business model.

What makes Big Vision Design and its sister company, Big Vision Media Group, unique is in their desire to inspire culture, nurture relationships and respect personal dignity. CEO Pam Hausner says that we must learn from history and make the world a better place. This idealistic and humanitarian vision becomes real in the work Big Vision Design accomplishes. President of Big Vision Media Group, Mat Maynor shares a similar view. Maynor believes that a holistic online strategy should work in consort with a conventional marketing program to promote brand awareness, build brand loyalty and increase revenue.

Big Vision Design develops a communication plan specific for each client. Each plan identifies a brand identity, market strategy, social media outlet and media plan. Brand identity defines what is distinctly unique about each client’s offering and that is used to imprint familiarity in the mind of the target audience. The market strategy sets clear goals with measurable results to determine success. The social media strategy begins after the brand has been identified and the marketing strategy has been defined.

The concept of a social media strategy takes the one-sided approach of communicating with a target audience and expands it to a two-sided approach that actually interactively communicates with the target audience through direct dialog. This strategy believes a dialog with the audience is an effective method that builds a relationship with the audience and fosters a personal approach. The media planning process targets marketing and communication paths that communicate a client’s brand identity in a consistent manner. These paths may be through print media, social media, web sites or video.

Creativity is at the heart of Big Vision Design. Through a creative approach, the unique aspect of each client’s brand can be communicated in a way that differentiates them from the competition. Some of the methods used to promote a creative approach are interactive gamification, logos, photography and video, print ads and sales material.

A critical component of communicating any marketing strategy in this era is through a clearly focused and well-developed web design. The inclusion of a well thought out digital marketing strategy is a key component available to all clients. Big Vision Design employs talented and creative web developers who create fresh, modern web designs that communicate the essence of each client’s marketing and brand identity. Search engine optimization techniques are understood and employed in a way that bolsters web traffic and ensures high ranking with Google during web searches. Finally, web analytics are carefully tracked to determine who is traversing a client’s web site and how the site can be streamlined to best communicate each client’s brand.

Receiving the award of Best Web Design Company through webhostingsearch.com validates the creative and personable approach that has made Big Vision Design a unique presence in the field of marketing and web development.

Better than 1,000 Words

We’ve all heard it before but it’s true: a picture is worth 1,000 words. While search engines can’t read pictures (that’s an article for another day), your site visitors can be magnetized by them. Or not. Bad pictures have just as many words attached as good pictures.

Here are some low-cost photo resources you may find helpful:

  • Flickr. These may or may not be free to use. Be sure to abide by the Creative Commons licensing for the photo you have selected.
  • FreeStockPhoto. Not the prettiest website but if you’re not too picky, you may find just what you’re looking for. Just be sure to give credit and abide by the licensing.
  • Dreamstime. You’ll buy credits to apply to photo purchases. Depending on the photo and number of credits you have, some photos can cost as low as $ 0.20. Crazy, but true.
  • iStockphoto. Like Dreamstime, you’ll need to buy credits to apply to photo purchases. iStockphoto has been around longer so has a bigger selection and their prices are a bit higher, but still extremely reasonable.

Your Message Needs Focus

Have you ever been to a website that had so much information on it you were lost before you could even get started? I’ve yet to hear a user say “I love cluttered websites”. However, website owners often feel that if they don’t put everything important on the home page, they will lose opportunity. And when I say feel, I mean driven. And when I say driven, I mean obsessed. And when I say obsessed, I mean maniacal. Get the picture? Now you tell me, how many maniacal people make healthy decisions for good communication?

If you’re a website owner, slow down and focus. Pick ONE thing–yes, I said ONE–that you want your site visitor to do as a result of coming to your site. Then drive 80% of your content messaging with that goal in mind. Make it easy for your visitor to do that ONE thing.

That leaves you with 20% of your messaging to address other website goals. It may be hard to believe but you’ll actually get more results by limiting your message.

Think of it this way. You walk into a room with a wall lined with shelves filled with shiny balls. Hidden somewhere in those shelves is the ball that will bring you the most sales. What is the likelihood that people will find the ball easily or perhaps at all? You’ve given them too many shiny balls to chase.

Now, walk into the room again. This time you see the wall lined with shelves but only 3 shiny balls are there, and one of those balls is really huge and has sparkles. Which ball will get the most attention?

Cha-ching!

Thanks to VideoHive for the photo. They’re a great low-cost resource for stock footage.

Your new website is just the beginning

You are all excited about your new website, right? You’ll get new customers or members and sit back drinking lemonade as you watch your numbers go up, up, up.

That actually may have been true — fifteen years ago. Today, there are millions of websites out there and more coming every day (like yours). The more people use the internet, the easier it is for them to find information but the harder it is for them to find you. And once they find you, what do you offer that helps you stand out from the million others?

Here are some important strategies you can use to get results:

  • You will need to have multiple ways of getting people to your website. Use online resources, print, web-only offers, social media, and promotions that drive people to your website.
  • Let your message be crystal clear. Don’t make your site visitor work to figure out who you are and what you do.
  • Drop the ego. It’s not about you — it’s about the people coming to your website. They aren’t nearly as interested in hearing how many awards you’ve won or how your sales are increasing. They come to your website with one burning question: how are you going to help them?
  • Keep your content up-to-date. If you have outdated content on your site, you will be sending the wrong message. If you are a sole proprietor or have a small volunteer staff, it can feel hard to find time to update your site but dated content tells your site visitor you aren’t really there. Think of it like money being taken out of your bank account each time someone leaves your site because it’s dusty and ignored. If you are ignoring your website, so will they.