The Talking Pad — And Why 3×5's Rule

I will often doodle during meetings… not so much “taking notes” as just jotting down important phrases or concepts from the discussion. Sometimes a diagram, that sort of thing. This is just one of the reasons why when I redesigned my business cards, I went to to a 3×5 format with the reverse side set up for drawing, doodling, or note-taking. Seth Godin explains some of the finer points of the why and how this is a good idea.

Microsoft to Ride Apple's Coattails

applesoft As seen on Fast Company, it looks like Microsoft is getting set to launch a line of retail stores next to the already-successful Apple retail stores. Oh my. There was already an awareness in the cynical-tech community that Microsoft was less about innovation than it was about “acquiring” innovative ideas from others, but this is more along the lines of the old aphorism, “imitation is the highest form of flattery.” Either that or the corollary, “monkey see, monkey do.”

I found one favorable opinion — and only one. True, Apple put a lot of research into its locations, so setting up shop next to them is a free ride on their coattails. As if Microsoft needs one. It reminds me of Burger King — whenever you spot one of their restaurants, look for the nearest McDonalds… it shouldn’t be more than a block or two away. Zero points on this one for innovation, insight, or even market research.

My Business Card is No Longer Crap

Following my recent business card post, the redesign and printing of my new cards is now complete. Here’s what they look like, front and back:
card_front card_back
Click to enlarge, etc. The thing to know — which explains the front of the card — is that they’re not printed on standard-sized business card stock, but on 150-lb tag, cut to 3″x5″. Index card size. The dotted line is actually a perforation, so a standard-sized business card can be detached from the index card. When I flip the card over, it’s designed to write on the back, either horizontally or vertically. Detaching the standard-sized business card leaves the knight logo aligned in the corner on the back. For good measure (and attention to detail), the heavier lines on the grid are exactly ½”.

Is Your Business Card Failing a Test?

I’m currently redesigning my business card, because I’ve always hated the one I have. During my entire career I’ve had only one or two cards that I thought were really well-executed, but I’m picky. And the next one will blow them all away to atone for past mediocre cards. I’ve been handed a lot of business cards over the years, and it’s a regular occurrence that you can size up the business right away by the card you are presented. And sometimes it’s a pass/fail test. Consider what some of the cards you’ve been handed might say:

  • Light stock, rough edges: Office Depot template meets home inkjet printer. Not a serious contender.

On the Marketing of Integrity

Several years ago Handshake while I was in business with my brother, we were working through a list of our business distinctives. Asking a few trusted friends and advisors to provide their perspective on our business, we were encouraged by one of them to list integrity as a business distinctive. It was clearly one of our core values, and she felt we should market it as such. We declined, and for good reason. I am aware that a number of businesses use integrity as a marketing tool, and some have included the word in their business name. Although most of us want our brand to symbolize integrity in the minds of our clients and prospective clients, I believe marketing integrity is an unwise practice, for several reasons.

Slogans You May Not Hear

Taser Call me cynical, say I’m in a snarky frame of mind. Whatever. I was just thinking about the controversy over the use of Tasers in the news, and thinking that the Taser Corporation might be due for some good PR pretty soon.  Maybe people who love their Tasers will form a lobby, like those who love their guns. I’m inclined to suggest a good slogan for the Taser Lobby’s inevitable bumper-sticker campaign, something like “Tasers don’t kill people. Cops kill people.” But again, maybe it’s just my frame of mind or offbeat sense of humour.

Obsessive Branding Disorder?

Curious Cow I’ve always had a cynical view of companies that offer “branding” and “strategy.” Both are valid, necessary, important activities which every business owner must consider, but I’ve seen too many creative houses that get into these lines as a way to sell creative services — and little more. To them, it’s just creative services, rebranded. The thing that gets me most is how often some of these types of shops tend to rebrand themselves, and what that means to them… the joke I never said to one of their faces when meeting them on the street was, “Hey, I saw your new brand — very nice! Been slow around the shop lately?” I don’t know where they found the time to rebrand themselves every six months and still look after clients.