psyborg® blog

Keep Your Trail Clean

Keep Your Trail Clean

Keep Your Trail Clean

Keep Your Trail Clean

Clients of mine not only hire me for more work but they refer my business to others, it’s how I have run my business for over 12 years. The reason for this I believe is because I have a clean trail and because I am completely aware of it.

Keeping a clean trail means keeping a positive reputation for your business. You want the trail to be clean so people feel confident to employ your business. If the trail is messy and obstacles are in the way then this will be reflected in the growth of your business.  

So as you move down the trail of life, in doing business, you need to be aware of the reputation you are leaving behind you, or the cleanliness of your trail. All businesses should aim to have a clean and tidy trail.

 

Why Should you be Managing your Reputation in Business?

Lets pretend that every time a client or customer has a negative experience with your business, symbolically they leave a piece of rubbish on your trail. The more negative experiences, the more rubbish. Unless that experience turns positive then the rubbish will stay there forever, and even worse, with each year that goes by, it grows a little. This causes you to have a trail with obstacles. If someone wants to use your business they must get around this mess to get to you.

This is why you need to manage your reputation. In business the rubbish is a negative experience. Once a customer has a bad experience with a business they won’t use the business again. For a business owner this one lost client probably doesn’t have an impact on the business. The problem is that just one client has the power to sway others, like their family and friends, from using your business. The reason the rubbish grows each year is because those family and friends may then sway their family and friends from using your business and so on. To make things worse if someone decides to slam your reputation on social media then more people are learning negative things about your business, making your trail a mess!

Now on the flip side lets look at a positive experience. Every time someone has a positive experience with your business the trail widens, vegetation is less overgrown and the path almost shines and lights the way right up to your door. Your path is perceived positively and people have a spring in their step as they walk along it, to your business.

Businesses should not only aim for positive experiences with clients but for enjoyable and memorable ones. This will ensure they have a path that is desirable to walk down. A clean path is that of a business where clients are painting a good picture. They are telling friends and family of their positive experience and this is bringing in new clientele and in turn making the business grow!

 

Personal Branding

Managing your reputation relates to personal branding as personal branding is defined by the memories, values and impressions that others have of you. Your personal brand has the most impact on your trail because it will directly effect the perception that people have of your business. Read more about personal branding and the importance of it here.

 

What can I do to Ensure a Clean Trail?

A clean trail can be achieved by ensuring customers have a positive experience with your business and brand. There are different ways you can ensure that this happens.

I find one of the best methods to ensure my clients are happy with me and the work I am producing is by being approachable and allowing them to have constant input or by creating a culture of open communication. Customer feedback along the project process helps to keep your trail clean as it engages the customer in the design process. For me this is a constant process not just a one off feedback form but in the constant meetings, phone calls, emails and even social media posts used in the consultative process. You must make sure throughout the working relationship that they are happy with what is being produced. Not all clients are as straight forward as others or know exactly what they want and these clients need to be given opportunities to voice their opinions throughout the process. Being aware and acknowledging this will ensure that they are happy with the end product.

I also give out customer feedback forms at the end of the design process to help me manage my brand. If a client comes back with a negative comment or scores me at a lower then desirable place then I work to rectify this. I do what I can to make their experience a positive one, as I don’t want a messy trail.

 

Exceeding Customer Expectations

A way to ensure your trail is the best it can be is to not only meet the expectations of clients but go above that. I aim to exceed my customers expectation to create a trail not only clean and obstacle free, but one that has a working travelator that allows customers to be brought right to my door! Read more about how you can exceed customer expectations here.

The flip side of this is also setting & defining appropriate customer expectations at the start of the customer journey. This is done by setting your brand up appropriately and ensuring that this brand is further reflected in your culture. These values are then projected into your customer on boarding process so that they clearly understand what is expected of them and of your service at the outset.

 

To Sum Up

Keeping your trail clean is a way to ensure you are accountable and credible. It fuels word of mouth referrals and repeat business. Do the best job, make sure your customers are happy and exceed expectations and your trail will be full of clients waiting to get though to your door!

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 1900 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

How to Ask for Testimonials

How to Ask for Testimonials

How to ask for Testimonials

What is a Testimonial?

A testimonial is a recommendation from a satisfied customer conveying the performance, quality and value of a service or product. They can be requested for or just given when work has been completed.

 

Why are Testimonials Important?

Testimonials can be an extremely strong and necessary marketing tool.

If a new client or customer is trying to decide whether to choose to work with you, then a few good testimonials can prove that you really are the right choice.

When perspective clients or customers are searching for an expert they often visit webpages, social media, Facebook reviews, GoogleMyBusiness reviews to learn what quality to expect from a business, and essentially decide whether or not they will choose that business to give their work to.

 

What Type of Testimonials are Out There?

Testimonials can be text, image, or video. While a written testimonial is the most common form of testimonials, images and videos can be very effectives as well. Images may be of a client using their purchase or showing a final product. In my line of business it might be a client standing in front of a sign I created. Often images will include a written testimonial as well stating why they are happy with the completed work. Videos can be great because unlike written content, you can see the customers expression and passion for what they are talking about. It is good to keep all forms in mind when asking for a testimonial and perhaps give the client the option.

There are some 3rd party review sites where testimonials can also appear. These generally rate a particular profession though and unless you are in that profession and keeping an eye online to see if any reviews have been written they may or may not work for your business. Some of these include Rate My Agent, FourSquare, TripAdvisor, GoogleMyBusiness, Yelp and more.

Also tools such as Facebook & GoogleMyBusiness reviews are becoming more and more popular and you can choose to put testimonials on your businesses website.

 

How to Ask for a Testimonial?

Firstly make sure you are testimonial worthy! Make sure you do a great job consistently! You should work like everyone you work for is going to review your business. This way you should never have a bad testimonial and you can ask everyone for a testimonial.

It’s pretty easy to get testimonials and no harm in asking. Not everyone has the time to do one and people are forgetful so don’t push it but, at the end of a job, ask for it in a survey form via an email with a link to the form. Surveys are easy to create, easy to fill out and can give some great information about a business. Within the survey a written section can give more detail and be used on your websites or social media if desired (ask permission in the survey). Also if some negatives do come up in the survey you can either work to rectify the issue or keep it in mind for future business dealings.

If you are after reviews on GoogleMyBusiness or the like then give written instructions with screen shots on how to complete it and offer a discount or a gift to encourage clients to do it.

An example of how to do this is… you could offer a box of chocolates with a note on the lid explaining how to give a review on GoogleMyBusiness, this could be a small flyer with graphics showing the steps. This would be effective because every time the customer has a chocolate you are reminding the customer to write the review. It may take a little while but no doubt by the time the customer has finished the box of chocolates the review would have been made. 

 

To Sum Up

Word of mouth is an amazing advertising tool. Testimonials aid in this as it can help build and promote a business giving it credibility. Remember to work like everyone is reviewing your business and don’t be afraid to ask for a testimonial at the end of customer interaction! This is made a lot easier by coming up with a system for asking that could involve templated emails, online surveys and carrot to encourage the user to take action. Check out some of my testimonials at psyborg®.  

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 1900 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

Content Marketing Speeds Up Trust

Content Marketing Speeds Up Trust

Content Marketing Speeds Up Trust

Content Marketing Speeds Up Trust

Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing and distributing content for a targeted audience online. Source; Wikipedia

Content marketing can help build trust and generate business. Unlike other marketing, content marketing must give customers something useful… content! It is not focussed on producing demand for a new need or product but rather focussed on giving something valuable to new and old customers.

Why Spend Time on Content Marketing?

In essence by using content marketing (blogging, social media, videos, podcasts) you are becoming known as an expert to potential opportunities, establishing your credibility, building up trust and making it easier for the purchaser to make a decision. Content Marketing is the practice of supplying targeted, relevant and sharable content to your audience in the hope that it will be shared, liked and enquired about.

If content marketing is done right then you will build trust, which in tern will expand your customer base and increase brand awareness and credibility.

For a quick guide to Content Marketing check this out.

How Does Content Marketing Build Trust?

Creating content that is aimed at helping your customer base will build trust because the brand will be seen as giving useful information and therefore will be seen as transparent. As long as the information you produce is authentic and credible then it will build trust amongst the clientele that are viewing it.

It also allows you to build a ‘following’ or community as you become seen as an expert in your field. The community will continue to grow if you consistently share information to help those who are following you, in-turn they share the information and it keeps going giving you a bigger following and generating trust amongst your followers who view you as the expert in your field.

When people read your articles, follow you on the relevant social media and become part of your professional community they begin to ‘know’ you and will potentially trust you over the name and phone number that could be pulled from the yellow pages or somewhere else online. It also makes you more approachable to your community and potential customers are more likely to get in touch if they are in need of assistance.

Why is Trust Important?

I don’t actually think I need to answer this question as I put it here more to be rhetorical and get you thinking about the importance of trust. Obviously people are more likely to go with someone they trust than someone they do not know and content marketing will help get you over that line, from stranger to trustworthy.

The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey

The Speed Of Trust

The Speed of Trust is one of my favourite books (by Stephen Covey) and goes into depth on different kinds of trust and the underlying importance of trust. It is a real eye opener on trust and looks at it not only in relationships with those you are close with but more from professional perspective. Convey asserts, 

“The ability to establish, extend, and restore trust with all stakeholders – customers, business partners, investors and coworkers – is the key leadership competency of the new, global economy.” Speed of Trust

To Sum Up

While content marketing does take time I find the rewards are worth it. I also see it as a bit of fun and it feels less like work than I initially thought. I write about things I am passionate about and get excited when I see a need of a customer that I know I can meet. Not to mention the new clients I meet along the way!

In summary the quicker you can build trust with your customer base the quicker you have an opportunity to help solve your customers problems and isn’t that what business is all about.

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 1900 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

What are your Touch Points?

What are your Touch Points?

What are your Touch Points?

 

What are your Touch Points?

“A touch point can be defined as any way a consumer can interact with a business, whether it be person-to-person, through a website, an app or any form of communication. When consumers come in contact with these touchpoints it gives them the opportunity to compare their prior perceptions of the business and form an opinion.”- Wikipedia.

A touch point is any interaction a customer or client has with your business and therefore every touch point must reflect, reinforce, and reiterate your core brand strategy. Taking control of your touch points is the key to building a strong business brand, business culture and personal brand.

If your goal is to improve your business and customer satisfaction then I suggest looking at your touch points. When looking at your touch points and the quality of them you should keep in mind the customer (or your client avatar), and how they view or react to the interaction. Successful business is not just about delivering a superior product or service, but also about the touch points you use to engage your audiences, such as websites, advertising, office space, communication, social media, customer service… and many more.

The good thing about touch points is generally you can control them.

You can pin point touch points and make sure they are inline with your brand and culture. Feedback from clients is a great way to see what is working well, and what could use a makeover.

Below are some touch points categorised into 3 areas, I have brainstormed as many touch points that I can think of, if you notice something I have missed please leave a comment so I can add it to the list.

Business Brand

A brand is the way people feel about a business. A brand can be expressed by the external touch points that customers engage in to get closer to the decision to purchase a product or service and can include;

  • The Vision
  • Client Avatar
  • Logo
  • Mood Board
  • Style Guide
  • Telephone Opener
  • Social Media
  • Networking Approach
  • Signage
  • Content Marketing
  • Blog Articles
  • Word of Mouth
  • Websites
  • Video
  • TV Commercials
  • Newsletters
  • Interviews
  • Email Signature
  • Voicemails
  • Proposals
  • Employee Uniform
  • Products
  • Packaging
  • Services
  • Advertising
  • Billboards
  • Business Cards
  • Web Banners
  • Exhibits
  • Letterheads
  • Vehicles
  • On Hold Message
  • Reception Interior
  • Client Meeting Room
  • Business Card
  • Animation
  • Phone Welcome Message
  • Got another one to go here? Leave a comment, below…

As mentioned above most of these touch points are in the control of business owners or personnel. You can decide on the best logo, website design, letterheads etc. You can choose what posts go on social media, what blog articles to write and how to interact with people. While you can not control people you can train staff and employ people who you feel can live up to the expectations of your company brand.

You do not have control over word of mouth, that is what people say about your products or services, but it should fall into place if everything else is set up well. Obviously human and technical errors do happen but as a touchpoint you can choose how to deal with these situations, how you go about fixing them and how you treat the client/customer involved in the error.

At psyborg® we run brand workshops to help businesses create, update and maintain strong brands. Get in touch if this is something you would like to be involved in.

Strong brand touch points are essential for a strong brand.

Business Culture

Business culture is the foundation behind any brand. To have a successful business and therefore brand you need a good business culture. Internal touch points that employees engage in, which inspire the envisioned culture can include;

  • The Vision
  • Employee Avatar
  • Mood Board
  • Style Guide
  • Office Interior Design
  • Internal Posters
  • System Presentations
  • Intranet Screen
  • Training
  • Letterheads
  • Manuals
  • Procedures
  • Internal White-labeled Software
  • Office Memos
  • PowerPoint Presentations
  • Internal Communications
  • Staff Newsletters
  • Note Pads
  • Memo Board
  • Meeting Rooms
  • Lollies
  • Functions, Parties & Events
  • Uniforms
  • Employee Awards
  • Employee Rewards
  • Employee Gifts
  • Got another one to go here? Leave a comment, below…

If you can have well thought out and positive touch points behind the scenes in your business then it will help to build a strong business culture and in turn a strong business brand as this will naturally seep into external communications.

Furthermore the interior design of your business can help foster creativity! Read more about that here.

Personal Branding

In this day and age, personal branding has many touch points due to the growing technological world of Social Media. To have a positive personal brand you need to make sure your touch points are inline with your values and what aspects you want people to know about you. External touch points that help build personal brands could include;

  • Your Vision
  • Client Avatar
  • Mood Board
  • Style Guide
  • LinkedIn Profile
  • Characature
  • Content Marketing
  • Blog Articles
  • Elevator Pitch
  • Social Media Posts (all aspects; photos, shared content, memes, comments etc)
  • Profile Portrait
  • Cover Photos
  • Resume
  • Letterhead
  • Business Card
  • Interview Technique
  • Speaking Technique
  • Email Signature
  • Resume
  • Clothing
  • Personal Hygiene
  • Got another one to go here? Leave a comment, below…

The impression you give people about yourself can make or break a business or the opportunities that may come your way. I have known people who have missed out on an interview due to a potential employer looking at their facebook profile. Personal brand matters and you can most certainly control most of these touch points.

If you are having trouble determining what to include in your social media posts, this article may help.

To sum up

Touch points are the aspects of a business that attract customers. People form opinions based on what they see, hear and feel. You want customers or clients to walk into an office space and feel comfortable, to read an email response and feel valued, to see a profile portrait and not be scared off, to be greeted on the phone by someone who wants to talk to them and not be left feeling like a nuisance. What we put out there as a professional should bring in clients and consumers, not deter them from using our business. This should be kept in mind while creating any of the touch points listed above which will in turn help you build a stronger brand.

 

Does your business need a Touch Point audit?

As designers we love to design each and every touch point to be consistent with your brand and vision.

To assist we have developed a touch point audit spreadsheet that you can use to
review your brand, culture and personal brand.

Tell us a little about your touch points in the comment field below and we’ll send you my free touch point audit spreadsheet so you get get control over your brand!

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 1900 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

What is Design Thinking?

What is Design Thinking?

What is Design Thinking?

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking refers to design-specific cognitive activities that designers apply during the process of designing. Source- Wikipedia

Design thinking is critical in my business, it is what I use to achieve the best results for not only my clients but also for my business. Design thinking is what is used to solve problems and create work to the highest quality. It is the best method that can be used to uncover creative insights and achieve high success.

What is the standard definition of the design process?

 

Design Thinking Process

 

The design process consists of a number of steps.

  • Define: Defining the problem or need
  • Collect: Researching the problem & collecting information
  • Brainstorm: Brainstorming ideas and developing possible solutions
  • Prioritise: Determining the best solution and developing the promising solution or building a test model
  • Implement: Try, test or present the ideas to others for feedback
  • Improve: Improve on the solution or test model
  • Repeat

These steps can be repeated if needed to achieve higher success. The design process is used for a variety of projects in countless areas. It can be used when designing a website, when selling food, when organising the furniture in a restaurant, when hiring staff, when increasing business; when solving almost any problem, big or small you can apply design thinking.

How can we solve problems using design thinking?

I believe the most effective way to solve problems is using design thinking. Once the problem or need has been defined then we can work at solving it. Design thinking is a way of breaking the problem down to come up with the best solution, not just rushing in to solve the problem and coming up with an okay solution. When I am designing, these are the steps I take to produce the best final product.

Lets say I am designing a logo for a valued client. Firstly I need to work out what the problem is, and define it in a way that I understand. This is the first step, define which also includes talking with the client and finding out their ideas, and what they want from the logo. In this step I also get to know my client and learn about their clients, or their client avatar, their target market, their competitors and the values they wish to express. This is where we overlap into the second step, collect and this helps me understand the audience and will help me to design a logo that caters to the needs of the client and solves the problem.

Secondly, once I understand the problem and who the logo is aimed at, I come up with multiple solutions or ideas through brainstorming, which is the third step. I conceptualise as many as I need, until I feel I have done enough to solve the problem.

Thirdly, I usually take a small break from the task before I have another look at my solutions and refine the ideas by getting rid of the ones that don’t stand out to me as the best solutions. This is where I prioritise and sometimes, if I come back and nothing seems to jump out to me, I will have another go at defining the problem and create more designs. At times I need to repeat this step, walk away from the project and come back fresh minded.

When ready I continue to prioritise, I pick the best. As I am solving clients problems I usually pick my top three. If I have a favourite I tell the client this but I am always happy enough with my top three to be happy with the one they choose. Sometimes the client will have some small changes and I will amend these, making sure both I and the client are happy with the result.

Finally, after talking with the client I perfect the final choice. I make changes the client has requested and I focus on perfecting that final design.

The result? The absolute best logo for my client which we implement. The implementation phase can be a test phase where we test the solution with the target market or a select group where knowledge obtained can be fed back into the design cycle where the solution can be improved.

I have given an example here of using design thinking when creating a logo. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. I use design thinking in most if not all of my design creations and in business decisions.

How can we add value to business through design thinking?

Above, I described my process when designing a logo, but design thinking is beneficial in all areas of business also. We use it subconsciously throughout our day.

I have used design thinking to build my business and business culture. From how to design my office to who is my client avatar. Once I come up with an idea or problem I start brainstorming, I come up with solutions and I refine these until I am happy with the result.

For example when I decided I wanted to expand my business I had a problem. My problem was time, I simply did not have enough hours in the day to give my business the time it needed to grow (defining the problem or need).

I looked at this problem closely. I looked at my timesheets. I determined where my time was spent (researching the problem).

I began to look at where I could save time. I brainstormed ideas using mind maps. I determined solutions to some big problems and researched and learnt ways I could automate tasks in my office (developing possible solutions).

I then started to put these solutions into practise. I hired a part time admin assistant, I used some of the researched solutions and automated work I had been doing myself (testing the ideas).

After testing the solution I found it helped. This encouraged me to go above and beyond and develop more time saving ideas.

I then went on to clear up my office as this was another problem I had, I used design thinking to do this, from how to declutter the office to how to position furniture. I went paperless! I didn’t walk into it thinking “how can I use design thinking today?’ I subconsciously solved my problem using design thinking. My business and office continues to improve using this process.

To sum up

In summary, design thinking can be used in all areas of life to achieve the best results to solving any problem. It is a path to ‘not rush in’ with basic solutions that may end up causing more problems down the track.

I think in business, design thinking allows time to consider solutions, and steps to see what solutions are best to solve a problem. If design thinking isn’t used then we are more likely to jump right into our ideas without proper consideration. This can mean that the best outcomes may be overlooked. Design thinking may take a little longer but it certainly is worth the time with the results it achieves.

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 1900 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel