SOTB (State of the Business) Address

Kroma SOTBNew. It is a word that excites some and causes others angst.  When I hear the word “new” it fills me with excitement. My mind immediately goes to possibilities to come. I look forward to new things, new seasons, a new year, a new perspective.

A business needs to have a new challenge brought to it each year. Sustainability is not to be celebrated as a goal; it is to be a marker along the journey of building a business. It is necessary to review our past, without allowing it to define our projections for the upcoming months and years. It is these perspectives to which I pause to have a look at Kroma.

My journey into marketing began in the 1990s.  I gave it up to make more dollars on the sales side of corporate America and was moderately successful. As I moved into deciding the next phase of my career goals, I felt led to quit my job, yes quit, and begin a new business. It is out of this decision that Kroma Marketing came into being.

A new business has many seasons of change. Some come and go quickly while other seasons last months and even years. Kroma was birthed out of hope… a hope of providing a “new” perspective to marketing and design. We want to come alongside our clients and partner with them. We feel our success is measured by our clients’ ongoing growth and success. We believe that each client deserves excellence in design and measured results of our marketing efforts. I firmly believe there is an ROI (return on investment) to every dollar spent. There is accountability to the client for each dollar they spend with Kroma.

With that, we are brought to our assessment of last year. It was a season of change once again.

  • We added staff as we saw others move on to other states, other jobs, and other seasons in their lives.
  • We increased our expertise in many services.
  • Originating in web design and traditional marketing, Kroma quickly became strategists in the last few years with online marketing.
  • Kroma increased our services to our clients by adding several acronyms to our expertise: SEO, PPC, SEM, along with the growing trend of social media.  This allowed our new team to bring excellence beyond design in traditional marketing, to excellence through research and development in the new frontier of online marketing.

Our corporate culture continues to morph. The employees we hire come with fresh and innovative ideas and design. They come ready to be pushed to excellence in what they do. It’s a win to see them begin pushing one another in concepts and executables to achieve excellence for the clients we serve. They get it.

Ordinary is not welcomed here.

Finally, we are becoming sustainable! We have growth projections that stretch our budget, but are worth investing towards the betterment of our client services. We were able to review our pricing and keep cost of services the same as last year. We are able to do this by keeping cost down and quarterly projections conservative. We are doing as our website says:  “Thriving in a down-turned economy”…we are honored to do that for the clients we serve.

If you are looking for something new, we’d love to partner with you in growing your business. Contact us @ KROMA.

Richard Rose, CEO/Owner, Kroma Marketing

Richard Rose, CEO, Kroma Marketing

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Save the Fonts! Save the World!

Header-image-for-blog

Most people won’t notice a good typeface when they see one, but, most of the time, THAT IS THE POINT! If a website is designed well, the font will portray a feeling to the site that gives your entire site the vibe it deserves. First off, there is no perfect font. Every designer has their favorites, but no designer uses their favorite on even half of their work. So how do we pick the right one? Well, start with not picking a bad one!

Sure there are tons of “fun looking” looking fonts out there that you may think fit exactly what you want to say, but, more often than not, it really is just “fun looking”. The question is: will someone actually read it? In today’s world, it is much too easy to add any font you want to any medium that calls for it.

Here is what to stay away from and why you should stay away from them.

comic-sans

Even though you might love it, this font is bad, bad, bad, bad, baaaad for your site. The appeal is the hand-drawn nature of the font, which may give it that “fun” aspect you are going for. In reality, this font was designed to do just that. Unfortunately, on today’s web, hand written fonts don’t fit in the clean cut digital world. This font is over used and is unappealing to every audience older than 5 years old. What is easier to read: a hand-written three page paper or a typed three page paper with Times New Roman?

Copperplate--Gothic

This font was a poor attempt of modernizing a block print typeface. Lesson on modern typefaces: they are made to be “modern” and we all know “modern” things always expire. This font was created in 1901. Needless to say, it is outdated. Please refrain from old, “modern” fonts.

Brush-Script

NO, NO, NO, NO . . . it does not look like a brush stroke. Once again this is another font that was created to mimic a handwritten feel but with a “50’s large letter” effect. Dated? Yes.

Arial

Maybe Arial is not that bad of a font, but only in a few scenarios. Let’s say you own a sleep therapy company, this is the font for you. Maybe you only want the viewers to look at pictures instead of reading your important information. Either way, this font is BORING. People WILL be uninterested in most everything you have to say, because this font generates no interest at all for your important information.

Papyrus

Ah yes, we almost left out the worst font in the world. This is the third replica of a hand-generated font, and once again, it is over used, hard to read, and just doesn’t look right. Nearly every designer will name this font as one of the top five fonts in the entire world. This font is not only hated, it is loathed entirely.

Do your end user a favor and don’t choose these fonts for paragraph text. They are all very hard to read and are unappealing for your over-all website. Every decision is important for your site. However, if it’s amazing but nobody can read it then what is the point of having a site in the first place? A recent statistic shows that any site that has these five fonts anywhere on it, Google then deletes the site from its search results . . . ok maybe that’s not a real statistic, but it is funny. Don’t get me wrong, any font can be used correctly, but do the web world a favor and use a good font. Save the fonts, save the world!

What are your thoughts on fonts? We would love to know! Kroma Marketing

lukecoselmon

STUPID

sunglassesSo… your difficult boss, customer, prospect is… probably not stupid–just uniformed. There’s a huge difference.

I have been on a Seth Godin kick recently, and he outlines the difference very well; so well, in fact, that I have to share it with you.

He states, “Every person makes decisions based on their worldview and the data at hand. If two people have the same worldview and the same data, they’ll make the same decision, every time (unless they’re stupid)”.

So, there are plenty of times where a lack of information leads to a bad decision; plenty of times where an out of sync worldview leads to an out of sync decision. Basic, eh?

When the board of directors embraces a fading old media model instead of embracing a strategy that leads to rapid growth, it’s probably because each of them started with a worldview about the way things worked and were going to work. Add to that little direct experience, and it’s no wonder they decided what they did. You would, too, if you were given the same resources to begin with.

Changing worldviews is very difficult and requires quite a bit of will. Changing the data at hand is a lot easier, and that’s where marketing can really help. If you, as a marketer, can package data in a way that people with a certain worldview can accept, you move the conversation forward far more quickly than if you merely dismiss the non-customers or the doubters as stupid.

In my experience, a closed-minded worldview is the most difficult hurdle to overcome. But a closed-minded worldview doesn’t mean you’re stupid; it means that you are selling yourself and your colleagues and your community short.

The easiest way to grow is to sell to people who share a worldview that endorses your position. The most effective way to grow bigger than that is to inform those that disagree with your position–more data in a palatable form. It turns out that the best way to change the world is to open the closed-minded.

I welcome your thoughts and insights—what do you think? Kroma Marketing

colespriggs

Happy Thanks-Giving!

What are you looking at!?

Ever get that feeling that the “Happy” in “Happy Thanksgiving” isn’t so happy? Think about the last few years. People have lost their jobs left and right. Gas prices couldn’t be higher (oh man, don’t jinx it!). Sandy. Obamacare.  Ke$ha. Let’s just stop there.

As we approach this holiday season, and I mean HOLIDAY (since we have 5 shopping weeks, not 4) since Black Friday seems to have taken over the calendar to become “Black Part of November and Most of December”, let’s take a moment to think about the things for which we are grateful, and let’s NOT include the YouTube video of that “It’s Thanksgiving” girl! I know this sounds very rudimentary but sometimes we need to go back to the basics and acknowledge the people who are a part of our business.

Customers or clients would be number one—without them, well, you know. What is it that makes them believe in you and your business to cause them to stick around? Look at the relationship you’ve created. What do you do that sets you apart from your competitors, those little differences, engagements and practices you need to repeat with future customers? Be grateful you still got it! How can you show them your thanks?

Direct reports,  the front liners, the doers and movers. Ok, not every one of them is your favorite but what does each employee bring that is unique to them and which only they can provide? Be grateful you’ve got these people! How can you thank them, every day? Sometimes we need to act like we have the greatest business in the world with the best employees and the most amazing clients. If we do, we may just raise the bar, and they may just jump high enough to clear it.

“If your treat an individual… as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will BECOME what he ought to be and could be.”  Johann Wofgang von Geothe

It’s like the trainers at Sea World. I heard it asked how they train these giant mammals to jump in the air as if they are floating over the training pole. The trainer explained that they start with the bar under the water and of course reward them every time they go over it. They keep raising the bar until a 20 foot long, 4 ton Orca is jumping 20 feet over the water. If the trainer wasn’t holding fish to entice the whale, do you think that whale would jump? No!

Then why expect people working for us or with us to do their jobs without appreciation or thanks. It really isn’t rocket science, but we act like it’s the toughest thing in the world to stop what we’re doing and let people know we appreciate what they do.

Let’s just do it every day—say thanks for the small things and before you know it, they’ll be sailing high above the level they were.

How will you be thanking your clients, employees, coworkers for Thanksgiving? Here at Kroma Marketing, we’re having Thanksgiving Dinner together, with maybe a little “thanks giving” in the conversation!

Happy Thanks-Giving!

Taking Care of “Baby”

“Diaper backward spells repaid. Think about it.”
–Marshall McLuhan

As we Skyped with a client this week, we got to look into the eyes of reality for most business owners:  wide-eyed, blurry, confused, and scared spit-less. Like parents of a brand new baby for the first time, this client’s realization has become one of shock and “Awwwww”. I have this business, a precious commodity, that I must take care of but how in the world do I manage, let alone afford to feed it and keep it in diapers! Ok, maybe I was getting my analogies mixed up but, seriously, that is the agonizing question:  How do I keep this business going, growing, thriving and building in this economy? SOCIAL, that’s how!

Beverly Macy is co-author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing, who teaches Executive Global Marketing and Branding and Social Media Marketing for the UCLA Extension and is executive producer of Gravity Summit TV. She recently wrote an article for Huffington Post and in it she said “A corporate officer of a large multinational bank recently said to me, ‘It’s as if there is a red line drawn down the middle of the organization. On one side are those who ‘get’ social media and the importance of becoming a social enterprise. On the other side are those who simply don’t. And it’s starting to affect our productivity and business results.’ Bringing the ‘other side’ to the table is the next big wave inside Fortune 500 organizations. This is one of the biggest management undertakings ever — bigger than pay for performance; bigger than quality management; bigger than Six Sigma; certainly bigger than sustainability.”

Hey, those of you on the other side of the red line! Yeah, you! Wake up and smell the poopy diaper! It’s time for a change! We are already on the crest of the social media wave, and we all know what happens if you can’t ride the wave. Here’s how B2B’s are trying to ride the wave now:

Temple Stark in Keep Up With Marketing Trends The Smart Way says, “Keeping up with what’s going on in promoting your industry means you don’t fall behind. Keeping ahead means you make the competition look like they’re falling behind.” That means we need to go with the trend now because many won’t. We’ve got to get on board and make the journey, even if we’re kicking and screaming, because we will be left behind if we don’t. The trend: SOCIAL and CONTENT MANAGEMENT!

Ms. Macy concluded by saying: “2013 is going to be super exciting. The economy will eventually improve. When it does, the organizations that are social, mobile, in the cloud, and using big data will be on top. The rest of you will wonder what happened. It’s not a bubble, it’s a wave. And if you don’t know that, you’re not on it. Get social now!”

Bam, there you have it. How are you taking care of your “baby”? Tell us, we really want to know!

If you need more information on how to get SOCIAL then contact us at Kroma Marketing.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

Who has the power? In a consumer driven society, it would be nice to think that the people who control business decision making—the CEO, the CFO, the COO, or even the CSO—would be the power dealers in business. Ah . . . you would be wrong. In fact, you couldn’t be more wrong. Now, more than ever before, business must bow down to the power-brokers:  the people. And social media is their weapon.

We’ve seen multiple examples of the social media impact on politics, especially lately, on this “eve” of one of the most important elections to date. We’ve seen the immediacy of social media impact on entire countries and their dictators (see the infographic below). An example of social media in the everyday workings of government was recently presented by Odysseus Bostick, educator, social media believer and speaker for TedX  conference in Santa Monica on “Collaborative Governing Through Social Media” when he talked about Cory Booker, Mayor of New York/New Jersey.

“He’s like a dynamo. He just never stops. He has over a million people following him on Twitter; a lot of them living in the city. They use it because he responds. And they’ll ask him [something] . . . because they know Mayor Booker will answer it. He actually answers them which builds a relationship between him and his constituents. And it’s every day and it’s real and it’s in real time and it’s instantaneous. And so that’s kind of a mutually beneficial relationship because he always knows what’s wrong, when it goes down, and who’s complaining. With other social media tools, he can actually aggregate all the tweets that come to him geographically and pin point series of problems.”

And so it is in business. It’s the people the business serves that have the power. If the business owners, C-levels, management, or front liners don’t have people, they don’t have a business. If they don’t have a buyer, they don’t have an income. If they don’t have anyone listening, they don’t have an audience. It’s really pretty simple, isn’t it? Yet, do we really get it? Those in business may keep taking the baton back, as if they had in the first place, because, frankly, BUSINESSES WANT THE POWER! Right?

Consider this . . . If the people have the power, what do businesses do differently that hasn’t been working for them up until this moment? That is the million dollar question, isn’t it? Because, if a business can answer that, they might just do business right.

What do you think needs to be done differently in “business” (yes, I’ll let you act like it’s hypothetical)? We would love to hear from you! www.kromamarketing.com

Emotional Investment . . . Emotional Capital

Upon sending our daughter off to her first school homecoming dance with a boy we hardly know, I realized the emotional investment it took to prepare her and us for this giant leap and to making sure she was safe and in good hands. Of course, my husband made sure to grip the boy’s hand, make eye contact with him, pull him in a little and say “Make sure my daughter gets home safe, son.” All the while, my husband was grinning a little evil grin to remind the babbling boy that he knew where to find him should anything happen to her.

Emotional investment . . . emotional capital. In the age of social media becoming one of the greatest influences on how we do business and how we market business, we need to pay attention to the things we do to invest emotionally in making our business a success so that the emotional capital that is gained is positive. Since social media has come into play, it’s more important than ever to realize the immediacy of what we do to invest in connecting with the customer.

First coined by Coca-Cola president Steven J. Heyer, “emotional capital” is the value of the feelings and perceptions held by the customer towards your business.  I can think of nothing that will influence that value more in today’s business than social media. Our investment in connecting with our audience through the social arms of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or blogging through Reddit, Tumblr, Blogger, or sharing media through Instagram, Youtube, or Flickr will say everything about how our business values knowing our customers and what they want.

In “The Key to Social Media Success Within Organizations” Huy and Shipilov explain the study they did to see what resonated with organizations internally that builds emotional capital. They found that there are four components that make the difference to the internal customer:

  • Authenticity
  • Pride
  • Attachment
  • Fun

What if we marketed our business the same way to our external customer and used social media to do it? What would that look like?

1. We would create connection with the customer through our blogging or posts that reveal the authenticity of who we are as a business and what we really want them to know and to feel as a customer.

2. We would show our pride in the quality of what we produce as a business by displaying it through our social networks and how we interact with and treat the customer in going above and beyond their expectations.

3. We would connect with the customer on a more personal level to show that we as a business are committed to attachment with them for the longer term.

4. We would show the fun side of the company through Youtube or Facebook and how we as a company are just people too through celebrations and achievements we have made along the way.

Emotional capital can be a positive or negative value. If we are to make it positive, we need to invest in social media to make it happen. The customer is watching to see if you are committed to connecting with them. If you don’t show up on the social media scene, that will be their answer.

Let us help you make that connection. www.kromamarketing.com

The ROI Mammoth or “Aaaaagggggghhhhhhh, this ROI blog is going to kill me!”

As a blogger, I pride myself on good research, creative content and being relevant. For this week’s Kroma blog, I was asked by my boss to write on the ROI (Return On Investment) of digital design. Inside I thought, “Uh oh. That doesn’t sound like as much fun as what I’ve written on, oh . . ., up until NOW!” But, I thought, “Ok, maybe it will be a great time to brush up on this ROI thing and learn something that will help our clients understand it.” Hours of research later, late nights with coffee stains on my shirt, bleary eyed, frustrated, and nowhere close to a final blog copy here I am; empty.

What I have learned is that the ROI idea is huge, very ethereal to a lot of people and it’s very relative to the object of its assessment. Just what is the return value? In fact, there are bloggers out there who say that ROI is such a broad idea that we sometimes ask the wrong question:  What is the ROI of such and such? When the real question should be:  Did such and such turn out to be worth doing?

In Social Media and ROI: Some clarity. (Again.) Olivier Blanchard says, “ROI went from being a simple financial calculation of investment vs. gain from investment to becoming any number of made-up equations mixing unrelated metrics into a mess of nonsense . . . They measure nothing. Their aim is to confuse and extract legal tender from unsuspecting clients, nothing more. Don’t fall for it.” Wow, well that just instills confidence, doesn’t it?!

I think the main thing I learned on this ROI quest was that value is relative. What return we get, depends. (Don’t you hate it when you ask someone something and all they can say is “It depends.”) It depends on what you expected of the investment as to the value it gains. It depends on the formula you use to calculate the ROI. (Apparently there are various calculations. Very confusing!) There’s also the value that isn’t inherent to the outcome i.e. not monetary but still valuable. All in all, there really isn’t a clear cut way to determine the ROI of anything unless you determine what it is you are looking to calculate in the first place. So, it just depends.

If you aren’t much clearer on ROI, you’re in good company. Let’s commit to this:  know your product, see the value as more than a monetary input or outcome, and determine ahead ”What is value?”

Talk to us. Let us know your questions on ROI or marketing or social media. We can help you sort all this out for your company, here at Kroma Marketing.

Making a Statement

Making a statement can be a bold move. It can also be wimpy. It all depends on the way you present yourself, what you say, how you say it, how you’re dressed, and how you act. In fact, it’s impossible NOT to make a statement. It’s kind of like nonverbal—you cannot, not communicate. So if you’re going to make a statement, why not make it worthy.

In social media marketing, it’s the same way. You’re going to make a statement by what you present online in some way, whether you like it or not. Even your absence makes a statement! That may be hard to read. You may be thinking, “I don’t have time to do this social media thingy,” or that it’s just not in your wheel house or not on your horizon. All of us are trying to run a business; all the more reason to use social media in your marketing efforts. The future is no longer out there—it’s here and it’s time to use it to create your presence online by making a statement about who you are and what you can do to help people with your business.

Ric Dragon, author of Social Marketology, says “Social can be the lighter fluid on the marketing bonfire.”  So, if your statement is excellence and your brand is solid, social media will enhance and boost your presence online.

Make no mistake. The statement you make has to start with a presence that is positive because what you start with will be even more pronounced in social media. In fact, the attitude you present through your message and the tone it sets will be as if under a magnifying glass for all the world to see.

So, once you know your statement is quality, establish that statement online and show that you are a force to be reckoned with in your market. Brett Relander, founder of Tactical Marketing Labs, lays out three areas you need to focus on to create that online presence.

1. Personality: your social media accounts should each have a personality, reflecting your company’s online goals and the medium i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.

2. Borrow Creatively: (oh, and, ethically). Study and parrot what other businesses who are successful in social media are doing: headlines, profiles, techniques. What are they doing that sets them apart and gets them noticed?

3. Content Strategy: Regarding blogs and postings, have you given thought to the strategy behind what is presented and when? Creating a regular schedule of postings at least once a week will tell everyone you are alive and well and you’ve put thought into your content.

Remember: You’re going to make a statement by what you present online in some way, whether you like it or not. Even your absence makes a statement! What is your business doing in social media to make a statement?  www.kromamarketing.com