www.big-gnome.com

January 12, 2009

Dear reader,

Our new blog and web site is available at www.big-gnome.com. Check it out, yo!

Wash out your Word-of-Mouth

December 10, 2008

Recently a friend asked, “Have you been to ‘Word of Mouth’?” Before I could reply, she said, “Well, don’t go there. It’s horrible.” Turns out, she was referring to a local business by that name. The irony…

A few weeks ago, MarketingProfs’ Get to the Po!nt e-newsletter discussed “A Skeptical Look at Word-of-Mouth,” based on an article by Michael Antman. He makes the point that some businesses rely too heavily on word-of-mouth strategies as their sole form of business development. MarketingProfs sums up a few of the reasons why that approach is shortsighted:

•    Recommendations [via word-of-mouth] are subjective and uncontrollable.
•    Word-of-mouth is limited in reach and easily subverted.
•    There’s no substitute for case studies, sophisticated sales-support tools and mass communications vehicles such as advertising, public relations and print and electronic collateral.
•    “[R]elying on organic word-of-mouth is practically a guaranteed way for a small or medium-sized business to stay small or medium-sized.”

Relying solely on word-of-mouth can limit your reach and quality of your message. If this is your main way to gain business (and the way you want it), here are a few tactics to correct misinformation or negative sentiments spread about your business:

Find the source. Examine why the information about your company is incorrect or negative in the first place. Can you identify a specific incident or unhappy customer? Or you may need to look closer to home at whatever marketing materials you do have, your sales team, and possibly yourself.

Respond professionally and politely. If the source is a person or other business, respond and try to resolve the issue. The response may need to be public and/or in person. If you need to clean up your word-of-mouth on the Web, research and review the web sites, blogs and other press that have mentioned your business. Respond to them in a prudent, yet timely way, with correction information.

Be your own critic. Examine your marketing materials, even something as simple as your business card. Does it clearly communicate the goal of your business or how you want to be perceived? You may find out that it is you or your sales team that aren’t communicating effectively. Decide if you do indeed need other marketing, public relations or advertising tools to clearly communicate your business’s purpose.

Own up. Be open and honest about your efforts to change or fine-tune the incorrect perception about your company. Ask trusted colleagues, friends, and even customers to help you.

Be generous. Develop customer appreciation incentives for referrals that lead to new, paying business. Give away something for free. Make a charitable donation. Generosity is quickly recognized and admired.

Enforce consistency. Develop messaging or talking points about your business that are consistent across all communications vehicles (web, print, speaking engagements, interviews). Inconsistent messaging may be the root of your word-of-mouth issues.

Turn down new business. Word-of-mouth efforts may bring prospects to your door. Evaluate the quality of those prospects. Are they the right customers for you? If not, say no. You might find the perception they have of your business is not what you want it to be.

If you don’t care what people perceive and communicate about your business via word-of-mouth, ask yourself, how much is this costing my business in the long term if I don’t fix the problem?

Live an extraordinary life

September 19, 2008

That’s a tall order. I know the folks at Bishop Gadsden are living such an existence. Big Gnome joined Blue Ion’s creative team to write the new web site for this life care retirement community in Charleston, S.C.

Mike Henry sums up the project nicely on Blue Ion’s blog. The passion for life that permeates the community, from the residents, as well as the leadership and staff – and their ability to articulate that passion – gave me, as a writer, a strong, creative base from which to develop the content.

Another tall order was to avoid the traditional positioning and verbiage of retirement community marketing, which is about as fresh as 30-year-old potpourri.

Off-limit wording included “peace of mind” and even “retirement.” Bishop Gadsden residents are anything but retired.

We also had fun developing different elements to the site, including resident profiles, an interactive map of Charleston, and a sweet, sliding timeline of Bishop Gadsden’s milestones.

Redesigning the Stop Sign

August 20, 2008

Add a burst. Make it pop. Bump up the logo. Guaranteed parts of the design process. This is a funny video.

Webtastic

August 7, 2008

The highly anticipated, long-awaited Big Gnome Web site launched earlier this week. When your parents are asking if your site will ever launch, you know you’re lagging behind. Hopefully we’ll make them proud.

The new site has its own big blog that will sync up with the original here. Many thanks to Period Three for giving us the wings to fly.

The site will give you a taste of what we do. If we’ve not given you enough, then get in touch. Let’s talk.

Arrgh!

July 16, 2008

Camp Kemo

Big Gnome was selected by Camp Kemo to produce KEEPSAKES, the camp’s memory book for 2008. Camp Kemo is a weeklong summer camp for young cancer patients and their siblings. It’s a week of adventures, fun times, and lots of food.

This year’s theme was “Pirates of the Keemobean.” We’re so ready to get started. Why, you ask? Because it’ll be 40 pages (or so) of piratey-goodness.

While this week is about living life to the fullest, there is a raw, heart-wrenching reality to it. If you have a few minutes to watch, check out the “7 Day Cure,” produced by Rebecca Morrow, a photographer, former camper and cancer survivor.

The Force was with us.

June 26, 2008

A colleague referred us to one of its clients, a legal nurse consulting firm, to produce its first round of business cards and collateral. Under a ridiculously tight deadline to get the materials concepted, written, designed and printed, Big Gnome rocked it out.

Many thanks to Cheryl Barnette, one of our designers, for pulling some Jedi mind reading and producing perfection from the get-go. The client was so thrilled, we went on to design its full suite of identity materials.

KLNC materials