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The new Moo cards are here! The new Moo cards are here! I’m somebody! (Thanks to those who get the reference.)

I really shouldn’t post this and ruin it for you should you ever order your own Moo cards. But I can’t resist.

I designed and ordered cards for a forthcoming jewelry collection before going out of town for 10 days. The timing was deliberate. The box would be awaiting me when I arrived home, and I could indulge in the singular pleasure of undressing, er, opening the package after a long day’s drive. It’s not unlike the pleasure of opening Apple products. But Moo is more fun, less austere.

Having only ordered the standard matte finish cards before, I wasn’t prepared for the sexiness of the Luxe cards box opening experience. And that’s what they’re creating — an experience — one of delight and care. The devil is absolutely in the details. Sure, everyone is opening the same box, but when you’re opening your box, you feel special. It’s a small price to pay for such delight.

You can deliver delight in many ways, no matter how serious your business or organization. Delight doesn’t have to be silly or fun or sexy. Delight can manifest in many ways, appropriate to your product or service. It can be visual. It can be nurturing. It can be clever. It can cheerlead or handhold. Delight is evidence that someone is thinking about you.

Moo Luxe business card main box

I know! It’s exciting, right? Read More

Highest GradeIs “on time and within budget” the first few lines of your marketing message?

If you had to remove those words, what would your story be?

Everyone worries about spending money, even those with deep pockets. And if someone hires you they hope you’ll finish on time. Both are universal concerns.

They’re also the least a customer can expect. A built-in feature. And when you’re not the cause of a ballooning budget or a blown schedule, your best offering is now shot.

Even if you’re serving the fast and cheap crowd, you still need to stand out among all the other businesses using the same line. Read More

List of names

If you use an e-mail service to send newsletters or blasts, how did you build your list? If the answer is that you invited people or they added themselves via a form on your website, three cheers for you! No coal in your Christmas stocking.

Email is still one of the most powerful ways to connect with customers or prospects short of having coffee together, even when automated (because you can personalize it). You’re not competing with a stream of cat photos in Facebook or random Twitter chatter. It’s a great way to further your brand and personality, and become a go-to person in your field.

But you don’t want people scratching their heads when your third e-blast of the week arrives in their in-box, wondering if they forgot they signed up for your list.

There are three types of emails from businesses: total spam, almost spam and not spam. If you invited people to your list or they signed up (knowing what they were getting), that’s not spam.

We all know what total spam is.

Almost spam is everything else, such as adding people to your list, even people you know, even good friends, who might very well have said, “Yes, sign me up Scottie!” if only you’d asked.

Perish the thought that deleting your email is easy. Trust and respect rule here. The burden is not on your recipient, it’s on you to inform, inspire and delight. I even ask permission from clients, people who pay for my advice. Read More

good 'ole fashioned snail mail

Even as I help people unlock and articulate what makes them unique, there’s a simple truth that goes beyond crafting the perfect brand.

It’s about showing you give a damn.

It’s even better when it’s unexpected.

Maybe it’s a gift where a gift would seem surprising.

Maybe it’s helping a client to take a risk where you know they’ll benefit.

Maybe it’s fantastic customer service where people have stopped thinking they’ll get it.

Maybe it’s a personal note to one person even though you serve many just like her.

…………………

You’re reading the blog of Allegro Design. Like this? You might want to subscribe to the monthly Good Dirt.

Pick me!”If all you have is the desire to get picked, that’s not sufficient.“
—SETH GODIN

Wandering the aisles at a craft show a while back, I was surprised that the same styles and motifs appeared over and over. Most likely, each artist thought of himself as different. But why didn’t anyone want to stand out, especially in a creative industry?

It is said that there are very few original ideas. But there’s plenty of room for a different kind of originality. Put two or more existing ideas together to form a new product or service. Put a new spin on an old idea. Use your voice. If you’re an independent business owner and you’re not putting your unique voice to work, you’re overlooking the one tool you have that no one else does. Read More

A recent article in the NY Times about branding your psychotherapy practice sent readers into despair over what they saw as a selling out and a ruining of the profession. They questioned the author’s quick fix solutions and her training and commitment. I might not have panicked as the author did after only three months with no clients, but most readers didn’t see themselves as business people. As if that would diminish the care they delivered.

Branding, at its core, is defining in a deliberate way what differentiates you from others, making it easier for people to find you and make informed decisions about buying your product or service.

Branding, by itself, doesn’t compromise ideals; at its best, it reinforces them.

People in professions driven by ideals can suffer from viewing their services as too precious to be tainted by deliberate business activity.

But in the case of therapists, in order to heal, they have to get people in the door. The care starts before a client walks through the door by making it easier for them to find and choose the best person to work with. The challenge then is to describe who you help and what your philosophy is in their terms, not yours.

The resistance is understandable.

A fear of new territory.

A fear of more work.

A fear of taking a stand.

It’s far easier to think your work should speak for itself. But if you really help people through your work, you have to put your ideals to work in ways you hadn’t considered before.

In any project or effort, there is big vision, small details and everything in between. It all matters, but it’s the details that are most noticed by the end user.

Well, not so much noticed as felt. This is an important distinction.

What is felt is delight…or annoyance. Clarity…or confusion. Satisfaction…or stupidity.

It would be one thing if the customer intellectualized what didn’t work. But most often, they feel lazy, tired or stupid. In The Design of Everyday Things, author Donald Norman explains that people tend to blame themselves when something doesn’t work, even if the flaw is in the design.

In this great TED talk, ad guru Rory Sutherland describes with humor the bad decisions businesses and organizations foist on unsuspecting customers. Read More

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