416-435-4753 mike@mikebeard.com

I LOVE LISTENING TO ENTREPRENEURS, MARKETERS and SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS TELL THEIR STORIES. I can feel their excitement! Together, we turn their experiences, thoughts and strategies into core messaging by zeroing in on their unique selling proposition. Initially they usually want to talk about ‘logo design’. Instead, I ask them “What do your customers love about you? ” Together, we map out a plan to find and attract new customers and convert them into fans.

From these initial conversations I fashion a way forward and suggest project outcomes and possible strategies. Once we have achieved buy-in, I turn the enthusiasm and energy of my clients into an investigative presentation of between 20 to 30 pages. These typically begin with a typographic exploration of the name and perhaps suggested tag lines. We quickly see what works and what doesn’t from a legibility perspective. Type speaks it’s own language and together my clients and I begin to fashion an attitude, a brand stance and business outlook.

This first powerpoint is heavily researched. Did I tell you that I designed ‘finding aids’ for some of Canada’s top archives and rare book departments? Now with Google (of course) we can easily see what others have done in the business’ space, see what logos look like now, why they work or don’t, and what visual info we can gather into our project that will affect the design path. Always a conversation starter. If nothing else I get to peek into my clients’ tastes.

Now comes the logo design part. Further explorations of colour and perhaps into what I like to call a ‘gizmo’ or symbol take the remaining pages of the presentation. I like Powerpoint because once we get going it only takes tapping on a single key to run through a complete line of thinking, following a stream of thought shown as graphic concepts and ideas.

This back and forth between myself and the Client may take a few more tries before we agree upon a solution that fits our original thinking. There may be surprises as these are wide open brainstorming sessions. I promise at least two viable alternatives from which to choose a fresh brand direction. Group sessions can be planned to test and focus these preliminary ideas.

Fast forward, the branding we agree upon will take us in the right marketing direction to the creation of a complete company identity. When we have established our initial objectives, we can progress toward the creation of newspaper and magazine ads, brochures, email promotions or a web page. I write marketing plans, advertising campaigns including slogans, headlines and copy, press releases and magazine articles.

Once we get the messaging and creative elements right, I can offer the services of some the best in the business. When I think it makes sense and aligns with the brand – and my Client agrees – I will introduce experts and firms I trust: Google top page ranking, keyword research, Adwords and SEO in general, Website production, Mobile sites and enhancements, Social Media strategies, Facebook marketing including contests and ad placemnents. There are so many marketing opportunities both locally sourced and ‘out there’ today!

Everything I do is done within my personal, ‘picky’ oversight and management.