Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Beyond Fitness: 5 Ways to Foster Well-Being in Your Workplace

According to the World Health Organization, health is central to human happiness and well-being.


Healthy populations live longer, are more productive, save resources, and make important contributions to sustainability, a better world, and economic progress.


But well-being involves more than just fitness. It includes physical comfort, mental stability, and emotional connectivity. In short, well-being is the “feel-good factor.”


5 Workplace Well-Being Factors


Companies that prioritize safety, work environment, and the emotional well-being of employees will improve morale, reduce absenteeism, and be more productive in the long run.


Aside from fitness incentives, here are five factors that contribute to well-being in the workplace.


1. Physical Comfort and Safety


Do you do your best work when you are shivering or dripping with sweat?


The physical comfort of employees has a significant effect on company outputs each year. The design and “unwritten rules” of a workspace are key factors in meeting employees’ most basic needs – including everything from temperature control, air quality, access to daylight, ergonomics, noise control, and safety risks.


Allowing for discussions about problem areas and individual control for the adjustment of conditions can be critical to overall well-being.


2. Autonomy


Difficult co-workers are hard, but micro-managing bosses can be harder.


When managers are too controlling, employees fail to excel in their collaborative environments. This disengagement has high costs over time: studies show that apathetic workers have rates of absenteeism 37% higher than average, and they work with a dampened sense of creativity. Strategic leaders need to keep a close eye on how company managers are encouraging or squashing employee morale.


3. Remote Work Options


When autonomy is given full expression, there is a permissiveness for working off-site.


This may seem insignificant, but allowing employees to flex their schedule, work around a sick child, or extend family vacations with remote work days can do wonders to keep people motivated. When there is a greater balance between office and domestic life, conflict is reduced, and productivity grows.


4. Positive Culture


Do you work well when you’re having more fun?


Workplace well-being spikes when social connections are strong. The Harvard Business Review found this so necessary that they identified six characteristics of a supportive work culture:



  1. Caring for colleagues as you would friends

  2. Providing support and compassion

  3. Avoiding blame and forgiving mistakes

  4. Inspiring one another

  5. Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work

  6. Instilling trust, integrity, and gratitude across all levels of the organization.


Whether it’s monthly lunch cookouts or goofy employee awards, strong companies prioritize transparent relationships from the top down.


5. Collaborative Competition


Why are shows like The Amazing Race or Dancing with the Stars so engaging?


Maybe it’s because watching teams work toward a common goal fosters community – even between reality TV stars and their audience!


When companies encourage supportive competition, it can build bridges between employees, generate untapped creativity, and spark engagement or support that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Whether you post department “step counting” challenges or have people compete for the best new marketing hook, collaborative competition is one of the easiest ways to boost the physical, mental, and social environment at work.


The Long View of Well-Being


The core of every strong well-being program is behavior change.


If you launch a well-being initiative, identify a long-term impact that you are targeting as well. The best programs are good at helping people adopt AND maintain healthy behaviors, including how they feel about work, and if they’re giving their best each day.


Addressing all levels of well-being optimizing company potential and allows each individual to be personally fulfilled.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

How Successful Entrepreneurs Overcome Self-Doubt Each Day

Diane von Furstenberg is a Belgian fashion designer who has built her namesake company into one of the most recognizable in the world.


Furstenberg has been listed as the world’s 68th most powerful, received an honorary doctorate, and been president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America for years.


Confidence should come easily to someone like this, wouldn’t you think?


But Furstenberg does not see herself this simply. She believes she’s a constant work in progress and says successful people (like herself) probably feel like losers at least once a week.


Furstenberg said she feels self-doubt continually. What does that look like in her life?


“Oh, just, you know. You feel like a loser, you wake up and you doubt. So my trick is, I look in the mirror and say, “If you doubt your power, then you give power to your doubts.”


Squash Doubt to Bring Your Best Work to Life


Can you relate to Furstenberg?


You’re not alone. Even successful business owners grapple with self-doubt. Sometimes this can be a good thing, keeping you humble and helping you soberly evaluate limitations.


But for the most part, self-doubt is a form of sabotage that keeps you from fulfilling your potential. Successful people aren’t immune to uncertainty, but they refuse to let it derail their goals. Want to overcome doubt and achieve what you’ve set out to accomplish?


Here are several ways to combat that accusing voice:


1. Stop and Reset


When inner doubts creep in, deal with them immediately.


Don’t let paranoia spin out of control or imagine worst-case scenarios. Talk back to that doubtful voice with phrases like these:


“No. Stop. I’m not listening to this.”


 “I know where this train of thought leads, and I’m not getting on!”


“I’ve been successful in the past, and I will be again.”


As Steven Pressfield says in Do The Work! Overcome Resistance And Get Out Of Your Own Way,


"The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can't/shouldn't/won't do what we know we need to do."


2. Deal with Anxiety Triggers


One way to squash doubt is to deal with it straight on.


What personal deficits or situations trigger your insecurity? If it’s a lack of skill, seek specific training. If it’s uncertainty about a decision, get counsel from other experts in your field. If it’s fear of the unknown, find coaches or mentors to walk you through this stage of uncertainty.


3. Avoid Comparisons


If you compare yourself to others, you will usually lose.


In today’s connected generation, usually your perspective of others is only the highlight reel, and certainly not the struggle or discipline it took to build success. Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to YOU. Look at how far you’ve come, the progress you’ve made toward current goals, or how you’ve overcome obstacles in spite of hardship.


4. Don’t Depend on Validation


While the input of others can be helpful, confident leaders trust their own instincts.


We all like a pat on the back, but in seeking continual validation, you erode vision and weaken faith in yourself. When tackling a big project, get input initially, then trust your gut and make decisions that feel right to you.


Move Forward With Confidence


Having confidence in yourself is the best way to sharpen your unique voice.


Say no to accusation, confront anxiety triggers, and avoid putting too much weight in others’ opinions. Overpower doubt so you can maximize your potential.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

How Re-Purposed Malls Can Teach Entrepreneurs a Lesson

Have you been to a dying mall lately?


It can be pretty depressing. Empty storefronts litter the hallways like missing teeth in a hockey player’s mouth. Dim lighting seems to permeate each corner, and mall walkers bring more energy than any hint of retail activity. What was booming 30 years ago now feels like a bust.


With consumers shifting more of their shopping from physical to online spaces, young generations have a different perspective on what a buying experience should bring. This explains why some malls are dying, while others are thriving. What’s the difference?


In Maryland, one mall is renting space to a theater company while, in Michigan, one mall is now home to a cultural association that sponsors Chinese festivals. Some malls have transformed parts of their space to offer thriving art schools for walk-in shoppers. Others have created customer-centric experiences, like combining fashion consultants with on-site purchasing options.


Like most other sales venues, there is still a future for brick-and-mortar businesses. But this requires companies to sell strategically to young generations through methods that resonate.


What lessons can we learn from our friends in the mall?


Engaging, Experiential Shopping


There are numerous definitions of experiential purchasing.


Generally, this idea refers to stores where “extra” things happen in addition to selling, and where shoppers do more than just buying. As an entrepreneur, how can you offer people a chance to buy an experience or a memory rather than just an object or service? This may include massage chairs at the gym, in-store skills classes, or lifestyle opportunities (like art galleries in malls) that can be combined with a shopping experience.


Added Online Convenience


If you want people to visit your business, can you ease their journey by adding online convenience?


Like store pickups for pre-ordered groceries, merchants that simplify the purchasing experience will have more success. One business took orders for online samples then had three options ready and waiting when the customer came to preview them in the store.


Digital Campaigns with On-Site Flash Sales


One benefit of physical stores is strengthening emotional connections between consumers and brands.


While it is nice to order things online, sometimes swooping in to nab a deal brings a huge adrenaline rush (think Black Friday!). Can your business combine timely print or digital ads to promote 24-hour flash sales on the hottest items in your store? This creates the opportunity to lock in a client while potentially up-selling other products when people visit in person.


Lively, Professional Environments


People don’t just crave convenience; they crave connections.


When asked why people choose physical stores over online retailers, the number one response was a “need to see, touch, feel, and try out items.” How can you offer people better opportunities to interact directly with your products? When you do this, the physical shopping experience provides a tactile experience that simply can’t be matched online.


Your displays are a huge part of this. From oversized banners and full-panel window displays to music, lighting, and even scents, the environment you create must be better than ever. And with today’s print and digital technology, everything can be customized to immerse your clients in the most authentic brand experience possible!


The Definition of Success


While online shopping has re-written the rules of purchasing, buyers still crave experiences that can only be delivered in person. Remember, a successful space is one that people want to visit, so give people a reason to be there.


When they’re spending their time somewhere, they’re more likely to spend their money as well.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Ensure Staying Power for Your Business with Great Local Marketing

Earlier this year, Gerrit Curran and Emily Wessner opened a Jersey Mike’s Subs in Muhlenberg Township, Pennsylvania.


To gain traction in their township of 20,000, these entrepreneurs knew that their new business must be intricately tied to a community connection. Curran and Wessner chose to use print as their primary marketing channel. The Jersey Mike’s staff distributed nearly 7,500 sandwich coupons throughout the community, encouraging patrons to enjoy a free sub and also to donate the cost of that sandwich to the Muhlenberg Township Athletic Association.


In the end, the promotion helped raise over $15,000, and the franchise gained an admirable reputation as a devoted community partner.


Stand Out in Your Community


Print marketing can be especially effective in creating a local marketing presence, especially when combined with integrated campaign efforts.


Smart business owners know that catering to a local market can be a point of power. But how do you leverage this connection? Here are several ways to connect your on- and off-line presence in compelling ways.


Demonstrate Community Connection


Integrate your business into local festivals, sponsorship opportunities, and regional traditions.


Does your community host a lobster festival? Find fun ways to weave this crustacean into your flyers or sales. Share pictures or postcards about your brand participating in local fundraisers, theme weeks, or service drives. Start conversations on things that are happening locally and, whenever possible, relate them to your business.


Personalize Advertisements


When advertising for your business, highlight testimonies or quotes from real, local customers. Try before and after pictures, photos of your customers in well-loved parks, or advertisements featuring your content in front of an area mascot.


Another option is to tailor your ads to regional events. Is your city sponsoring a music festival? Offer helpful content like advice on cheap parking, a schedule of places where kids eat for a discount, or print coupons that correspond to a felt need of these visitors. Creating ads with local content will connect with your audience on a very personal level.


Invent Reasons to Make a Difference


Too often, organizations focus on community involvement with a selfish perspective: more profits, more marketing, etc.


Instead, take a “community in the front, business in the rear” approach. Whether you build a nature center with other businesses or create a contest for local charities, genuinely help people, and the benefits will follow. Plus, employees and volunteers will love submitting their photos to your company newsletter or your social media pages.


Tell Your Story


If you’re from the area you’re targeting, do your best to tell the story of how your business came to life.


Make a video, print inserts for your bags or envelopes, or have a brand story display onsite. Customers love to support local businesses, especially those founded or run by a hard-working local resident.


Find, Engage, Repeat


While your brand may serve customers beyond your region, an enormous 85% of business owners depend on word-of-mouth referrals, so it is vital to actively influence your friends and neighbors!


When satisfied local customers are committed to your success, your business can do more with less while continuing to succeed.


Need help giving your brand an extra boost in the community? We’d be happy to help with your local marketing needs. Contact us today to find out more!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

5 Fantastic Color Combinations for Your Next Design

Feeling blue?


Maybe it's the color of the room you're sitting in.


Color psychology is something that has fascinated people for decades. Artists and interior designers have long believed that colors can dramatically affect moods and emotions, and color marketing has become a hot topic in marketing, art, design, and print. As Pablo Picasso once remarked, "Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions."


Color is a powerful communication tool, so understanding it can help you signal action, sway the mood, and even influence psychological reactions. Want to give it a try? Here is a quick snapshot of color harmonies, including color combinations to try in your next poster, banner, or custom label.


The Best Ways to Create Balance


The color wheel consists of three primary colors (red, yellow, blue), three secondary colors (colors created when primary colors are mixed: green, orange, purple), and six tertiary colors (colors made from primary and secondary colors, such as blue-green or red-violet).


When you draw a line directly through the center of the color wheel, you will separate the warm colors from the cool colors.


Warm colors (reds, yellows, and oranges) are vivid and bold in nature and tend to advance forward when viewed. They communicate energy, brightness, and action. Cool colors (blues, greens, and purples) appear soothing by nature and typically make a space seem larger. Cool colors are often associated with nature, calmness, peace, or serenity.


When choosing your next color combination, remember that complementary colors (those opposite on the color wheel) provide sharp contrasts. This can make your imagery really pop, but are best when used sparingly.


To avoid overdoing things, remember complementary colors do not need to exist in equal parts. If you want to use purple and yellow, allow one color to dominate and add only a tiny bit of the other.


For a more subtle approach, use triadic colors in your design (those that are evenly spaced around the color wheel). Or use analogous colors (those next to each other on the color wheel). Here one color will dominate, and the other will provide a sophisticated accent.


Set the Mood with Five Gorgeous Blends


Ready to get started? Check out these gorgeous blends:


For a friendly, playful feel:


Try magenta, goldenrod, turquoise, and brick. This four-color combination brings zest, personality, and a friendly, exciting tone.


For a sophisticated yet energetic feel:


Try gold, charcoal, and grey. This perfect combination of sunshine and somberness offers a cheerful tone with a grounded, mature accent.


For an aged, natural tone:


Try tan, deep turquoise, and black. Against the more neutral base, turquoise leaps to the forefront to evoke creativity, life, and freedom. For a more serious feel, use turquoise sparingly and add touches of brown or deep orange.


For a contemporary, chic tone:


Try mauve, sapphire, and powder blue. The baby blue brings a gentleness, while the rich pink and deep blue highlights scream femininity.


For an invigorating, rustic feel:


Try pine green, burnt orange, and light peach. When you want to set your design apart, orange is guaranteed to stop traffic. Burnt orange offers a more distinguished feel than a pumpkin or neon orange hue, but it still gets the job done. The rich green offers a warm, natural accent, and light peach ties everything together perfectly.


Colors That Connect


Want to set the mood or connect with your core customers?


Whether you lean toward simple and sophisticated or edgy and eccentric, colors build emotional bridges like nothing else can. Bring that wow factor to your professional printings through beautiful, unforgettable color combinations.

Monday, October 14, 2019

5 Simple and Impressive Print Techniques to Strengthen Your Marketing Materials

Individual design elements are the building blocks of today's best marketing pieces, and with today's technology, almost anything is possible when it comes to print.


Print products can vary in texture, color, shape, and finish, bringing a staying power that allows your company to shine strong among competitors.


Step Up Your Game with Memorable, Inspiring Print Promos


Here are five simple and impressive print techniques that can drastically improve the appearance of your materials.


1. Cut it Out


Whether it's brochures, business cards, or door hangers, printed pieces aren't limited to square or rectangular shapes.


Consider reshaping your invitation to match your logo, or creating a custom label in the shape of your most popular product. For brochures or folders, you can add custom-shaped pockets, a peek-through window, or die cuts that accentuate the featured product.


2. Add Texture


While embossing was originally known for its use in personalized stationery, today raised elements can be used in envelope flaps, business cards, hang tags, and more.


Embossing elevates your design from the background, providing a raised, textured effect. It can be used to create geometric patterns, add borders, or add a custom seal to product packaging.


3. Be Blunt


Adding contrast is one of the most effective ways to add spark to your print piece.


Contrast helps organize your design and establish a hierarchy, guiding viewers to the most important parts of your design.


Add contrast by mixing dark and light colors (like white fonts on deep, rich backgrounds), by using opposite hues in close proximity, or by mixing organic, fluid shapes with angled, geometric elements.


Contrast texture in your font pairings, graphic sizing, or in disrupted patterns like these.


4. Go Retro


Though the eye loves symmetry, the heart connects with the imperfect.


From scary scars to burned edging, imperfections in design can humanize your creations and strengthen the bond between a brand and its user.


Add retro elements by making things look dirty or ragged. Degrade pristine images with vintage photo filters, add blur or gradients to your designs, or add artifact images that scream authenticity.


5. Finish Well


Like dolloping whipped cream on your pie, adding a stock coating in your designs can bring a delicious finishing touch.


In addition to providing extra protection to your marketing materials, coatings can draw attention to key elements by adding texture and shine. Add sophistication with a glossy UV coating, shimmer with pearlescent glitter coatings, accents with spot varnishes, or coarse texture with grit coatings.


Coatings add class and show that you approach business with pride, which can make customers more comfortable working with you.


Create a Timeless Treasure


While new trends take shape every day, you can make a modern design statement with existing techniques that give your print materials a sleek twist. Great designs mix the old and the new to create timeless print pieces your clients will love.

Friday, September 27, 2019

4 Ways to Maximize Impact with Pictures

They say a picture paints a thousand words, but pictures go beyond just that. Sometimes they force an emotional response.


Consider the Snake Campaign from Playland, an amusement park in Vancouver.


This print ad features a horrified man on a background split between two scenes: on the left, a jungle landscape, on the right, an outdoor amusement park.


In front of the amusement park scene, the man clutches the handle of his roller coaster safety bar as he seems to be hurtling from a high drop on the ride. In front of the jungle scene, the man's hand is nearly clutching an enormous snake that has slithered itself over his neck and waist. The snake and safety bar are precisely symmetrical, harnessing the man in for a ride he wishes he hadn't taken, while playing on people's nightmarish aversion to snakes.


The message? Playland is a place to scream yourself silly: "Fear Made Fun."


For the Love of Imagery


People like pictures. A lot.


Why? For one thing, pictures help our brains process and retain information.


According to John Medina, author of Brain Rules, people can often remember more than 2,500 pictures with at least 90 percent accuracy several days after seeing them. When comparing pictures to oral presentations, researchers found that people listening to an oral presentation could only recall around 10 percent of the details. But when an image was added, recall rose to 65 percent!


The brain also processes images faster than any other form of communication. A team of neuroscientists from MIT found that the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds.  So whether you're writing a report, brainstorming ads, or creating handouts for a seminar, be sure to prioritize pictures!


Bring Your Content to Life with Pictures


Here are several ways to incorporate images in your next project:


Show, Don't Tell


Since pictures are so efficient, an image almost always exceeds an explanation.


A diagram of a machine, a blueprint of a building, or a map of your facility will do much better conveying a concept than paragraphs of text.


Overlay Text


An image can be a great way to introduce a chapter or a section of your presentation.


To add clarity, try placing text on top of an image (like a magazine cover, which features a signature photo with overlaid text) to create a nice header. Many online editor tools exist to help you with this, or even basic tutorials from Photoshop.


Color Code


Since colors are a form of imaging, using color coding in brochures, catalogs, or store displays can help viewers make sense of your information.


Color-code sections of a binder with predominantly red images in one section and green in another section to delineate subjects. Color code inventory or training manuals to keep people and products organized, or use colors to organize workflow boards to convey urgent tasks versus those that are on-going.


Turn Bullet Points Into Icons


Looking to spice up a flyer or brochure?


Lots of text is distracting to an audience. Instead, try replacing bullet points with a photo or icon that represents the message you want to share. A yellow triangle with an exclamation point works for highlighting caution areas. A speedometer can be used for acceleration. A bulls-eye can be used for sales targets. Be creative and have fun with icons!


Like any campaign, consistency in tone and photo content will naturally boost the message you bring. Adding thoughtful, seamless photography can help you maximize the impact, clarity, and beauty of each piece you produce.