It’s Never Too Early to Learn How to Make a Good Impression


As I type this, my 10-year old daughter is in the other room stuffing and labeling envelopes for me for a Lev Promotions’ mailing. Each envelope requires seven steps in order for it to be ready to mail. She is getting paid for this job, but she is learning that it isn’t just completing the steps that is important. It is how those steps are done that can be the make or break in making an impression on the recipients of those envelopes. She is learning that first impressions can be important.

I have stressed to her that it’s not enough to simply put the three components into the envelope. Each component needs to be facing a particular way and the order of the components is important. The address label and stamp have to be in the correct place and as straight as possible. When she asked me why this is all important, I told her that people may decide if they want to do business with Lev Promotions based that envelope.

I put together a sloppy envelope and gave it to her. I asked her what she would think of the person who put it together if she had received that piece in the mail. She looked at the envelope and considered her answer for a moment: “I would think that this is a messy place and they don’t know how to be careful.”

I then asked her if she would trust this company with her brand. (Now, keep in mind that this 10-year-old girl has been around a marketing-minded mother since birth. She often surprises me with her understanding of what a branded message is and she even has somewhat of a grasp on the concept of brand integrity.) She told me that she would not, unless her company was supposed to be kind of “funky and messy.” “I wouldn’t want people to think I do things all sloppy.”

If a 10-year-old gets it, I wonder why some of my adult clients don’t understand that marketing endeavors that look like they were slapped together at the last minute without much thought or effort can actually backfire on them.

Vacations As a Marketing Tool


So you’re a micro – to mid-size business owner and you just don’t can’t find the time to be away from the office long enough for a vacation? I’m in the same boat, but I know that vacations are important not just for my mental and physical health, but for my creativity – which, in my case, is a huge business tool.

Although we business owners can’t necessarily take a vacation that is 100% work-free, it is important to take some time off. By not being in business-mode all the time, and taking a break from our physical work environment, we open ourselves up to new ideas and to see things we thought we’d done right/well in a whole new light.

Maybe we have the opportunity to see how others are handling the same type of business we own. When I was a manager in the hotel industry, I spent 5 – 7 days a week at a hotel. I understood the business and knew what we did well and where we needed improvement. When on vacation, however, the perspective changed. I stayed at hotels and got to see things from the other side of the front desk. It opened me up to new ideas in how to handle customer service issues, how the physical layout of a hotel can affect a guest’s stay, what tools we weren’t using that we should be taking advantage of, and more.

Today, even when I go for a simple day-trip to Disneyland, a part of me is looking at how they are promoting the brand, the parks, and the experience. How are they using promotional products (other than as a way to get me to spend more money)? What are the marketing avenues they are taking advantage of and are they being executed well? How can I apply those things to my clients and my own business?

A vacation is a time to rejuvenate yourself. Even if you need to spend a few hours each day on work essentials, it’s still time spent away from the office that will give you new perspective (consciously or not) on improvements you can make in your own business.

Now go out and catch a wave, go to an amusement park, climb a rock, or visit a spa. Whatever you will enjoy – get out there and do it.

Is Your Photograph a Good Marketing Tool?


At the risk of alienating my photographer friends, clients and prospects, I am going to give you my view of using your photograph as a marketing tool.

I know the most popular argument for it: People who only met you briefly will better remember you if your photo is on your business card.

That being said, I am not an advocate of using your photograph on printed marketing materials. A photo is more likely to eliminate you as a prospect rather than cement a business relationship. Don’t believe me, I have two stories to illustrate my point:

1) I have a client who is a real estate agent. She was the third top producer in her office. She is also a beautiful woman who could have been a model. When she looked at her client roster, it turned out that she had a disproportionate number of single men as clients, rather than couples and families. When she dug a little deeper, she found out that when she gave her business card to a male prospective client whose wife was not with him at the time, she rarely took that couple/family on as a client; the wife saw her photo (without having the opportunity to speak to her and learn how knowledgeable she is about her job) and didn’t want her working with the husband – the wife saw her as a threat. When we redesigned her business card for her, without the photo, she became the second top producer within 6 months and was the top producer in her office 10 months after that.

2) Another real estate agent client of mine had his photo on his business cards. Unfortunately, this gentleman does not photograph well, and his photo did not present him in a good light. We replaced his photo with a picture of the most dilapidated property he had ever sold with the caption, “If I can sell this….” His business doubled within one year.

Need more proof that’s not related to a real estate agent? Check out this article about a nanny who lost out on a job: (Make sure you hit the “more” button.)

I do believe that a photo, used judiciously, is appropriate. If you have an “About Us” page on your website with employee bios, a photo is good. Your Facebook page should have a photo of you, not your dog or some other silly thing – you want to be clearly identifiable as the one and only you.

Hey, if you’re a model or an actor, a photo is an absolute necessity. It is one of your main marketing tools. If you’re anything other than someone looking to get a job or a deal based on your looks, stick to other marketing tools.