By: Lisa Slagle
I’ve noticed a recent trend in the outdoor industry—ranging all the way from local clients to massive brands like The North Face and Burton—and it’s something I’m actually super stoked about.
Brands have upped their photo game.
The outdoor industry specifically is so extraordinarily visual (mountains, sunsets, ski shots, parking lot tailgate parties!) that companies who hire professional photographers or videographers look infinitely more professional, legitimate, and purchase-inspiring than companies who take a few shred shots with their phones on a Saturday afternoon and use these low-res, unedited files for their websites and marketing.
By: Lisa Slagle
Sometimes, I write these things on Sunday morning over a cup of coffee right before I send them out. Today, I'm writing this one ahead of time. It's Friday, and I'm sitting at my desk, kind of hiding in the corner behind my mega iMac, hoping no one comes near me.
So far so good.
The truth is, I smell kinda gnarly today.
Some days, I find myself sitting in my office at 8:00 at night wondering what just happened.
I've been running my business since 2009, but as a lot of people know, Wheelie grew a lot in the last year.
Hi, Lisa here from Wheelie Creative. Lately, we have had a lot of business owners coming into our office trying to figure out if they need to re-brand their existing companies. They already have established businesses with varying levels of success, and they want to know if changing things up is a good or bad idea. In my opinion, it could go either way. Ready to geek out with me for a few minutes? Let's talk it out:
By: Lisa Slagle
I'm starting a company podcast.It's called Outside by Design, and it features adventure stories and interviews with entrepreneurs and leaders in the outdoor industry.
Do I know how to write, record, and edit a weekly podcast and then make it available to download for free in the iTunes store?
No. Of course not. Or at least I didn't a week ago.
Things I Think About While Digging Out My Sled: How Getting A Snowmobile Changed My Entire Perspective On Branding
By: Lisa Slagle
I finally bought my very own snowmobile. It’s an old M7 from 2005 with a cracked y-pipe, but I don’t care— to me it’s perfect.
My little, green sled just opened up a whole new world of Montana backcountry, and now I can access different, steeper mountains than I have been able hike to for the last few years. I have so much more to snowboard now thanks to my trusty ol’ M7!
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately trying to act like I fit in with the snowmobile community. While I’ve been a backcountry snowboarder for 7 years now, I have never owned my own sled, and I realized this week that the culture of snowmobiling is a beast of its own.
Being a newbie in sled culture actually refreshed my entire perspective on branding.
By: Lisa Slagle
I've noticed a common theme with small business owners. They care immensely about their companies. They LOVE their companies. I do, too, and I see what makes them special and unique and exciting. But a lot of small business owners struggle at writing content that reflects who they are as a company and why they do what they do. They want punchy or cute copy, but they struggle with writing content that is authentic to their voice while also motivating their customers.
Before you sit down to write any content, do the following two things:
By: Lisa Slagle
If robots came into our office, froze all of us (even Scout) with ray guns, hacked into our website, and rewrote the content, it would probably sound something like this:
Honestly, the last five or six days at work have been exhausting. I'm not complaining-- I have it good, and I love my clients, but man, have you ever just had one of those weeks where you're perpetually humbled by everything? I'll tell you about it if you want to keep reading.
Hi, Lisa here from Wheelie Creative, bringing another round of Nerdspeak 101.
I'm sitting in my backyard in Montana, typing on my laptop and listening to my Golden Retriever snore in the grass near my feet. It's 5:30 in the morning, and the clouds look incredibly badass as the sun wakes them up. Good job, Planet Earth. I grab my phone and snap a picture of the purple sky, telling myself that it's probably worth posting on Instagram.
I love Instagram.
It's by far my favorite form of social media, and one that drives a lot of traffic to my website, so I find it very useful for my business, as well a creative good time. I encourage most of my clients to use Instagram to build their brand. Instagram has over 200 million monthly active users with 75 million people on Instagram daily. The potential for exposure is insane. Here are some tips for making the most of Instagram.
A free email series for small business owners who want to learn more about design, branding, and making websites that rock
Hi, Lisa here from Wheelie Creative.
Here's another nerd session for your Sunday. Today it's about one of my very favorite topics: brand development. This is just a bit of a buzz word, but it's a good one, and one that is really important to your business.
Brand development is so much more than just a good logo and a stack of matching business cards. It's everything that happens to your customers as they buy and use your products. It's how your employees feel when they walk in the door to work in the morning. It's how you talk to potential clients. It's your reputation, both good and bad. It's your pictures on Instagram. Brand development is literally everything that involves your company and your customers.
The simplest explanation of this is that your brand is what people say about your company when you're not in the room.
Boom. Soak that in for a second.
To take this to the next level, here is one massive secret to building a strong brand. Literally, it's one word: consistency.
In a lot of ways, brands are like people. People whose actions are consistent build a strong identity for both themselves and the public. Consistent people become known by the reliability of their actions-- i.e., their commitments. Think about celebrities--whether flattering (Jennifer Lawrence) or faltering (Lindsey Lohan), people are able to easily identify consistent behavior. Brands are the same way-- they are built based on their willingness to commit and their ability to follow through.
Failure to commit is one of the strongest ways to weaken a brand.
Who knew owning a business and building a brand was an exercise in commitment?
Here are three tips for keeping your brand consistent:
1. When it comes to design, don't fake it. I'm huge into authenticity when I brand a company. When it comes to design, don't fake it. Don't be something you're not. I'm not going to make a company a logo and visual identity that doesn't represent them accurately and that they can't grow with. My goal in branding is to accurately portray a company through idealism, originality, and authenticity. I like to do this with the use of story-- visually showing the world why you and your company are awesome. I'm passionate about getting this right.
You are your brand. Just be yourself. You can't try to be your competitor. You can't try to be your favorite company. But you can be yourself. So rock it.
2. If you don't know who you are, how is anyone else supposed to, either?
There's a sweet Carl Jung quote that stuck with me: “The world will ask who you are, and if you cannot answer, the world will tell you.” -Carl Jung
This is pretty much the essence of branding. Good design helps show the world what your company looks like. You get to show the world what your company acts like.
Which brings me to branding tip number three:
3. Be kind.
If you're going to do one thing over and over, it might as well be acts of kindness to your customers, your employees, and the world at large. Tom's Shoes is a prime example of a brand built on heart and integrity, and people support them because of that alone. The awesome shoes are almost a bonus, even though they are, indeed, a for-profit shoe company. (Their graphic design is simple and gorgeous as well, which helped them get noticed initially.)
And today, that's all I've got. Next week, read about how to use Instagram to build your company's brand.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
If you'd like to sit down and talk to us about design and improving your company's brand, we would love to geek out with you about it. Just hit the orange button below:
Want these tips and tricks on building a better brand emailed straight to your inbox?
By: Lisa Slagle (I know it's July, but Logan Pass just opened, so in the spirit of that, here is a post with a lot of snowboarding references.)
One of my favorite feelings in the world is when I'm strapped into my snowboard, standing on top of a cliff, getting ready to launch off of it.
I'm comfortable in exposure like that, but I'm also just a little bit scared, and it's exciting. I'm about to let gravity and velocity take over, and all I can do is set myself up to clear any rocks in the landing, point it, enjoy the ride, and try to land on my feet, or as my brocabulary would call it: stomp it.
If I stand there too long, thinking, worrying, analyzing, psyching myself out, I almost always chicken out and don't hit the cliff, or I ride too stiffly and crash. Conversely, if I don't pay attention to what I'm doing, I almost always misjudge the landing and hit rocks or crash, tomahawking down the mountain, hoping there aren't any trees in my path of destruction. I love steep terrain. You get to see what you're made of.
Here's the thing-- I work with a lot of business owners. They put their hearts into their businesses, and I love working with them because of it.
The funny thing is, a lot of times, they seem to be waiting for the perfect moment, standing at the top of a cliff, waiting for the clouds to open up, the sun to come out, and the snow to be perfectly bottomless.
Let me explain.
I frequently hear things such as, "Let's launch the website when the time is exactly right" or "I want to offer the perfect packages. They have to be perfect." Or my personal favorite, "I'm coming up with something no one has ever done before. When it's perfect, we can design the marketing and put it out there."
Let go of perfection.
Bike-In Movie Night:
Wheelie Creative has partnered up with Northwest Artist Syndicate to throw Bike-In Movie Night every week after the Farmer's Market.
WHO: You and your bike. (Or rollerblades. Or feet.)
WHAT: Sit outside and watch a
PG-Movie. Family Friendly.
WHEN: Tuesday nights, show starts at dusk. (Probably 9pm)
WHERE: Piggyback BBQ outside.
WHY: Do you like fun? Do you like bikes? Do you like movies? Us too. That's why!
To hear us talking about Bike-In Movie Night on Big Valley Radio, click on this link and select June 19, 2014: http://www.bigvalleyradio.com/OurShows/HappyHour.aspx
By: Lisa Slagle
This is the first email in a series called NerdSpeak Explained. It's a free email series for small business owners who want to learn more about design, branding, and making their website rock.
(If you'd like to sign up for this free email series, enter your email at the bottom of this post. Once a week, you will receive an email with tips and tools for building a stronger brand for your business.)
Ready to geek out with me for a few minutes? Here we go:
Digital Strategy: Is that even a real thing?
Yes, friends, it's as real as the internet. Whatever that means.
Seriously though, digital strategy is a term we use frequently around here, and when you work with us, you'll start using it, too.
I define graphic design as "art that people use."
It's art that can tell a story, sell a product, share an idea, or even help someone navigate a trail system without getting lost. Graphic design has the power of being useful. Otherwise it's fine art, which looks great on your office wall, but doesn't really help you grow your company.
To take it one step further, Digital Strategy is design with a plan.
Wheelie Deep Thoughts
This is where we showcase fun stuff-- new work, case studies, weekly updates, job openings, and general awesomeness from members of the Wheelie Crew.
Read Posts About:
Glacier Park Conservancy
Spencer Trail Signs
Glacier Park Inc.
Whitefish Trail Signs
The North Fork
The Montana Scene
Logos We've Made