March 15, 2017

RECAP: SheSays Chicago’s International Women’s Day panel discussion

Filed under: Creativity — lidia @ 3:16 pm

SheSays Chicago's International Women's Day

Last week, I attended SheSays Chicago’s International Women’s Day panel discussion at Leo Burnett. It was a lively discussion on creating a more gender-inclusive world, filled with inspiration and humor.

Below are a few top quotes from the panelists and audience members:

If we apply innovation and startup principles, we can create solutions to our problems.

Keeping it inside yourself, not moving forward, is he problem. 

I want to get to the point where we’re not criticized for the choices me make.

Karen Gordon, Founder, Chief Design Facilitator, WE Design Think

 

You can balance being who you are, but remind yourself of your intention.

Be opinionated when you need to. 

–Pooka Merai, Design Strategist, Salesforce
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It would be hard to do a day without women because women can’t NOT do.

There’s a business cost when you don’t bring your whole self to the table.

We show up not just for ourselves but for he thousands of other women behind us. 

My goal is to help all these guys become advocates for women.

Sandee Kastrul, President and Co-Founder, I.c. stars

 

It’s important that [men] are actively involved in the conversation and listening. We don’t always know what we’re doing. 

Britt Nolan, CCO, Leo Burnett

 

Leaders who can balance EQ and IQ with loving kindness will succeed, whether male or female.

Andrew Swinand, CEO, Leo Burnett
@swinand

At the end of the event, there was a challenge presented to all of us to spend more time mentoring other women. 

How will you #BeBoldforChange?

February 28, 2017

What the kerning? Why spacing matters.

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 3:07 pm

What is kerning and why does it matter? Kerning is the process of adjusting the space between characters to make it more visually-pleasing. More of an art than science, it makes a typographic design look more professional and polished.

Watch this 45-second video and see why kerning matters.

February 25, 2017

A to Z of Branding: a guide for nonprofits and other small organizations

Filed under: Branding — lidia @ 1:42 pm

A to Z of Branding book

AVAILABLE MARCH 1

A to Z of Branding is an easy-to-understand guide for nonprofits, associations, entrepreneurs and other small organizations who need to improve their branding. The book features the ABC s of branding, along with simple activities and worksheets to make your branding more targeted and effective.

Get on my email list to be the first to get a copy!

February 17, 2017

10-Minute Marketing: Update your LinkedIn profile

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — Tags: , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

10 Minute Marketing_update your linkedin profile

Many of us probably haven’t looked at our LinkedIn profile since we created it. However since its gain in popularity, it’s a good idea to get reacquainted with LinkedIn and spruce up your profile.

A few things to keep an eye out for:

  • Headline: Does it accurately state what you do? (keep relevant keywords in mind)
  • Skills: Can you add or delete any? (again, keeping keywords in mind)
  • Headshot: Do you have one? Should it be updated?
  • Posts: Have you written a recent blog post that your network would be interested in? Here’s how to publish it on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Summary: Does it speak to your target audience and how you can help them? Should you update your work samples?
  • Recommendations: Are they recent? If not, reach out to recent clients for recommendations. Here’s a how-to.
  • Organizations: Update to include new memberships or delete old ones.
  • Groups: Delete those that are no longer of interest or relevant.

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Tidy up your LinkedIn profile.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

February 16, 2017

If you don’t ask, you won’t know

Filed under: Client Communication — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 12:21 pm

If you don’t ask, you won’t know

Recently, my 5 year-old was dressing in short-sleeve shirts, even though it was cold outside. Day after day, this kept happening until I finally asked: “Why don’t you put on a long-sleeve shirt?” And he responded: “Because I can’t reach them in my closet.” Problem solved, all because I asked.

When is the last time you asked your clients what’s on their mind? The answers may be simple but powerful. By taking the time to reach out, it shows that you care about what they think. Plus, hearing their thoughts will offer insight into how to make your projects—and working relationship—better.

What should I ask?

I recommend starting with a few simple questions like:

  • What are you struggling with right now?
  • How can I help you?
  • How can we improve our working relationship?
  • What else can I help you with?

Once you start the conversation, more questions (and answers) will inevitably come to the surface. It’s a good idea to keep these notes with your client project files for future reference.

5 ways to ask your clients questions:

  1. Call them (have a few questions ready)
  2. Invite them for coffee
  3. Email a few questions
  4. Send a client survey (I like SurveyMonkey or Typeform).
  5. Check past emails for questions they have asked

I recommend starting a file to keep track of the questions clients often ask of you for easy reference (I use Evernote).

Need some help brainstorming questions to ask your clients? Let’s chat!

 

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February 10, 2017

10-Minute Marketing: Survey your clients

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

10-Minute Marketing: Survey your clients

How often do you ask your clients or supporters questions? I know how easy it is to get caught up in projects, but if you stop to ask questions it can offer insight into how you can enhance your projects and relationships.

Here are a few questions you can ask your clients:

  • What do you need?
  • What are you struggling with right now?
  • How can I help?
  • How can we improve our working relationship?
  • How else I can help you?

To get your answers, you can simply call or email them, or send out a short survey (I recommend SurveyMonkey or Typeform). I also like to keep a running list of client inquires or pain points in Evernote so that I can refer to it them often.

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Prepare a client survey or simple email with a few questions.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

 

January 13, 2017

2016: a year to REGROUP

Filed under: Featured Design Project — lidia @ 1:00 pm

2016 was a great year for Lidia Varesco Design—both for my personal goal of continuing to grow my design studio, as well as my professional goal of helping as many organizations as possible share their story and mission.

For the last few years, I’ve chosen a word to set the tone for the year. Last year’s word was REGROUP. After my kids were born, it took some time to adjust to my new life as a mom in business—and admittedly it was sometimes difficult to juggle it all. But last year I made an intention to REGROUP and get my business back on track.

Below are a few highlights from 2016, click on each to learn more.

2016 Year in Review

10 new clients   1 podcast   10 email newsletters
judged communications awards   published 57 blog posts   exhibited at nonprofit symposium
10-Minute Marketing series on Faceebook Live   36 Biz Mama Interviews   #the100dayproject art journal

I’m grateful to everyone who has provided work, support, inspiration, opportunities—or just an ear to listen. Here’s to a great 2017!

January 11, 2017

How to make the most out of working with a graphic designer

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , , , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

8 ways to get the most out of your graphic designer

Having a graphic designer partner can make a huge difference for an organization. Since your branding is probably the first thing a potential client or partner notices about you, investing in a well-designed logo and other marketing materials is one of the keys to success.

I recently shared my top 8 tips for working with a graphic designer on the Keyword Marketing Blog:

  1. Let us know what your goals are for the project (aka the “who, what and why”): This includes WHO you are trying to reach, WHAT you are trying to accomplish, and WHY you chose this type of marketing piece. The more we know about your project and your goals, the better the end result will be.
  2. Send us copy that is complete and well-organized: This will cut down on the number of potential edits (saving you time and money). Let us know if you need referrals for a copywriter or editor. Or ask us for help editing your content to fit your message.
  3. Provide graphics that are high-resolution and in usable file formats: Please, no graphics pulled from the web! Also let us know of any potential copyright issues—if you are unsure about using an image, we can help you investigate or find appropriate images.
  4. Inform us of deadlines and crucial project milestones: It helps us create a working production schedule—and we are happy to keep you on track if necessary!
  5. Let us know how and where your project will be used: If you need print materials, a website, online advertising, social media profiles or graphics, promotional or staff apparel, etc., we want to know about it.
  6. Provide samples: If you have existing marketing materials or branding, please provide samples at the start of the project so we can keep everything consistent.
  7. Bring up any concerns as they arise: Please let us know as soon as possible of any concerns you have during the design process. Frequent and honest communication is appreciated and will help both of us stay on the same page.

  8. Bonus points – if you have Brand Guidelines, please send them: This helps us keep our designs on-brand (And if you don’t have brand guidelines, we are happy to create them for you)

Above all, know that we are here to help. If you have any questions as we go along, please ask. Remember, our job is to make your business look good so the more we communicate, the better your business branding—and our relationship—will be.

Do you need a graphic design partner? I would love to chat with you!

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January 6, 2017

10-Minute Marketing: Make a list of things to learn

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — lidia @ 10:00 am

10-Minute Marketing: Make a list of things to learn

Instead of making New Year resolutions every year, I make a list of things I want to learn. I find it to be less intimidating and more practical than making resolutions. My list usually involves both personal and work-related purusits (as they often cross over) and sometimes (OK, always) I carry over things from past years

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Make a list of things to learn this year.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

 

January 5, 2017

Care to join me in a STORYSTORM?

Filed under: Creativity — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Im a storystorm participant

Some of you may have heard me mention PiBoIdMo (Picture Books Idea Month), a daily children’s book brainstorming challenge facilitated by author Tara Lazar that I participated in a few years ago (not to mention, got some great book ideas!)

PiBoIdMo has been replaced with STORYSTORM: a month of brainstorming new story ideas—and it’s no longer limited to children’s book ideas. This event is open to any writer seeking inspiration, support and community.

Registration is open until Friday, Jan. 7 and I just signed up to brainstorm ideas for new children’s books, as well as a few marketing book ideas I have. Sign up here.

Will you participate in STORYSTORM? Share in the comments!
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