Tag: Branding

23 Feb 2019
3 Steps to Grow Your Brand Peterman Design Firm Blog

3 Steps to Grow Your Brand

So, you’ve got your brand. It’s beautiful, you love it, it resonates with your customers, and most of the time, your designer has walked away. Now you want to build your brand from just the core that it is now and get it out there. Some people will tell you that “building your brand” isn’t necessary, mostly people who want to sell you advertising. Others will tell you that your brand needs to grow your brand and build a presence with it, mostly people who do branding or social media work. I personally believe both are needed, it isn’t just about advertising to build your brand and there’s more to it than just designing a cool brand. So let’s discuss a couple ways to grow your brand and why they are beneficial.

Create Content – Number one most important thing is to create content and not just any content, some combination of useful and entertaining content. You can do this a number of ways, from blogging to posting on social media, to podcasts, and more. Just find the right places that you enjoy sharing your content and start getting it out there. I’d recommend that if you do hire this out you have a very comprehensive conversation with whoever is doing it to make sure the “voice” they use matches or is close to your own and matches your company brand. Content is great because it can be what you give away for free, attracts new and interested customers, and keeps you relevant, as well as being great for SEO when used properly.

Engage – Just posting on your Facebook page doesn’t cut it any more, in fact I don’t think it ever did, people just somehow got it in there head that posting on social media means people will magically see what they post. You need to get your brand out there, interact with current, future, and past customers. Engage on forums, different social media platforms, answering questions, putting out valuable and relatable content that your customers are interested in. None of this is to sell, just to provide value and get your name out there. This will get you found by people you might never reach with advertising and shows that you are actually interested in what you do, not just there to make money.

Build Referrals & Partnerships – You can do this through your customer base and through networking with other people and companies to build your own referral network. Building partnerships is also a great way to get your brand to grow. Finding an established company who’s willing to partner with you can give your own brand a lot of strength as people will see you with a known brand. Keep in mind when you do this that you are only attaching your name to companies whose brand aligns with yours and who you know won’t damage your brand. This is a long term reward process and you may not see this paying out for a couple years, but I know several companies who started super small and because they invested heavily in referrals and partnerships now do basically no marketing or advertising because they have a constant stream of business from their customer referrals and other partnerships. This also gets your brand out there through real people, which often carries more weight than other ways.

If you follow these three steps to building your brand you’ll find your brand growing as quickly as you want it to. A brand is important and it’s just as important that you grow it after you have it.

22 Dec 2017

5 Things to Remember When Going Through Edits

So, you’ve got your initial design done, and now you want some changes made. What’s the best way to go about that? Did you discuss revisions and edits with your designer before you started? There is a lot to consider with edits, and defining what an edit is can be a difficult thing, especially when not clearly defined and both sides have a different idea of what an edit is. This list should help clear things up a bit, and help you when you are discussing edits with your product developer.

  1. What is an Edit? – An edit is defined as “a change or correction made as a result of editing” according to the dictionary. But what does it mean for you and your designer/developer? Once an initial design is created, it’s very common to need to make changes to the design to make sure every need has been met, to adjust for discovered issues, and that project scope (more here) has been correctly followed. At the Peterman Design Firm, we define an edit as a request from our client to make a change or adjustment to a current design.
  2. When Should You Edit? – At each review point. A good project plan has review points where the developer meets with you, the client, to review the project. These points are usually defined by the developer, but if there is a specific point where you want to review, then you need to make sure your designer or developer knows this, and can plan around your requirement. These should be specified in your Timeline and your Project Scope
  3. Avoid Over-The-Shoulder Editing. – The over-the-shoulder editing is something you should stay away from at all costs. It slows your developer down, costs more money, and does not allow your developer or designer to work in their space, which is where they are able to come up with the best ideas. I’ve known a few designers that could work with clients like this, however most loath it completely, and will sometimes even refuse to work with anyone who is like this. More about what you should avoid with your designer here.
  4. How Should You Edit? – It really depends on the developer, and both of your styles of communication which works best. For your own protection, and to make sure no edits are ever missed, red-lining drawings or presentations is the clearest and most effective method. It’s why engineering teams use red-lining exclusively when editing designs. Here we like to send a digital presentation or drawing set for our clients to review, red-line, then send it back and have a phone conversation to go over the edits if needed. Having edits in writing protects you as the client, because if an edit is missed, you can call it out and make sure your developer completes the edit before moving on, and it also gives you a reference to make sure you have talked with them about everything you wanted to when going over an edit.
  5. Edits are Almost Always Needed. – In my entire career of developing products over 15 years now, I’ve had two designs go to prototype without needing an edit. I’ve worked with hundreds of companies, and designed and developed thousands of individual parts. Edits and revisions are a part of the process, and the product development process is what takes your idea and turns it into a fully manufacturable production ready product.

Use edits to your advantage, they are like reset buttons. Each time you go through a review, it gives you the opportunity to adjust your products course and make sure it hits the mark. Think of it as getting to shoot an arrow, only if you notice half-way through the arrow going to the target that it won’t be a bulls-eye. Then you make an edit, and now it’s aimed closer to the center. Every time you review, you get the opportunity to find flaws in the design, and prevent future issues from arising before they become a real problem, such as going to manufacturing with a feature flaw you could have noticed early in the project. Edits are a tool, use them as such.

15 Dec 2017

7 Ways to Annoy Your Designer – and You

Most of my posts have been about what to do, what to bring, and what you should expect from your developer. Here, I’d like to go over a few things that you shouldn’t do with your designer, unless you don’t want to work with them of course. These can cause unneeded tension and issues in a project and your relationship with your developer.

  1. Over-The-Shoulder Work. – I know, you are really excited and want to be a part of the entire process and see the whole thing. Designers and developers don’t work this way, especially when highly creative solutions are needed. I’ve worked with several clients, and some jobs in my early career, where this style of “management” was provided. I now have a strict policy against this, and so does almost every designer I’ve ever met. It hampers creativity, slows us down, and honestly gets very annoying, none of which benefits you as the client. Think of having a backseat driver, it’s the same thing.
  2. Over-state Your Knowledge. – If you haven’t gone through the process of developing a new product, don’t say you have. The greatest developers are happy to work with the inexperienced, but we also aren’t a school. Tell us when you don’t know or understand things, it makes for a much less frustrating experience for both parties. We don’t expect you to know everything about product development, that’s why you hired us in the first place.
  3. Can’t You Just Photoshop it? – NO! I can’t just Photoshop a new vehicle design from that interesting building image you sent me. That request hasn’t happened yet, but I’m sure it will. This counts for anything tool specific. Unless you have experience designing with the specific tool and can do it yourself, then don’t assume that it’s just a quick thing you can throw together.
  4. Tell them “It Shouldn’t Take You Long”. – It’s good to have an idea of how long a project will take, but as the designer, it’s our job to know how long something should take given your requirements. But what about that job you got done last time that the designer said took only 20 minutes? It could have taken 3 hours, but maybe they wanted to sound impressive. Or maybe it took 20 minutes, but the reason you are talking to a new designer because the results wasn’t what you really wanted. It could have also required a completely different process to get a similar result. Product Development isn’t’ a simple process, otherwise there wouldn’t be specialists that only focus on Product Development.
  5. Expect Responses 24/7. – If you are paying someone to be on call, then go for it. Most designers don’t work this way. I’ve had clients in the past that seemingly did not sleep and expected everyone around them not to either. Great designers take time for themselves and don’t always respond immediately to a client. Prompt responses should always be given, but not at 3am. You want your designer to have a life outside of doing your work, it means they won’t burn out and they’ll still have amazing and creative solutions for you in 30 years.
  6. Change the Scope of Work. – Once a project is underway, the scope should not change unless you are prepared for a change in cost and time. Through the years I’ve had many clients try to change the scope part way through a project and expect no extra costs or time to be spent in making it happen. It disrupts things and causes problems everywhere, you can learn more on this post 9 Great Points on Scope Creep where I talk about keeping Scopes in line.
  7. We aren’t Fiverr. – If we were, you would have found us there. While you can get some design work, “$5 logo anyone?”, on Fiverr, it’s unrealistic to come to a product developer or designer with real experience based in the US and expect to get a super cheap price. If you need something that cheap, go overseas or find a desperate student who will do it for the “exposure”. Quality can’t be bought for cheap, and if it does, is it really quality anymore?

As a developer with years of experience, I can honestly say that some version of all of these have happened to me, and that almost every designer or developer I know won’t like any of these things happening. Smart developers and designers have found ways to avoid these issues while helping clients to get the best solution possible. Setting expectations in the beginning and being open and honest about what is needed and expected sets the tone for a successful relationship that will bring your idea into reality and make you money.

Connect with us to turn your idea into reality.