Archive for the local marketing Category

Great Canadian Breakfast stressful for me

Great Canadian Breakfast Invitation

Graphic Design in Barrie brands the Great Canadian Canadian Breakfast

 
 
Well, now that the dust has settled, the third annual Great Canadian Breakfast, in Barrie on the 13th of July, was a big success. Success for my local BNI chapter, Simcoe Executives; success for the whole Barrie area BNI group network and finally success for the vibrant, entrepreneural spirit of this fair town. We got almost twice the number to come out (into a blistering morning) than last year…

But I got so stressed out!

I did the invitation with the maple leaf shaped butter. This after my initial idea of a maple leaf shaped pancake petered out. eBay sent the pancake molds to my old Aurora address, well I don’t use the service much, and I hadn’t updated the address since my move to Barrie, now almost 18 months ago. My bad, totally. But when fellow BNIer James Krant added the strawberries on either side, we had an edible Canadian flag, he shot the pic and everything just fell into place.

No, the stress came from the Simcoe Executives putting me up as their candidate to win back Ray Romard’s hand made beaver trophy in the 60 second infomercial contest. It’s essentially an elevator speech with judges and precise timing, with a bell… you get the picture. Worried about the timing, about being able to remember and even to pronounce some of my most complex lryics ever, I chopped most of the funny, alliterative bits out… I spent 20 minutes on the porch of Tangle Creek, in my black suit surrounded by golfers in shorts in the already over 32 degree heat, then in the men’s room, committing to memory my delivery.

I totally missed Rich Grof’s presentation… stress, stress, stress.

In the end I got through it ok, except the bell went off just as I was about to deliver the closing, ‘Life is a journey. You can’t travel without a passport.’

Another shout out to photographer, baker, numbers guy, James Krant for that. And while I am at it, to Ray Romard ‘Barrie’s Best Stripper’ for patience, understanding, verbal help including his great spontaneous sense of humour.

Here’s the text of my final 60 second draft, ending included:

Good Morning. I thought it would be fitting to bring my passport to the Great Canadian Breakfast. (Hold up the passport)

This little document lets me travel the world under the great brand that is Canada, where everyone recognizes the maple leaf as our national symbol. Into it we have poured our pride, our game, our troops, and our innate sense of fair play and that little coffee shop on every corner in the land.

The brand is so strong, it even works as butter on a pancake. When James added the strawberries on either site, we had an edible flag, just as smoothly as a flapjack slides off a flipper.

Here’s Canada’s brand. (Show the passport in my right hand again) Here’s my brand. (Take my business card out of my pocket with my left hand)  This is my passport to the world of business. I work with business people just like you (point to the audience with the business card) to find out what makes your big business hearts go boom. Then I pack it all into a brand, like a well-tailored suit – it just fits.

Your brand is your passport to everywhere your business needs to go, like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

My name is Mike Beard. I make brands. Life is a journey, you can’t travel without a passport.

I didn’t win. My friend, natural speaker and all around great guy, Rob Delacourt did. However, stress relieved.

Adventures in Branding – Chapter 2

Graphic Design in Barrie

Barrie Ontario population: 125,000

Little did I realize, looking at 40+ houses in Barrie, that it wouldn’t be so much the house but the community of Barrie that would mean so much to me and to my hopes of building a local design business here.

I have found so much openness and raw spirit, in fact so industrious are the people that I have been fortunate enough to have met in my newly adopted environment, that I am refreshed. When planning our move from Aurora to Barrie, further from my original Toronto base and further into the snow belt that is the reality in most of Canada, my wife and I realized I could literally work – anywhere. Cue the orchestra. Freedom at last!! Most of my design work has been local in character, that is small business has been my life blood throughout my career. Perhaps as a precursor, early on I had spent many years working for the home builders of southern Ontario marketing upwards of 30 new home communities from Peterborough in the east, to Barrie and Victoria Harbour in the North to Mississuagua and even Cambridge in the West. In each case illustrating local lifestyles and nearby amenities became a central theme, as proof of concept in my marketing effort.

So when is Graphic Design local? It is certainly a field that demands little in the way of space – just me and my computer really. But innovation is wired into the DNA of what designers do. I believe that good if not great work can be done in unlikely places. What good design needs to thrive is an enthused and open minded community, which I have found in Barrie. It needs competitive spirit which Barrie has in spades. Access to the best of world design is, like so much today, available on the net.

I am doing great work here. Come with me.

Adventures in Branding – Chapter 1

Your branding just has to work

Good design may be good business, but your brand just has to work.

It looks like we, meaning my wife, two small terriers and myself, will flourish here. Vastly different in spirit and temperment from where we came, Barrie turns out to be the entrepreneurial capital of Canada. Who’d a thunk it? In a city of 125,000 there are 7,250 businesses and counting, figures from Dunn & Bradstreet via the Barrie Public Library. My wife, ever the cynic, says that’s because there are no jobs here. Evidently Barrie got hurt ‘bad’ by the opening of Canada / US free trade early in the 90’s, in the Mulroney years, as many of the established American offices simply and quickly picked up and left. Now the good news for business, at least the study of creating business, is local Georgian College and its program for entrepreneurs.  I have to mention the vibrant networking community within the Barrie Chamber of Commerce. Evidently Google drew more guests to its July event up here than they did in downtown Toronto. Barrie defines Google’s intended premise, ‘local’, ‘local search’, ‘local business’ in all its promise.

This series of posts will address the ideas of branding, personal rebranding and yes, graphic design in Google’s newly defined ‘local’ setting, with my new city of Barrie playing a central, starring role. What does local branding mean in a city with a business for every 17 people, and over 5,000 of them between 10 and 100 strong?

A year ago when we moved, none of this was expected. All of it is welcome. More later.

Graphic design is just the beginning

ONEMANAGENCY_LOGO-02

I offer my customers high level branding, graphic design, advertising headlines and copy, campaign consultation, local marketing, logo and graphic design, the writing of marketing slogans, press releases, web sites, articles, ad placement, media consultation. I am proud to create and supervise each customer project with great personal care and tact. Some of these technologies are presented in coordination with experts I know and trust in the field.

They started calling me a “one man agency” a few years ago when I was the Marketing Director at ATS, a national transportation company located in Toronto. At the time I was developing the ATS Healthcare brand that turned out to be so successful. One of the testimonials presented on this site is from my senior executive during the brand launch.

But the nickname stuck and is quite apt. I wrote all the marketing materials, the internal newsletter and a variety web sites, had designed and produced them all, including brochures and award-winning calendars (a staple at transportation firms) invented a brand and described what it meant in both Pharmaceutical and Transportation magazines, designed the logo, wrote and placed ads… well, I did it all marketing-wise.

I have mounted some of this work and much else at mikebeard.com.

I work out of my home studio in Barrie, Ontario. My local Barrie number is 705-984-4752. I never charge for initial conversations and am currently offering a free assessment of all your graphics, sites, ads …. literally anything you would like to throw at me. I will send you a professional report with the results of my findings.

Graphic Design Celebrates Spring at the Aurora Cultural Centre

Graphic Design for Spring at the Aurora Cultural Centre

Graphic Design for Spring at the Aurora Cultural Centre. Designed by Mike Beard, Graphic Design in Barrie, 36 Harrison Crescent, Barrie, Ontario l4N 7R9

Always a pleasure working with the folks at the Aurora Cultural Centre. A smash hit from the time it was born, the Centre unites art, culture and heritage in what seems to be the perfect fit for Aurora. This is the cover for the latest in this successful series. New branding will augment the look and feel of these brochures in future that are bundled into the local newspaper for distribution throughout the Town of Aurora. But for now the warm feeling remains of a wise, old friend with lots to offer the community.

Graphic Design in Winter – Colour and Typograhy

Winter Progams at the Aurora Cultural Centre, designed by Mike Beard, Graphic Design in Barrie, 36 Harrison Crescent, Ontario L4N 7R9

Brrr! Chilly winter is a tough palette, all grey and threatening skies. Or bright blue sky and white snow… after Christmas a winter palette leaves few choices.
So I was surprised when the Centre asked for the yellow headline, and surprised that it worked so well in this context. I love working with Gibson, a great, clean font just released. And what could be more apt? Designed by a Torontonian! Suits the Centre well and always sets beautifully. One luxury seldom afforded the typographically inclined is a full set of weights. In the case of Gibson, a beautiful, spare Light weight that just seems to sit effortlessly at the top of this brochure cover on the left. Like Winter minus the chill.
Well, almost….!

Image Blends Iconic Architecture with Graphic Design

Aurora Cultural Centre Membership Brochure illustrates the many ways to participate in the success of the Centre. Designed by Mike Beard, Graphic Design in Barrie.


Aurora Cultural Centre Membership Brochure illustrates the many ways to participate in the success of the Centre. Designed by Mike Beard, Graphic Design in Barrie.

Sometimes creative work just seems to go right, unforced and natural. That’s the way it is with my work for the Aurora Cultural Centre. The iconic design of the Church Street School struck me right off as a architectural logo, meaning that the recognition factor of the school had integrity and cultural intent written all over it.

To date I’ve done a small series of brochures like this one, featuring an ever widening set of learning opportunities for the good citizens of Aurora. Guitar, Painting, Wood Carving, Lectures… even historically themed birthday parties where kids can dress up and go pioneer.

So I think the building serves well as a sign posts for what is offered within, and I am glad to offer and in my way, communicate a small part of it all.

In this case it’s the perfect fit.

How Google makes a bundle . . .

Interesting to see just where Google scores the most real cash, and you guessed it, wealth begets wealth. Insurance, Loans and Mortage are the top ad-words, collecting over half of Google’s money. Here’s a handy link for further, FREE SEO exploration: Wordstream’s Keyword Research Test.

Also of note, with Google’s recent embrace of everything local, these topics are indeed local. Most demand a working knowledge of place and at least a personal connection to a broker. ‘Broker’ is a term that really means a nearby professional in whom I am willing to invest with ‘trust’ Perhaps, it is Google who is the broker here, to their great advantage.

.