A Brand New Recipe For Branding

In a recent article, I told the story of when I was a young whippersnapper, attaining classes at what was then and still is called "one of the more famous hotel schools in North America", the marketing professor gave us an interesting, but quite challenging assignment.

We were to find a hospitality business that marketed itself by using the participation of the owner as part of the "distinctiveness" of the business. At the time, this seemed like a most difficult assignment, because in those days, it seemed that not too many people really stood out in this field. At least that what it seemed like to me in my youth. Or maybe it was just that they did not want to either make a fool of themselves. There seemed little need to drive the world to their door. I chose a very different restaurant enclosed within an old 19th century Mansion in this very cosmopolitan city. It was called Julie's Mansion and was owned and operated by a very eccentric, but wonderful showman who knew that he had to differentiate his restaurant from all the rest. He knew that the best way to do that – after the assumption of great food, entertainment and service – was to turn himself into the "brand."

My job, as a young hospitality student, was to watch him carefully and learn as much as I could. One Saturday night I showed up and Julie was trying to 'insert' himself into the home team's pro hockey uniform. It was immediately obvious that Julie had never played hockey. To see a middle-aged man struggling to get into and then have to have me extricate him from the jersey, equipment, elbow pads et al, was hilarious for a young guy like me, who had been on skates and playing the game since age four. He certainly was not afraid to make a fool of himself. When I showed up that night, he had less than no idea what piece of equipment went where, and was struggling with the shin guards. He had got himself all tangled up with what he thought were hip guards, when in fact they were shoulder pads, worn over the shoulders. It was indeed the first time I had ever seen a 'player' wearing shoulder pads, stretched around his butt.

I helped him get 'dressed'. Next came the taping of the hockey stick. This was really hilarious, watching this fellow trying to figure out the right way to tape a hockey stick without making a mess of it and looking foolish to his customers. He had a special plan for that stick.

I taped his stick and now he was ready. He had on his uniform, equipment and helmet, borrowed from one of the local NHL players who were a frequent guest at the mansion. Now, he actually looked like a real NHL hockey player … in black and white running shoes, sans skates!

Then Julie 'flew through' the different alcoves and floors of the restaurant with a big ball of foodservice aluminum foil as his 'puck'. He stick-handled in and out and between tables, took shots with the aluminum ball off the walls, cross-checked his own waiters trying to serve tables, all the while yelling cheers and the phrase made famous' round the world, by Foster Hewitt : "he shoots …. he scores!" All this, at the top of his lungs. Then he had planned for a horn to sound loudly indicating that the 'period of play' in his imaginary 'game' was over. It was now time to go to the dressing room. In a flash, just like an on-stage magician, he quickly disappeared into thin air, hidden in his office.

My face was covered in tears. I could not stop laughing! The restaurant was in an uproar. Guests were laughing so hard … one guy literally fell off his chair. The waiters were laughing, the guests were laughing, I was laughing and all the while Julie was having a ball too. Here was a restaurateur who made his work fun.

I had not met one of these types before. I really liked and respected this fellow. But I figured then, and still today, that anyone who had that much fun … and made that much money … must know something the others did not. And he did. He became his own brand. 'Distinctive. 'Differentiated. 'There is attractive to people who are sick of seeing the same old, same old every day. People are attracted to differences not similarities. Take a look at what you can do with yours. It's right under your own nose.

© Copyright, Roy W. MacNaughton, 2006

The Importance Of Jewelries

It is interesting to note that almost all people use a form of jewelry to add appeal to his or her appearance. It would make a person wonder what the importance of having jewelries is.

Jewelry is a piece of adornment that one uses. It may be in the form of necklaces, earrings, rings or bracelet. Brooch is also a form of jewelry. Its value depends on how it is created and from what materials. Jewelries made from gold and precious gemstones like diamond, ruby ​​and emerald has greater value than those made of silver and shells. Each person's preference on the type of jewelry depends on the material, the symbol and the artistic quality.

Humans cited as far back as 6 to 7 million years ago. This was a recent discovery made on a skull in Central Africa. Most likely, jewelries have been around as far back.

Early discoveries found that jewelries during the ancient times were in the form of teeth, bones, stones and wood bore on human parts of the bodies. They even used this to fast clothes and as hair accessories. Nowadays, jewelries are only for beautification purposes.

Most of the time, when you see someone adorned with several jewelries you would conclude that he or she is a wealthy person. This is normal because jewelry has great value and not everyone can afford it. Even in different cultures, jewelry is their status symbol.

The value being so great, jewelries are used either as a symbolic form of good intent or simply to show the family's financial status as a form of dowry on weddings. It is also used for business trading.

Pins, buckles, belts and handbags are not considered jewelry rather they are called accessories.

Nowadays, most people use jewelry to enhance one's appearance. To be able to wear one may give a sense of financial achievement and pride. Whatever the reason is, wearing jewelry adds beauty to every person.

Spruce Up Your House by Gardening!

It’s a good time to start thinking and planning ahead for your garden. A neat and tidy front yard can enhance a property, but a beautifully planned one can really make an ordinary house look special.

Some accessories that will make your yard look really good can be very inexpensive. Most of us are on a budget, especially these days when we never know how much it will cost to fill up our gas tank. Sometimes at this time of the year, you can find last year’s garden accessories discounted. Benches or garden lights may be listed for sale before the new stock comes in.

There are some basic rules which apply to every garden. Before you start you should try and afford a soil test. This is quite inexpensive and either your local nursery or the Internet will tell you how to go about it. You can also buy do-it-yourself kits. The second thing is to dig compost into your garden, and now (winter) is a good time.

If you are having a soil test carried out, you will know from the results if you should add any other nutrition to your soil. A soil test will mean you will not be buying the ‘wrong’ shrubs, plants etc for your soil type.

There is one last thing that you should monitor: how long and where the sun shines on different parts of your garden. Plants can thrive without direct sunlight, but only if you plant a type that likes the shade. This can still include many bright, colorful plants (i.e. impatiens), so you can still brighten up dull areas.

Once you decide to buy, you do not want to waste your money by having the plants or shrubs die on you. The soil test will curb some of these mistakes. The other thing to do is to look up, on the Internet or from a book, your particular growing zone. If you live in an area where, for instance, you come into the ‘Hardiness Zone’, it will enable you to pick the type of plant that has the best chance of surviving in your type of climate.

Always put short and stocky plants in front of taller ones. Remember to check the expected height to know this information – do not decide by the height at purchase time. Remember that short and stocky plants are generally tougher and more resilient, so choose more of these.

Try to resist buying plants in bloom at the time of purchase. The ones that still have to bloom will probably be stronger for the transplant process. If you have more shady areas than you wish, think about drastically trimming a tree to get more sunlight onto certain patches. Remember that some plants like a lot of water, so group these together to make the watering less laborious for you.

There are many small accessories that will really make your yard stand out. Obviously a strategically placed bench -or chairs and small table- under a tree will look welcoming and relaxing. A small bridge can really enhance a yard, and you can use it as a focal point for a few reeds or grasses to give the impression of water. Or if you feel daring you can try digging your own long shaped pond. Instructions on this are easy to find in books or on the ‘net.

For cheap plants (in fact free ones!) buy a can of ‘rooting powder’ and offer to swap cuttings with your neighbors. It is not recommended to sneak out at midnight with your scissors in hand!!

Making Your Commercial Website Work With Effective Web Design

The first thing about web design is to know the purpose of the website. This will then define the target audience of the website. Furthermore, this will dictate the appropriate look and overall web design.

Web Design: Connecting with Potential Customers

Commercial websites need to connect with potential customers. Websites are there to tell them about the products. So that’s what they should see in the website. They would be interested about what these products can do for them. Customers would want to know how they can buy the products. If they have questions they’d want to know how to contact you. And eventually they would be interested about the cost too.

In short, what a commercial website needs is a whole system. It’s like having a good store. You don’t only need a good display. You also need helpful salesladies and cashiers to complete the transaction.

To facilitate a good shopping experience, easy navigation is imperative. Relevant information about the company and its products should be easy to locate. A visitor should also be able to tell where he has yet to go to. For example, you have a repeat customer. He should be able to tell which products are new.

Links should be visible and clear. Titles for each link should tell what is contained there. The uncluttered look also always works for businesses. This gives the customers an easier way to take everything in. And it’s easier for them to choose where to go next.

The Other Side of Web Design

Web design also involves designing the under workings of the site. For instance, making sure that each page loads faster is essential. Customers value fast service. So, the site should open instantaneously if possible.

This does not mean that graphics and images are prohibited. It’s just a matter of providing the right file size.

Another part of web design deals with search engine optimization. Your potential customers should be directed to your site. It must therefore have high page rankings. One essential thing for that is proper HTML coding.

Content management may be related to web design as well. After all, visitors go to the website for the content. Relevant content should be provided to help the site get indexed. Updates should be done regularly to improve rankings. This also helps make customers come back to the site.

So essentially, the interface and the backend job of the web designer should correlate. Good web designers should also be conscious of the business aspect of it. Businesses want to build a business. So at the end of the day, it should be what the website should deliver.

SEO understands that getting sales is the main objective of every business. While SEO works to provide the best website design and development services, it works to provide the best Internet marketing as well. We focus on the needs of each of our clients. And in the end, we always bring in the desired outcome.