Thursday, 10 December 2015

Born to Sell; What Makes a Sales Champion


Written by Robyn T Braley

When the economy dips, it’s time to dig down deep and evaluate every area of your business. What works really well? What isn’t working well? 


What areas just get by because they have been ignored for years? 


Selling is the fuel that drives the engine of business. No sales, no revenue. No revenue ... well, you know the ending and its not pretty. 


Fuel for Champions


I started writing a single post with tips for honing sales skills. As I got into it, the article became longer and longer and evolved into 10 story ideas. Each is meant to be a quick read by people who’s livelihood depends on sales success.


If you are a sales or fund raising professional, the posts will help you review the fundamentals. If you are a Bootstrapper who is starting a new business with few resources, they will introduce you to basic sales knowledge and strategies. 

Finally, if your life is indirectly impacted by sales – which is everyone – these posts will help you understand sales and sales professionals

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Thinking As If There is no Box; 10 Marketing Tips for Tough Times

Think as if there is no box!

Written by Robyn T. Braley

Business survival depends on producing results when economies tank. To keep existing clients while trying to find new business, the challenge is not to think outside the box. It is to think as if there is no box!


Every market segment is different. They just are. And, that is the fun in working with unique clients.

So, to suggest there are one-size-fits all solutions runs counter to the way we think at Unimark Creative. We like to walk beside our clients, learn more about their needs, and find ways to solve their marketing problems.

I always feel uncomfortable when asked to come up with lists of “must-have” marketing tools. The secret to business success is to identify your client’s needs and provide a solution that will meet them. Simple, right?

Hold on. When hit by an unpredictable economy, business owners are forced to consider programs they may not have considered previously. Some get back to the basics that helped them get started. Others do things they've never done before as they shore up existing business while also searching for new opportunities.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Happy Thanksgiving Canada! 10 Reasongs to Just Say Thanks

The turkey says it all. Thanks!


Get that instant lift … just say “thanks!”


Written by Meg Braley


Want a "right this second" way to lift your spirits? Very simple – smile and say thanks! Thank your family members, employees, neighbors and co-workers. 

Right now you’re probably thinking about specific people who are special to you. Call them up or text them. Just say thanks for being who you are and for what you do. 


Why not …

  1. Call a customer and thank them for their business
  2. Call a supplier and thank them for their service
  3. Say thanks to first responders for just being there
  4. Say thanks to armies of volunteers who make our communities richer
  5. Saying thanks to Canadian military for risking themselves to protect us
  6. Say thanks to people you seldom interact with
  7. Say thanks to people who you always interact with
  8. Lift someone's spirits with a thanks and a smile
  9. Give thanks for the amazing democracy and land of opportunity we live in
  10. Give thanks for the opportunity to give back to those who need help

Friday, 31 July 2015

10 Tips For Bootstrapping With Broken Laces

Tips for boot strapping a start-up

10 Tips for Starting a Business from Scratch

Written by Robyn T Braley

Now is not a great time to be thinking about starting a business. We are officially using the “R” word in Canada. 

In January, 2015, oil prices dropped like a rock into a thick puddle of porridge! 


Later that same year those who were laid-off were running out of their employment insurance benefits. Most have been diligently working their networks and submitting resume’s by the hundreds to no avail.

Some are able to find employment is other parts of the country or even the world where their skills and abilities are in demand. For others, reasons like family eliminate moving as an option.

So, what now? At this point some are deciding to start a business. They do it for one of two reasons
  1. As an act of desperation as there are no other income options.
  2. To seize an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Yahoo! What You Need to Know to Survive the Stampede 2015 Networking Marathon

Networking happens everywhere at the Calgary Stampede

By Robyn T. Braley 

Throwing up on the boss’s spouse during an awkward attempt to hit on him or her is not how you want Stampede 2015 to be remembered. It's just not!

It’s billed as the greatest outdoor show on earth. It's also a networking marathon. Stampede is hard to describe to people who have never been there. The Calgary Stampede is more of an all-encompassing fully engaged experience than an event confined to a geographic location.

While 1.3 million+ will pass through the Stampede Park turnstiles for the 10 day exhibition, all star rodeo and agricultural fair, a celebration of western heritage and community spirit will spread like wildfire through the city.

Unimark's Jessica Roy at a Stampede event with husband Jeff
Companies spend thousands of PR dollars to make their event one to remember. Being on the invite list gives access to people you would never otherwise meet.

Company presidents join 100’s of employees wearing cowboy hats, shirts, blue jeans and boots. Stampede is a time for building relationships with employees, clients, suppliers and the community.




Thursday, 28 May 2015

Why Does My Company Website Suck?

Why Does My Company Website Suck?
Websites can be a real head scratcher!

Written by Robyn T. Braley

Does your company website effectively tell your story? Can you answer the question, 
“What makes an effective website?”

Regardless of how new, powerful, dynamic or successful your website is, you will soon be contacted by an “expert” who will tell you, “It sucks!”

Webschpeak

The challenge is to sort out what is fact and what is fiction.  A few weeks ago a client told me how frustrated he was with the number of email and telephone contacts he receives from people who speak an unfamiliar language.
What did he say?

Monday, 4 May 2015

Why Do I Need a Responsive Website?

Responsive websites adapt to a variety of  formats

Written by Meg Braley 

You may be scratching your head saying “I don’t even know what a responsive website is. How do I know if I need one?"

"Further, how do I know if my current website is responsive?"

Here is the test. When you look at your website on a smartphone, is it just an extremely tiny version of what you would see on your PC? Do you have to zoom in and then move it around until you can read the text and click on links? 


Meg Braley, senior web designer

If that’s what you see, your website is not responsive. In a nutshell, a responsive website automatically resizes to fit the screen of whatever media you are using to view it whether it’s a desktop, tablet or smartphone. When a website is responsive, it gives the user a much better viewing experience. It makes it easier to get to the information they are looking for – the information you want them to have! Using responsive design integrates interaction such as touch screens and makes for a more enjoyable experience for users.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Tips for Getting the Best Possible Photos for Your Business

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, its time to take photos.
Written by Robyn T. Braley 


Photographs are a highly effective way to tell your story through websites, social media, brochures, advertising and other media. They speak directly to potential customers by providing a window into your brand. 


Photos provide a great way to start building relationships with potential customers. But, as we have discovered at Unimark Creative, they don't just happen by accident!

We have been blessed with exceptional still photo talent. My intention was to include a photo credit with each picture used in this post but space doesn't allow it. So I have to acknowledge Peter Fleck, Roy Ooms, Dave Lazarowych, John Dean, Meg Braley and Laureen Braley for their exceptional work in helping Unimark raise above the competition. 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Rick Hanson, Bearcat Murray, and Peter Maher Lead by Example

Chief Rick Hanson interviewed by Jill Belland of City TV
Written by Robyn T. Braley


Since this post was written, Chief Hanson resigned to pursue other career options. Peter Maher retired after a distinguished career as a sports broadcaster. Bearcat Murray just goes on being Bearcat. Each is still involved in the community.


Three men built strong personal brands through hard work and demonstrating a passion for what they do. 

Leaders are busy. Schedules are overloaded by the demands of fulfilling job and career commitments. Add family and recreation time and many leaders reach a schedule saturation point. 

When asked to find time to volunteer in the community, many leaders are thrown into a spasm caused by busyness fatigue.

Leaders Who Lead

In spite of this, every community has leaders who stand out through the gift of their time. They understand the importance of making a difference in the community. 

Calgary is blessed with a long list of men and women who are examples of what it means to be extraordinary leaders in every area of their lives. Somehow, within their frenetic schedules, they find time to give back, to pay it forward. 

Three such men were recently in the news on the same day. They share common values by…
  • Giving selflessly of themselves without any expectation of return
  • Demonstrating leadership by how they live their lives
  • Showing compassion and caring for others

Friday, 30 January 2015

How to Grow Your Brand in Uncertain Times

Growing your brand

The Perfect Time for Brand Realignment


Written by Robyn T. Braley

Two years ago the price per barrel of oil fell. With a thud! The Canadian dollar took a steep dive off of the CN tower and seems to enjoy the view from down there. 



Some companies will make it because they are able to adapt and have sustainable resources. Others will be just plain lucky. 

But while the economy is a threat to some, it provides opportunity for others. I spoke at a recent Real Estate Leasing Conference met two developers who had traveled from a neighboring province to look for rental properties they could by at distressed prices. 

This is an excellent time to examine your brand to be ready for future growth. It is a time to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your brand in preparation for the eventual economic rebound.

What’s My Brand

A brand is what others think of your company, products or service. Do you know what they think?

Let’s create a television game show called, “What’s My Brand?” Three small business owners will be asked to write 3 one sentence descriptions of their company. Each sentence must be 15 words or less. 

Contestants will then be placed behind a curtain and have their voices disguised.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

How to Build a Multi-Million Dollar Brand

Brands must have meaning and relevance
Written by Robyn T. Braley

Brand-building is achieved by doing the same thing, in the same way – repeatedly!  

Brands are built by constantly delivering on promises to customers. Continuity, consistency and predictability are the keys.

However, being predictable doesn't mean you are rigid and don’t adapt or respond to new opportunities or threats. Further, doing the same thing for too long can put you into a rut. And, a rut, as they say, is a grave with the ends kicked out. 

What I’m trying to say is that along with consistency, building your brand requires flexibility in order to stay relevant.



The Sucky Logo
Your brand is what customers think of you, your product or service. Our company, Unimark Creativedid some marketing for an Alberta based drilling tool company that was started by two young men out of the back of a half-ton truck. Forty years later the business had grown to become a dominant supplier within the Canadian and US oil industry worth many millions of dollars.