It’s here! 7 reasons to love Branding Basics for Small Business, 2nd Edition

It’s a….book!

In what will prove to be the second most exciting Spring birth for me (our son is due in May), I’m pleased as punch to share the launch today of Branding Basics for Small Business: How to Create an Irresistible Brand on Any Budget, 2nd Edition (2014, Norlights Press) with all of you.

Even if you benefitted from the first edition, I invite you to check this one out in paperback or eBook format and let me know what you think.

Here are 7 juicy reasons why your brand and your business will get a boost from what’s inside:

  1. Content marketing as the new sales model: Since the first edition in 2010, content marketing has exploded on the scene and everyone is trying to figure it out. The book includes brand new sections on what content marketing is, how it benefits your business and increases your sales, and tips on what to create, how to share it, and time-savers for getting it done.
  2. Insights from your favorite excerpts: You’ll hear from Alexandra Franzen on how to weave magic with words; Sarah Von Bargen on making blogging easier and more fun; Sandy Jones-Kaminski on tips for effective networking to grow your business (even if you think you hate it); Jay Baer on effective social media; Amy Schmittauer on how to build a doable social media plan; Ann Handley, editor of Marketing Profs on content marketing tips; DJ Waldow on how to tackle email marketing to create a loyal tribe; and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur himself, Mike Michalowicz about not just pursuing passion before profit but how to get to know your customers intimately. They share wonderful stories and generously gave their time to help you reach your business and brand goals.
  3. Fresh new case studies to inspire you: TCHO Chocolate, Blue Bottle Coffee, Happy Herbivore, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, Taylor Stich and more. All examples of small businesses started with passion and purpose that create loyal fans and killer brands without multi-million dollar marketing budgets.
  4. Social media made simple: I expanded the social media “how-to’s” section in Part 3 to include how to build a plan, how to manage your time and how to create delightful content that doesn’t keep you chained to your computer 24/7.
  5. To blog or not to blog: New content talks specifically about blogging, how and why to consider it part of your mix and ideas for posts when your creative well is running dry.
  6. Launch Week bonuses: Purchase a paperback or eBook format, send the receipt to info (at) red-slice (dot) com by April 7 and get your free digital bonus swag bag of business-building resources from experts you love, including worksheets, tips and an entire book from CRAVE’s Melody Biringer! More details here.
  7. A FREE teleseminar on April 2: If you read this in time, you can still sign up for my free launch week teleseminar, 5 Clever Ways to Boost Your Brand Online. Sign up here NOW as those on the call will have a chance to win 1 of 3 free signed copies or 1 of 3 free Red Slice Brand Bootcamp digital courses ($197 value)

Feel free to Tweet the love today or find other promo posts on this handy page. I’d be honored.

Thank you for your support as this 2nd edition went from idea to reality. I really hope you enjoy it and would love to hear what you think, so let me know once you’ve finished it or feel free to post an online review. Thanks!

How to hand-craft your brand experience: Brand at Work case study Taylor Stitch

Here’s a lovely little sneak peek at one of the fresh new case studies from the 2nd edition of Branding Basics for Small Business: How to Create an Irresistible Brand on Any Budget, launching April 1, 2014! Lots of launch week goodies and a free teleseminar so make sure you’re signed up for The Juice so you don’t miss out.

Taylor Stich’s story below shows you how important it is to know what your one unique asset is and parlay that into your brand experience. Hook your brand onto the one special thing that no one else can offer (Tweet this!)

Brand at Work: Taylor Stitch

In 2009, Michael Maher, Barrett Purdum and Michael Armenta started Taylor Stitch  on a funky street in San Francisco’s Mission District. Their dream? To create rugged, refined and practical clothing for men (and now women) by hand. The company aims to modernize staple clothing pieces for men and women by delivering great quality at a reasonable price with impeccable service.

Taylor Stitch’s greatest asset is that their clothes are crafted by hand, with quality and love, and that personal attention guides every brand move. “It’s a human-run business,” says Maher. “Our main goal when we started was to offer a uniquely personal retail experience to make our customers happy.” They empower everyone in the organization to delight the customer. Items are made by hand and sent by hand. When mistakes are made, the human touch prevails. “We understand that in a hand-crafted business, mistakes will be made. A shipment might be sent to the wrong person or a loose thread makes it by quality control. On the rare occasions this happens, we are truthful and up-front with our customers. If we screw up, we’re the first to admit it and fix the problem or discount items to make that customer happy. We look at a mistake as an opportunity to create a human connection and a great customer experience.”

This emphasis on happiness and humanness impacts hiring as well as the in-store environment. “We hire people who represent the ethos of service that we ourselves believe in, so, no matter whom you encounter in the store, you get a consistent experience that lives up to the brand.” Taylor Stitch also pays attention to all five senses when it comes to customer touchpoints: the types of pictures they use, the words they write, the store’s music and scents. “We come at retail from a hospitality perspective, not just a product perspective. We believe people don’t like to shop if they are uncomfortable, so we created something much more approachable,” says Maher.

No matter how large the business grows, Taylor Stitch is committed to maintaining that comfortable “neighborhood shop” feel. Loyal customers love to tell friends and family about how the business takes extra time to care. Taylor Stitch desires regular customers but they also want to be regulars in their neighborhood.

“Our customers send us thank-you and holiday cards,” says Maher. “Sometimes they even send jams and other little gifts. It’s amazing to receive such gifts from people that buy stuff from you. One of my favorite things to do is stop people on the street whom I see wearing our clothes and thank them.”

Obviously taking the time to not just make the clothes by hand but handcraft the customer experience on a very human level pays off for Taylor Stitch. At a pop-up market a few years ago, Maher gave a pair of pants to a fellow vendor. That vendor now orders and sells pants for the store. “It’s often the simple, human things that benefit everyone,” advises Maher. “When you do good things with no expectations and don’t force it, great things are bound to happen.”

Your turn: What is your brand or businesses one special or unique asset? Everyone’s got one…what’s yours? Please share in the Comments below!


In memoriam: A man behind a brand

The trouble with taking on clients you adore is that you care for them as friends, not just business associates. This leaves you vulnerable and shocked when they are suddenly gone.

Last week, one of my favorite clients, Jack Leary, passed away without warning from a heart attack. We’re all still stunned and my prayers go out to his friends and family. As CEO of Intersource, LLC, a boutique technology consulting firm, he and I had worked together a few years ago to clarify his brand and positioning and develop break-out brand messaging. It’s one of the proudest projects I’ve had the good fortune to work on.

Jack faced a challenge common to many founders. How do you take your personal values and parlay that into a company brand that can scale and “live on” without you? We spent many hours talking through his mission and values. Jack, a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy, embraced honor, integrity and teamwork in a way that would put many of today’s young, arrogant tech CEO’s to shame. These were not just words to him: they were the way he lived his life, treated his team and served his clients. With a twinkle in his eye and a straight-shooting passion for life, Jack made me believe that passion and profits really could co-exist. His success as a senior executive at many top tech companies, as well as in his own business, proved it.

We were in the midst of another project to bring his brand story to life through video. “People don’t really understand the Intersource story unless I’m delivering it in person,” he lamented. “I’d love to share it with them in a unique, interactive way that not just tells our story but screens out those who are not a good fit.” The man understood that brand is about who you are and not about pleasing everyone.

Intersource’s case study is included in my upcoming 2nd edition of Branding Basics for Small Business (due March 2014). He passed away just at press time, but his story will live on: he was so excited to be featured in the book. I’ve included it below as an inspiration to your brand and a tribute to a man I admired, one who did not at all think that spending hours discussing the nuances of the words “integrity” and “honesty” was a waste of time. To him, it was values like those that made his company. Made his brand. Made the man.

So this is my tribute to Jack Leary: that you may know who he was and what he stood for. Thank you, Jack, for crossing paths with me. The world is a sadder place with one less ethical and honorable business leader like you in it. You will be missed.

BRAND AT WORK: Intersource LLC (excerpt from Branding Basics for Small Business, 2nd edition, launching March 2014)

Technology consulting firms often appear similar, using the same meaningless jargon like “best of breed solutions” or “maximize ROI.” How can a firm with a unique approach and steadfast values stand out from the competition? Jack Leary, CEO and founder of Intersource LLC ( in Seattle, Washington knew from the start that the firm he built was different from the rest. He just needed a way to articulate that difference to his prospective target market: innovative companies looking to change, challenge the status quo and offer amazing products and services.

“In every project, we’ve delivered success based on not just what we do, but who we are: committed, experienced, honor-bound people,” says Jack. “We measure success by our level of impact…period. It’s not about overpromising, staffing sub-par resources to save money or making clients pay for things they don’t need. But I knew we were being lumped into the same old ‘staffing shops’ that simply offer interchangeable consultants who often lack the right experience.”

Jack worked with Red Slice to articulate messaging that made their brand stand out and convey the unique principles on which he founded Intersource. The result was a technology consulting firm with a voice unlike any other: frank, honest, jargon-free and – on occasion – a bit cheeky. A website visit instantly shows prospects and customers that they are dealing with a different type of firm: one where “straight talk meets straight tech” to get you where you want to go. Minimal color and “fluff’ combined with bold typography choices further demonstrate the firms commitment to an honest, courageous and unvarnished experience.

“We wanted people to know that our expert consultants don’t hide behind fancy words or trite methodologies. Doing this through approachable language and an uncluttered site helps them immediately trust us to solve their market-changing challenges efficiently, honestly and creatively”

Jack, a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy felt strongly about conveying the firm’s values upfront: honesty, integrity, discipline, wisdom and creative thinking. The messaging is hard for competitors to copy because it is authentic to his personal values, which are now baked into Intersource’s own brand fabric. More than just words, the values convey the very manner in which the company partners with clients. They are one of the few technology consultancies with such a Philosophy page on their website and these values inform everything from how they hire to how they speak.

Much of Intersource’s messaging is written to sound like you are talking directly to the man who started it all. No gimmicks. No facades. Just honor, integrity, results and a bit of wit. And that’s just the way Jack Leary likes it.


3 reasons why you should care about your brand strategy

I was so proud to see that a past Red Slice client, Talent Technology, recently officially rebranded the entire company as Talemetry, which was the brand we created initially for their successful flagship software product.

This project was a textbook case for why methodically working on the brand strategy first leads to super successful outcomes. Instead of simply coming in to slap a name and logo on a new product, the first step was a brand strategy session to articulate the company’s overall vision, target customers, and messaging before we brought this down to what that meant for the flagship product. This careful thinking made the product launch and company rebrand so successful that they finally pulled the trigger on adopting Talemetry as their overall corporate identity.

When we embarked on that project, the client knew that “re-branding” was not merely about the visual. It was about how they walked and talked as well: messaging, product development, customer experience. The whole kit and caboodle. And their savvy paid off in a big way.

So I thought this week, we’d all take a step back. Enjoy this video I did for MySourceTV – it’s a refresher course on what “brand” really means and the 3 big reasons (or the 3 C’s as I like to call them) why thinking through and articulating your brand strategy absolutely matters to your success.

What is Brand and Why Should You Care?

When you think about brand in this way, you realize there are many different ways to refresh and reboot your brand that have nothing to do with overhauling a website or spending thousands on new logos and materials. (Tweet!)

12 best (and worst) viral brand videos

What makes something get shared or go viral? This seems to be the Holy Grail of brand bliss. Everyone wants their day in the Internet sun. Recently at a Content Marketing Conference at which I did a keynote presentation, another presenter talked about taking her non-profit’s blog from a ghost town to shared by thousands. One of her nuggets of wisdom? Make people laugh, cry or fume.

Here are 12 great examples of brand videos that went viral – and a few are big misses in my opinion. See if you can determine each one’s “secret sauce” and why you think it got shared. How can you apply some of that magic to your own content marketing efforts?

Dollar Shave Club, Our Blades are F**ing Great by Paulilu Productions
10+ million views

Combine a funny, charismatic and good-looking founder like Mike Dubin (he wrote the script) with snappy jokes and quirky scenes, and you get viral video gold. This video makes you laugh out loud while still doing its job of explaining what the heck Dollar Shave Club does for its members. There is no mistaking the brand voice and vibe this company is going after. They make this the cool tribe of which you want to be part. One of my all-time fave brand videos.

Dove, Real Beauty Sketches  by Ogilvy Mather   
54+ million views

Dove uses a forensic artist to compare people’s perceptions of themselves with how others perceive them. Powerful, moving and hopeful. You may choke back a sob. The music and lighting really adds to this piece.

Kmart, Ship My Pants by Draftfcb
17+ million views

You may have seen this ad on TV. Customers use lewd wordplay to talk up Kmart’s free shipping service. It’s clever, fun and a little shocking. Wonder how many outtakes they had on this one that they couldn’t use.

Audi, The Challenge by Paulilu   
5+ million views

Actors Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek (new and old Spocks) square off in a race to the golf club in competing luxury performance cars. While from a true effective marketing perspective, the video is not quite clear on the benefits that make the Audi S7 superior to the Mercedes (except the clear point on trunk space), the video positions Audi as the new kid, replacing the old guard.

Red Bull, Red Bull Stratos by In-house
Almost 3 million views

World record free fall sponsored by Red Bull. Exciting, tension-filled and it captures our imaginations about what is possible. Choice of music is perfect.

Pepsi, Test Drive by TBWA\Chiat\Day
36+ million views

Racer Jeff Gordon takes an unsuspecting car salesman out for a high-speed test drive. This one is a miss in my view, as it’s clearly staged and the man is clearly an actor. Not sure what the main message or takeaway on this should be, but wanted to include it to show you that sometimes shock value is just pure fluff.

Metro Trains, Dumb Ways to Die byMcCann Melbourne
46 million views +

A song listing stupid ways to die, promoting safety around trains. I love this one. It’s clever, quirky, quiet and effective. The use of animation is perfect (I love crazy little monster characters like these so I’m a little biased). And they clearly get their point across with humor rather than by preaching.

H&M, David Beckham Bodywear by Marc Atlan Design
Almost 10 million views

Filmmaker Guy Ritchie directs a short featuring David Beckham running around in his underwear. I’ll let you decide if you think this is an effective video or not. It’s definitely on brand for H&M, though.

Old Spice, The Man Your Man Could Smell Like by Wieden + Kennedy
45+ million views

An idealized man using Old Spice convince the “ladies” to get your man to smell like him, featuring absurd and well-choreographed situations. This entire campaign did wonders for turning around the idea we all had of Old Spice being associated with our dads back in the 70’s.  It’s funny, crazy, well-paced and worth sharing.

Microsoft, Child of the 90s by In-house
33+ million views

“You grew up. So did we. Reconnect with the new Internet Explorer.” Nostalgia targeted toward people who grew up in the 90s. Not sure about the point, except that they are trying to equate those warm nostalgic feelings of youth (within a targeted demographic) with the IE browser. Not sure this one works, as this seems like tugging at emotion for emotion’s sake, not because it advances the brand message.

Expedia, Find Your Understanding by 180 Los Angeles   
2.5+ million views

An elderly father narrates his experience accepting his lesbian daughter’s marriage. Part of Expedia’s “Find Yours” campaign. It’s incredibly moving and may bring you to tears – but as seen in the Comments, it also produced some rage, too, which led to more controversy, views and sharing.

TNT, A Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Square by Duval Guillaume Modem
45+ million views

A dramatic scene is staged in a public square after unsuspecting people press a red button. Classic staged event technique and it’s pretty clever in touting TNT’s expertise in drama. Not sure what the people who were there, however, made of all of this!

Which one is your favorite? Did I miss a juicy one that you adore? Please share in the Comments!


Is your brand carrying excess baggage?

Guest post by Betsy Talbot, author of Strip Off Your Fear: Slip Into Something More Confident. She and her husband Warren write about the 5 Tenets to Live the Good Life at Married with Luggage. They are currently traveling in Asia.

Isn’t it just a little bit funny that the owner of a site called Married with Luggage is here to talk to you about your personal and business baggage? I thought so, too.

You see, I just accidentally published a book on branding. While my intention was to write a book on personal self-confidence and speaking up, it appears that all those lessons are exactly the same as building a confident brand.

It wasn’t until we reached out to Red Slice for help on solidifying our message and working out our brand schizophrenia that we connected the dots between the book project and the brand. In fact, it wasn’t until we told Maria about the book and what we were doing that we realized we had a problem with brand schizophrenia.

Let’s see if you have the same kind of ‘a-ha!’ moment we did:

  • Can your friends explain in one sentence what your business does?
  • Does your website accurately reflect your message in an instant, or are you expecting people to draw their own conclusions?
    Can a new visitor to your site tell from the home page whether you can help them or not?

In our case, we were holding on to some old baggage with our business. While the evolution of our message and offerings was crystal-clear in our minds, it was a fuzzy picture for a visitor to the site. Even Maria, who
actually named our business four years ago, couldn’t tell exactly what we were doing.

Let me tell you, when your brand strategist cannot figure out your brand, you’re not being clear enough for everyone else.

Accumulating excess baggage

Perhaps your business evolution mirrors ours in some way. We started out in 2008 sharing our goal of long-term travel beginning at 40, and it resonated with overworked and under-lived people our age also wanting to break free from the rat race. As we went through the saving and downsizing process for two years, we attracted an audience of minimalists, savers, and those wanting to downsize. When we started our journey in 2010, travel lovers and early retirees started following our adventures.

We wrote about all of these topics, making one segment of our audience happy at a time.

The longer we traveled, the more we learned about ourselves and human nature, and our business evolved to address those interests with articles, books, and a newsletter. Plenty of personal growth seekers joined our tribe. We were starting to hit our stride in messaging, but we still hadn’t connected it together in a meaningful way for our audience.

It was all in our heads, and we needed to find a way to voice it.

Streamlining your message

We finally asked ourselves what all those people really wanted overall, and the answer was personal growth and meaningful life experiences. All of our topics fell under this goal, but we were doing a poor job of showing how they worked to achieve it. We realized we had to speak to the need of personal growth and achieving meaningful life experiences and not just the various expressions of those needs.

Is this true in your business (or your personal life)? Are you showcasing an overall strategy to resolve an overall need or are you displaying a disjointed collection of “fixes” for your audience? Is your image an accurate portrayal of your current brand promise or an earlier evolution that has long since passed?

As we started working with Maria on our brand evolution and messaging, I saw the distinct parallels between personal confidence and a strong brand:

  • Accepting who you are now and building on your strengths
  • Saying what you want in a clear voice
  • Attracting the right kind of people into your life

While I didn’t start out writing a book about branding, it seems as if the rules of personal confidence and speaking up are good for business, too.

  • Discover exactly what you offer to the kind of people you want to help
  • Clearly state how you can help your target market and what result they can expect
  • Focus only on the people with whom you want to work

There is no confusing it now, and our business revenue and website traffic reflects our renewed focus on our brand and message.

It is true in your personal life and it is true in your business. As I said in my book:

“Speak up. Be proud of who you are, what you know, and what you do. Help other women do the same. When you change your world for the better, you make it better for the rest of us.” 

Now start unpacking those bags. 

Has your brand undergone an evolution and how did you address it in your visual, verbal or experiential branding? What worked and what didn’t? What do you think about brands that evolve? Please share in the Comments.


How this small biz vodka + sausage + great story hooked us

I LOVE when I see small businesses doing things right.

On a recent wine-tasting trip to Woodinville, Washington, we were leaving one small winery (many of the wineries there occupy warehouse park space so it’s fun to hit like 12 in an hour) to head to lunch when a sign caught our eye:

Project V Distillery & Sausage Co.

What? Huh? Distillery and sausage company? “Oh, we have to check this out!” we said. Intrigued, we locked the car back up again and went to investigate.

We were greeted by a charming, cozy, rustic store full of antiques and cool signs. Instantly, the woman behind the counter smiled and welcomed us. Another kind gentleman asked if this was our first time there and offered to give us a backroom tour and tell us about the place. He turned out to be one of the investment partners.

Project V is fairly new and produces, among other products, Single Silo Vodka, handcrafted from Washington Winter Wheat which is grown on a family farm. As their marketing materials say, “It is a labor of love and it makes damn fine booze.” Damn, yes, this is smooth vodka.

Our kind guide walked us into the back where we joined a few other partied milling about and sipping. He showed us the distillation stills that they built, educated us on the distillation process and the fact that a vodka which is over-distilled too many times actually means it loses some of its flavor. He also gave us some tasting samples. One was a chai tea vodka and as strange as that sounds, it was delicious.

“What about the sausage?” we asked. The place is still so new that the sausage is not yet sold there yet, but the farm is raising pigs on the leftover wheat from the distillation process and hoped to offer those products soon.

The brand vibe was pure, natural, almost Old West with it’s sepia-hued labels and dusty floorboards. They emphasized family farming, craftsmanship and even a joyful love for the work that they do. This definitely stands out from the hip and trendy vibe you feel with Grey Goose or Stoli.

The point here is that Project V has a story to tell.  They start with education to show you why their product is different and better, wrap it with passion, love and pride, and tie it up in a bow of natural, hardworking craftsmandship. You feel like every bottle was distilled just for you. This brand was further exhibited in the kind welcome we got, the knowledgeable staff and the hospitality we experienced even though we’d just “popped in.”

Effective branding and storytelling does lead to sales and word of mouth. We ended up buying a bottle, and here I am spreading the word about this unique little find. Oh, and they’re on Twitter: @ProjectVDistill

That’s how good small business branding is done, ladies and gents. And this is a story none of the big guys would be effectivly able to pull off so elegantly and believably.

How do you use your small size to communicate a unique and effective brand story? Please share in the Comments for some Link Love back to your site!


A high-end dive? Uneeda Burger

I’m constantly amazed at how successful restaurants use brand experience to tell a story with everything they have: decor, menu, design, staff. Many of them really get it.  I mean, you can get a hamburger nearly anywhere these days, but Uneeda Burger in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood creates a welcome experience of a “premium roadside burger shack” that I’ve been craving.

The brainchild of Chef Scott Staples, whose other local favorites include a high-end bistro (Restaurant Zoe) and a fine gastropub (Quinn’s), Uneeda is playful, authentic and super fresh.  How does one open up yet another burger joint amidst options ranging from McDonald’s to the classic 50’s-styled greasy drive-in, Dick’s to the experimental and futuristic build your own burger vibe Lunchbox Laboratory.

Some ways Uneeda differentiates:

  • Decor: With an old gasoline station-type sign out front, and an outside patio framed by wooden beams, you might not give this place a second glance driving by. It’s got a very “last rest stop for 100 miles” feel to it. When you step in, wooden tables, floor and counters greet you in a very Western-evocative setting. You can alsmost hear the cowboy boots kicking up dist as they clomp, clomp, clomp over to the counter to order.
  • Design: The Uneeda logo mimics lettering from an old fashioned Western hot-iron brand, combining think block letters and scrip. It instantly conveys casual, farm-fresh and even a bit of rebellion, in my opinion. They also use detailed illustrations like you’d find in a old school book or almanac.
  • Menu: But anything but a dive bar menu awaits on the chalk board above the cashier. Burgers are made with all-natural beef or you can sub-out 100% Wagyu (Kobe) grass-fed beef for additional coin. They tout locally sourced beef, chicken and veggie options as well. Premium toppings run the gamut from Gruyere to portobello mushrooms to manchego cheese to carmelized onions to roasted chili relish to watercress. You an also order salads, sandwiches and soups. And hand-dipped shakes and “artisinal sodas” stand alongside standard beverage staples. They also offer craft beers and wine.
  • Staff: You order at the counter and your food is then brought out to you. But the behind-the-counter staff is as friendly as the table servers you’d find at Staples’ sit-down dining establishments. They know all about the food, can make recommendations – and our gal even let us know that another Uneeda Burger would be opening up in Seattle soon.  They cross-sell and interact with customers just as a table server would, which differentiates them from your basic fast-food joint.

Just goes to show that you don’t necessarily have to be selling something no one’s ever sold before. You just have to put your unique brand spin on it and communicate that differentiation through  every customer touchpoint. People will notice.

What customer touchpoints do you focus on to stand out from your competition? What is your unique edge in a crowded market? Post a comments and get some link-love back to your site!

Brand at Work: MOO

I love brands that use every customer touchpoint to delight their buyers. Most recently, I got the chance to fall in love with MOO. A UK-based firm with a U.S. office in Rhode Island, MOO prints mini and full size business cards, postcards, greeting cards and more. You can print different images on each card, and they also use recycled and sustainable products. MOO cares about beautiful design and quality products at a decent price. They inject their fun, friendly and bubbly brand into thousands of little things and really understand the concept of “enveloping” their customers in a brand experience that gets people talking.

I recently ordered some minicards from them to promote my book, Branding Basics for Small Business. I wanted to leave people with a reminder about the book, rather than having them scramble for a piece of paper and a pen.

First off, the automated email message about my order: Full of personality. It starts with, “It’s Little MOO again. I thought you’d like to know, the following items from your order are now in the mail:” and ends with:

 Remember, I’m just a bit of software, so if you have any questions regarding your order, the best place to start is with our Frequently Asked Questions. We keep the answers here: If you’re still not sure, contact customer services, (who are real people) at:

Thanks for ordering with MOO – we hope you love your order,


Little MOO, Print Robot

They took a boring, bland auto-email and turned it into a reinforcement of my decision to buy from them. Easy. Simple. No extra cost to do this.

Secondly, packaging: Your package arrives  in an appealing array.  They use package messaging to further reinforce their quirky friendly brand, with little sayings like, “Yay! You’re Our New Best Friend” in the holding case I bought, and a wrapper on the box that said,

“Your MOO minicards are inside*

*Open them quick!”

Everything about them is small, compact and sustainable. They actually design their packaging to be reused. Here is what they say about this on their website:

We think receiving products from MOO should be something special. After all, it’s your artwork, your photography, your event or your business you’re promoting. Something to be proud of and something to be shared. So we custom design our packaging for re-use, resale and recycling. If it’s worth packing, it’s worth packing well.

Third, website copy: Just look at the clever and witty way their website copy is worded and you instantly understand their brand and what they are about. The brand promise carries through in tone and word choice. Friendly. Bubbly. Customer-service focused. Check out this page for just a taste. This is actually a website you want to read and enjoy.

It is very clear throughout all of their messaging that they stand for fun, quality and environmental sustainability.

What does your business stand for? It is clear across everything that you do that this is the promise you deliver? Why not take a look at some of the simple, inexpensive things that you do and see how you can inject your brand voice into them to delight your customers?

Why I’m a walking billboard for Dave’s Killer Bread

Guest blog post by Red Slice intern, Suzi An.

It’s 2 a.m and my boyfriend and I decide to do some late night grocery shopping. Normally, I shop at Whole Foods where I buy the same brand of whole-wheat sunflower bread. But because they close at 10 p.m., I ended up walking down the street to QFC.

“Suz, come look at this.” Roger is awkwardly holding a loaf of bread with bold colors on the packaging.

“What is that? That’s not my normal loaf of bread,” I say. I shrug my shoulders and continue to walk down the bread aisle looking for my sunflower bread.

“Suz. Come read this!” Fussy and defeated, I walk back towards him.

I grab the bright yellow bag from him and begin to read: I was a four-time loser before I realized I was in the wrong game. 15 years in prison is a pretty tough way to find oneself, but I have no regrets… Immediately I am hooked. Who is this guy spilling his life story on a loaf of bread? I continue reading and realize that this guy created his whole brand on his incredibly story. He was in and out of prison for drugs, assault, and robbery until he realized he needed to change his life: A whole lot of suffering has transformed an ex-con into an honest man who is doing his best to make the world a better place…one loaf of bread at a time. My heart sunk. I turn the bread around and see “Just say no to bread on drugs!” and I cannot believe how clever and fantastic this is. I see that the specific loaf that Roger had grabbed was called GOOD SEED. How cute. A loaf of bread named after Dave’s change. Ultimately, it is Dave’s story, a story that is personal and inspiring, that will make his business and brand successful. And the best part, his products live up to his brand promise. Heavenly Texture and Saintly Flavor. His bread is probably the most texturally pleasing bread I have ever tasted in my life. I practically devour the entire loaf in three days. I am beyond obsessed. As a strong supporter of the green movement and sustainable eating, Dave had won me over with his organic bread, compostable bags, the wind farms, and only providing the Northwest with his mouth-watering bread. He believes everyone deserves a second chance, so most of his employees are ex-cons as well. Dave, can you be anymore fabulous?!

I follow Dave on Twitter and I try to see him at almost every festival where he is present. I recently saw him at the Bite of Seattle where I bought six loaves of bread, a T-shirt, a coloring book, and had the opportunity to meet the guy behind the brand. I feel like a giddy ten-year-old girl! The only words that came out of my mouth were, “I am a huge fan and I eat your bread on a daily basis!” Really? How did I become a “bread groupie”? At least once a week, I tweet “How can I get on Dave’s PR team?” I have yet to receive a response but they seem to reply to everything else I tweet about them.

It’s brands like Dave’s that reaches out to interact with their customers, creates relationships, and has a clear vision of what it wants the brand to do that will be more than successful. I am proud to be a consumer of his bread and will follow Dave wherever he goes. So when can I start?