Choose Their Own Adventure


I used to love to read “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. Some of the best were by Edward Packard. I loved them because I was in control of the decisions. I chose where the heroes went. (And if I didn’t like the choice, I would keep my finger on the previous page and just go back to it. Maybe that’s cheating, but who didn’t do that?!) This weekend, I picked one up for my son to read so he can experience the same adventures that I did with these stories.

Today, consumers are choosing their own adventure before buying.

In today’s socially connected world, every consumer is on a choose your own adventure journey. Before the majority of consumers buy a product or pay for a service, they start researching online. They ask their friends who they would recommend. They crowdsource answers on Facebook or read reviews on Yelp. We compare and contrast by price (lowest to highest), by customer ratings (best to worst) and by the detailed amount of features or services listed.

We are all bombarded by content. Every. Single. Day. Research would also say that the attention span of a human (8 seconds) is now shorter than a goldfish (9 seconds) (via cbc news). Consumers are choosing to engage only with content that is personally relevant to them and adds value to their everyday life.

How do you cut through the clutter? How are you reaching your potential customers? Are they choosing to read the content you share? Do they click through to your website only to be turned off by the design or the way your site functions (or rather… malfunctions)? You could say that they “kept their finger on the previous page” and just hit the back button to revisit their Google search. Give them the adventure they are looking for by having relevant content, a user-friendly website, or a value-adding social media presence.

Consumers today are more prepared than ever BEFORE they even contact you!

If your company is not proactively marketing and finding out how to get in front of the decision-makers and the time of purchase (or at least the start of their research), you need to rethink your strategy. As your brand and marketing consultant, I can help you make certain that your organization is consistent in messaging across all of your online avenues, including your website, social media and online advertising. If you are still stuck in old school, more traditional marketing tactics, let’s start a conversation today about converting your efforts to digital marketing.

I can help you guide potential customers through a choose their own adventure… with your business as the central hero in the story.

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How to Be (Un)Professional on LinkedIn


If you have a LinkedIn profile set up, please keep reading. If you do not have one yet and are not a LinkedIn All Star, you should definitely keep reading.

LinkedIn is a professional networking site where individuals can connect with fellow business men and women, follow their favorite company updates, and contribute to industry specific group conversations. This community of professionals is – or at least should be – committed to professionally representing their personal brand. While it is also used by companies to create buzz about their business happenings and new hirings, I am focusing only on the individuals for this article.

Below are a few tips on how to build your rockstar profile and also what NOT to do:

Before You Start

Before you create and post your LinkedIn profile (or update your current one), think about your personal brand. What is the story you want to tell? What specifics about each job you’ve had do you want to list? What projects have you worked on that want to showcase? Will you use it as a lead-generating tool and actively post fresh content for prospective clients?

Your Profile Pic

LinkedIn does not equal Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. Your profile pic on LinkedIn should be a professional looking head shot, not something that you took on your smartphone and then cropped out your ex-boyfriend or new puppy.

Profile pictures on LinkedIn end up being 200×200 pixels, so make certain that when you crop your image to fit those dimensions that you keep your head and shoulders centered. You want to be recognized here, so a mysterious shot of your face hidden in shadow or behind a camera lens is probably not the best choice. (Sorry, fellow creative types.)

Tip: Make sure your face is the clear focal point of the picture.

Here are a few examples of bad profile pics:


Here are two examples of good profile pics:


Your History

Your profile is a digital resume. If you don’t present your absolute best (bad profile pic, spelling errors, bad grammar, etc), then you leave a lasting first impression that is not a good one. Also, don’t overload people with your job duties. Make your list concise and focus on the accomplishments that make an impact on the company you work for or the customers you serve.

Tip: You can reorganize your profile to feature certain information at the top of your profile page. When you edit your profile, you can literally drag sections to bring them up to the top.

For example, it might be a good idea to put any recommendations or endorsements you have received toward the top. Testimonials that back up your experience speak much louder that mere bullet points that describe what you did on a daily basis at a particular company.

Your Credibility

Ask for recommendations. While endorsements for your particular skills are great to have, recommendations allow your current and past colleagues to write a full testimonial about your working relationship. They can write an entire paragraph on how you saved the business, exceeded their expectations, or delivered a project on time and under budget. Think about it – do you like it when people talk only about themselves in a social setting, or does it mean more when you hear from another person how great someone is to work with?

Tip: Ask for recommendations from your fellow coworkers or past clients. Most people are willing to give a recommendation if you simply ask.

Your Homework

After you have read this article, you now have a little homework to do. Take a look at your own personal LinkedIn profile. Is it the best, most professional representation of who you are? Could you tweak some of the content or rearrange your profile information? Does it put your best foot forward in a business setting?

To view my personal LinkedIn profile, click here.

If you have questions regarding how to build your personal brand on LinkedIn, contact me today for a profile consultation:

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How to Draw the “Perfect” Dog


Learning to draw is as easy as 1, 2, 3… right? But what if your drawing isn’t as good as someone else’s drawing? What if you don’t get any Likes on your post of your drawing or no one shares it with others? Does that mean your time was wasted? Not at all!

In our interconnected world of social media, many fall victim to comparing themselves to others. Now, this is by no means a new phenomenon, but we are much more hyper-aware of it thanks to the internet and social media. We have Pinterest moms who strive to mimic the amazing arts and crafts they find on their boards. There are Twitter accounts that have millions of followers and – sometimes – 140 characters of never-ending “wisdom.”YouTube videos go viral all the time, but not always for the reason it was posted. And let’s not forget the Facebook fan base that your company page can gain (and lose).

All that to say, why are we so focused on the number of followers we have, the total ‘Likes’ we get on Facebook, who retweets us, or how many shares our Pinterest posts get? Why do we care so much? Why is social media the judge and jury on our creative potential?

Everyone is creative in their own way. Some are creative artists (and CAN draw a the ‘perfect’ dog), while others are creative in the kitchen or photo studio, and still others who are creative in the world of business. We should not create our worth by comparing ourselves to others on social media (or offline).

Don’t be afraid to post your sketches, even if they are imperfect. Don’t shy away from posting a pic of the wedding cake you designed, even if it might not land you on Cake Boss or might land you on Cake Wrecks. Don’t be afraid of what others ‘like’ on social media – letting that stop you from posting something. Be yourself and allow you (or your company’s) voice to shine through.

You never know, you might be the one who inspires.

Sure, the old saying is: “Practice makes perfect.” But what exactly is ‘perfect’? Who defines perfection? Your perfect drawing might not be someone else’s definition of perfection, but it’s YOURS. Your perfect event plan might be criticized by others, but the event was a success because of YOUR plan. Your perfect dinner party might not appease everyone in attendance, but it’s the best party YOU’VE ever hosted. Not everyone will ‘like’ what you bring to the table, but who cares? Don’t be afraid of what other people think of you. Just be your creative self and let your work and your excitement for that work shine brighter than what others think. It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

In all honestly, I had to overcome a little fear just to start doing this blog. But, I’m going to continue to share my thoughts on business, life and design, as well as post my imperfect sketches and projects online. I hope you continue to share your ideas and creativity as well, and that your creative potential is not limited by fear or worry about what others think.

Side note: You can see some of my imperfect sketches and designs on Instagram here.