Branding & Marketing Free Advice Series Parts 1-5


If you want to do a good job of branding or rebranding your product or service, but you don’t have a ton of money to do it, there are a number of people out there whose experience base qualifies them to wear more than one hat. Working with one or two people who can handle multiple functions will lead to economies of scale that can make the work you need to do much more affordable.

Of course, there are a lot of people out there will tell you they have more than one skill set to offer, but it would always be smart to ask for references that can confirm their talent levels in the various disciplines you need them for.

It may take a little extra time, but the savings, both in terms of money and hassle, will be worth it.


The biggest challenge to the process of branding and marketing development is for clients and suppliers to learn to trust each other. The key to developing trust lies in the mutually understanding that everyone is on the same team and wants to achieve the same results.

Creative people, by and large, are driven by the need to create an environment of trust because when trust isn’t a worry, they don’t second guess themselves and generally come up with their best ideas.

When clients develop the level of trust they need with their suppliers, this does two positive things. 1. It frees them up to concentrate on whatever it is they do best, be it creating or tweaking their product or service or sales. 2. It removes the ‘us vs them’ barriers and allows them to actively participate in the branding process.

Some of the best client relationships I have had over the years involved clients who were actively involved in their branding process. Their input and insight was invaluable, because, after all, who knows more about their business? And we taught each other a great deal in the process. And by the way, the process always had a positive result.


Anyone who networks will tell you that the concise ‘elevator speech’ is a business essential. Unfortunately many people do a crappy job of it. This is mainly due to the fact that they don’t factor in one very important thing, and that is the person they are trying to communicate with.

The whole idea here is to make sure, not just that the person gets what you do…but that they get what you can do for them.

Walking the talk, here’s my elevator speech. “My job is to create communications that make it very clear to your prospects that you would really be worth doing business with.”

Simple, clear and focused on the ultimate purpose of virtually any form of communication.


If you are in the process of planning a new web site or renovating an old one, do yourself a huge favour and hire someone to design and write/rewrite your site.

There are a lot of businesses out there who have their sites designed by amateurs, web programmers or, even worse, do it themselves and the sites show it. It isn’t just for aesthetic reasons, or even enlightened self interest, that I recommend this course of action, as evidenced by the attached article.

At the end of the day you really want your site to help build your business and that’s what good design and content will do for you. It won’t necessarily be cheap, but it will elevate your site to the rank of professional looking with increased search engine friendliness and that’s both good business and good PR.


When it comes to branding your business, your vision of what your business is all about, and where you want it to go are the two most critical elements. If you hire somebody to help you realize this vision, the biggest mistake you can make is assuming they know what you know. They won’t…because they can’t.

Branding and marketing are front end loaded activities. In order to do them in a way that will brand your business effectively and help move forward, the people who are helping you need to know almost as much as you do. If you think this will happen by some sort of mystical alchemy combined with intuition and experience…it won’t.

Take the time to explain your vision up front and the pros you hire will make it happen. Don’t take the time to do that, and you may not always like what you end up with.

O&U Signature

Jim Murray, Creative Director
416 463-3475  •  •


Onwords & Upwords Small Business Marketing Tips #1


A lot of people don’t think this is a very important communications element. But in point of fact, because it appears adjacent to your logo or wordmark, it’s usually the first thing that people perceive about you. Because of this your positioning line needs to do two very important things.

1. It needs to position your company in terms of the service you provide or the benefit your product     provides and

2. It needs to represent the true spirit of your company.

Thing 1 appeals the the analytical side of the prospect’s brain…Thing 2 appeals to the creative side. Together they create a complete impression, which is reinforced by the logo.

The example I am showing here is one I created for Peel Scrap Metal Recycling. What we wanted to do was to communicate what they did, and begin the process of positioning them as a company with deep rooted belief in the environmental benefits of recycling.

I’ve been working with Peel for three years to help keep them on this course and it has benefited them greatly. Their sales have increased by about 20% and they have been able to open a new warehouse in Oakville to complement their Mississauga operation. I’m not saying the positioning line did all this for them, but it laid a solid foundation for the entire communications program that was to follow. And that played a big part in their success.

You can visit Peel Scrap Metal Recycling at