Finding Clients You Can Really Believe In

One of the truly rewarding things about being an independent strategic/creative person is getting to determine, to a certain extent, the direction in which you want to take your business. A few years ago I decided to shift from being exclusively a freelance supplier to design and marketing companies to finding some entrepreneurial businesses to work with.

I didn’t have many criteria in this regard, only preferences. My main preference was to work with individuals and companies who were really trying to make a positive difference in the world. I had had years of working for packaged goods companies, car companies etc who were stimulating the economy, but were very resource intensive and, in spite of all their ‘green’ efforts, still continue to be.

PEEL LOGO RGB MASTERPeel Scrap Metal Recycling – New Life For Old Metals.

My first find was a company called Peel Scrap Metal Recycling. This was a family owned boutique recycler (meaning they didn’t do big machinery, cars, trucks or boats.)

What impressed me most about them was their commitment to educating the public and the trades and manufacturing companies they dealt with about the positive environmental and economic impact that the recycling, (and subsequent re-use), of scrap metal creates. I found this not only inspirational, but also very interesting, since the general perception of scrap metal recycling was one of cigar smoking dudes, in dirty white sleeveless undershirts squashing cars…not a very pretty picture.

Peel Scrap Metal was quite the opposite. The principals all have business degrees and deep expertise in the worldwide commodities markets. Their computer system monitors commodities prices daily in order to set rates. This is a very complex business and, other than the scrap metal itself, nothing like the general perception. I was privileged to be able to start virtually from scratch and build a brand for them, which has turned out to be quite good for their business.

Here’s the link to the case summary if you are interested in finding out more:

The FuelAid Optimizer. Reducing Fuel Costs and Shrinking Carbon Footprints.FA LOG AND SIGMy next find was a company called FuelAid Systems. The product they market is called the FuelAid Optimizer. It was created and manufactured in the US, but the company, had the rights to distribute and market it in Canada, parts of the US and other markets.

The Optimizer is an ingenious product that is composed of powerful monopole magnets which attach to the fuel lines and exhaust lines in virtually any internal combustion engine. The magnets work to separate fuel molecule clusters as they move through the fuel line, resulting in dramatically cleaner burning fuel and reduced emissions. In a number of formal tests conducted on large diesel rigs this technology was able to increase fuel mileage by 25 to 35% and reduces emissions by 80 to 90%.

We are currently in the startup phase of branding this product and direct our marketing efforts to the trucking and transportation industry, which are the largest polluters on the road and the companies who will benefit the most from incorporating this revolutionary technology into their businesses.

Here is the link to the FuelAid case summary.

PCMDR Technologies – Making A Real Difference For Diabetics, PCMDR LOGO
And Ultimately, The Medical Profession.

My third find is a company called PCMDR. This is a company that is currently composed of two software developers and a project manager, my friend and associate Barb Munshaw. The project started as a registry site for diabetics and still is very much about that. But as the software application progressed, in the hands of these two brilliant developers, its functionality soon grew into something quite advanced in the medical technologies field.

The capabilities of the software application has attracted serious attention in the public and private sectors, and once the testing is completed we will begin the process of branding both the diabetes registry and this advanced technology. I’m very excited about this project and so are a number of other people who have invested a great deal of time and expertise in help the developers, Lary Yenta and Phil Gouin, turn their dream into a reality.

In keeping with my main preference, this application will make a huge difference in the way medical technology, especially in the mobile area, functions will expands the medical profession’s ability to help people where perhaps they could not before.


In all three cases I have assembled of been part of groups of associates of various sizes to work with me on these projects. I’m very proud of this network. Every person in it is both super talented and a real human being. The network I have at my disposal includes project mangers, business planners, designers, web site programmers and marketing people and everybody in between. All experts in their fields and all, like the clients they serve, genuinely entrepreneurial.

I’ve been very fortunate over the past few years to have hooked up with some really good companies who are trying to make the world a better place to be. But there is always, as they say, room for more. If you know a company that’s working to make a difference and needs a little help to tell the world about it, let me know.

O&U SignatureJim Murray, Creative Director
Direct Line: 416 463-3475
Web Site:

Onwords & Upwords Online Portfolio Part 2 – Logo Designs & Positioning Lines

What you see here is a random sampling of logo designs I have created over the past few years.

Part of being able to offer cost effective communications solutions means being able to write strategic focus documents, create and produce whatever is necessary where budgets are restricted, and work with the best people available when that is an affordable option. It isn’t always about being a jack of all trades, but if you want to help small businesses in an effective and efficient way, having a range of strategic and creative skills and experience doesn’t hurt.


O&U Signature

Jim Murray, Creative Director
Direct Line: 416 463-3475
Web Site:


Onwords & Upwords Online Portfolio Part 1 – Print Work

What you see here is a sampling of the work I do for my clients.  It is currently divided into 5 basic areas: Some of it is speculative but the majority is work that was published and helped my clients build their business.


This presentation is designed to give you a picture of my thinking. If you’d like readable samples, I’ll be happy to send you a selection of work in any area that is of interest to you. Just email me at Or contact me by phone at (416) 463-3475. Thanks for taking a peek.





O&U Signature Jim Murray, Creative Director
Direct Line: 416 463-3475
Web Site:



How To Succeed In Business By Being Really Smart.

When you are starting your own business, or even re-branding an existing one, there are a number of things you need to do. And these break into two distinct areas.

  1.  Things that you can do yourself, and
  2.  Things that you might need help with.

So your very first order of business is to sort out which goes where.

For example, when I decided to re-brand my own business a few years ago and move from being exclusively a freelance creative supplier to being able to attract and manage communications for small to medium sized businesses, I went through this process. While I could handle most of the strategic focus and creative side of the branding and communications myself, I found that I did need a very reliable and creative web developer, because the last thing I wanted to do was build my own web site. I also needed a high end graphic design person who could create original digital artwork that would enhance what I was thinking. And as things have grown I have developed relationships with people in the area of, business planning, marketing strategy development, public and media relations, media buying and negotiating, photography and illustration, web and social media marketing. These people:

a)    Broaden my reach in terms of the size of businesses I can approach,
b)    Make me look as big as I need to look when I need to look big, and
c)    Make my life easier.

Do-It-Yourself Branding Is Almost Always A Recipe For Failure

A lot of people who start small businesses tend to do so on the basis of a connection they have developed, a product they have created or have gotten the license to represent or a marketable skill set they possess.

They may be very sure of themselves when it comes to sitting down with an interested prospect who is ready to buy, but may very well need a lot of help in really defining their company, creating the right communications strategy, developing the branded image and effectively targeting their marketing so that they can attract those interested prospects in the first place.

One of the key reasons that the majority of business start-ups fail has very little to do with the quality of their offering, their skills or even their salesmanship.

It mainly has to do with the simple fact that they started their business without allowing for professional help to do the things that they are not good at. What this means is that they end up positioning themselves inaccurately or amateurishly which leads to any or all of the following situations:

  1. They either miss their target audience, or
  2. They connect with they target audience, but send them the wrong message which, in turn confuses them,
  3. Their target audience, who will judge them by the quality of the corporate identity they have created, will see them as amateurish and not ever develop the confidence they need to do business with them.

19163463 copy 3 Creating & Building Your Business Means Doing It Right…From The Start

The majority of people who start small businesses tend to completely underestimate both the need for and the cost of creating a communication strategy and a corporate identity that identifies and puts forth the true USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of their company.

There are a number of reasons why this can happen. Money is the most prominent. But there is also the outmoded notion: “If you build it, they will come.” While this notion speaks to the confidence that the business owner has in his product or service, this becomes a very difficult row to hoe in today’s ultra competitive billion web site business universe.

Smart Communications Development  Means Finding Economies Of Scale

Most small businesses can’t afford a full service advertising agency to create an earthshaking campaign that will make them a household name overnight. What’s more realistic is finding a strategically oriented creative person who can see their USP, and build a professional corporate identity around it.

The economies of scale kick in because a multifaceted individual who can create communications strategies, write and art direct the materials needed to get a business off to a professional looking start, will cost a good deal less than three individuals doing each of those functions in tandem.  The difference will be not noticed creatively, but will be obvious from a cost perspective. This person will also have access to the other services you need (web site design, printing etc), but will not broker these services, so you will not have to pay markups on them.

All in all, it’s a very smart way to go about establishing your corporate identity, or re-branding your company in a way that will effectively reach and talk to the people you need to talk to in order to make your business grow. It will also give you more time to do what you’re good at and because you will be spending less time trying to figure out how to do the things you’re not good at.

If anything you have read here has struck a chord, then perhaps we should have a no-obligation conversation about your business, where you would like it to be going and the most efficient and effective ways to get there.

O&U Signature Jim Murray, Creative Director
Direct Line: 416 463-3475
Web Site:


The Top 10 List Of Elements Most Often Lacking In A Company’s Marketing Materials.

Next to your actual sales force and your own undeniable powers of persuasiveness, web sites, corporate brochures and identity kits should be among your hardest working marketing tools.

In order to make sure you’re maximizing the power of these tools, I have put together a checklist of attributes which no self-respecting corporate identity package should be without.

1. Synergy With Your Company’s Overall Image.
This synergy is the key to building awareness of your company as a brand. Everything should look like everything else, because that’s what makes you look professional.

. A Strong Selling Proposition.
Without it you might as well just write your communications materials in Latin.

3. An Appealing Look & Positive Feel…
that’s both ‘in character’ and inviting to read. People read things that look appealing and interesting. Anything else, they tend to ignore.

4. Consistent Narrative Logic Flow From Top To Bottom.
Bad grammar is running rampant in communications these days. Bad grammar can make you look like a not-so-bright, and therefore not-so-trustworthy company.

. Obvious Corporate Identification.
It’s all the rage in the design world to play down logos. But that’s how most readers end up missing them.

6. First Person Focus
If you’re always talking ‘to’ your prospects as opposed to ‘at’ them, chances are they’ll be paying greater attention to what you have to say. Never talk about your company in the third person. If you do, people will think you’re weird.

7. Simplicity. Simplicity. Simplicity…
in the use of supporting language and graphics. Remember, you know more about your business than anyone you are talking to. Showing respect for what they don’t know will always be rewarded.

8. A Definite Selling Attitude Throughout.
If your communication isn’t selling your company, it’s unselling your company.

9. Testimonial & Case Study Support
Your satisfied customers are, bar none, your best salepersons. Anything that quantifies results is going to be more meaningful to your readers than abstract notions or platitudes. You’ll be surprised how powerful these underused selling techniques can be.

10. Concrete Reasons Why The Prospect Should Be Doing Business With You.
Too many companies fill their communications with reasons why they are so great, but they seldom turn it around and give their prospects a real sense of what’s in it for them.

If you find your marketing materials to be lacking in any of these areas, contact me ASAP. I can help you rectify that situation quickly and cost effectively.

O&U Signature

Jim Murray, Creative Director
Direct Line: 416 463-3475
Web Site: