CCC Turns 3! And the Winners Are…

We’ve been celebrating all week, and today it’s official. My company, Clearly Conveyed Communications, turns 3 years old.

CCC turns 3! The swag has arrived.

The swag has arrived. How do you like the retro touch?

In some ways, it seems like yesterday that I made the leap to start my own company; in others, it seems like a lifetime ago. In 3 short years, CCC has gotten social with first responders, worked with international clients and connected with people the world over. We’ve scratched, clawed, struggled and grown, experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. That’s the life of a small business owner.

And small business owners are close to our heart. While we’ve worked with companies of all sizes, we love helping small businesses succeed and realize their hopes and dreams. If you’re a small business owner, drop us a line. We’d love to hear about what you’re doing, so we can help spread the word.

We’re grateful to everyone who’s helped spread the word about us and wanted to thank you. Earlier this week, we announced a contest for those who engage with us on social media and are excited to announce the winners!

The winners of the ‘CCC Turns 3’ contest are:

  • Missy Radecki, Associate Professor of Nursing, FL *** CCC swag prize pack
  • Lyla Larimore, Blogger & Fire Service Enthusiast, IN *** CCC swag prize pack
  • David Rose, CEO at PRSONAS *** Spotify Premium gift card

Congratulations to our winners! We’ll be in touch with more information on your prizes.

A sincere THANK YOU to everyone who has helped shape CCC in any way, from clients and customers to ardent supporters to close friends who serve as sounding boards. We appreciate you!

p.s. We’re still partying! Penelope and Mojo are swinging around the office. 🙂

Grateful and blessed,
Jaime

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CCC Turns 3, And You’re Invited (To Win)!

We’re throwing a party, and you’re invited — to win.

CCC turns 3!

Clearly Conveyed Communications is turning 3 this week, and we’re celebrating with our clients, customers, supporters and fans. All week, we’ll be partying (while we work) at the office, so we’re inviting you along for the fun.

Follow and engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the blog for your chance to win CCC swag and other cool prizes. The winners will be announced right here on Friday, so stay tuned!

While you’re here, kick off your shoes and stay awhile. We’d love to help you with your next marketing, writing or social media project. Let us know your challenges, so we can help you with solutions. Have a question? Ask!

To kick your Tuesday up a notch, here’s what we’re dancing to in the office right now. Join us!

Now that you’re done dancing, here’s a chance to win.

What’s your favorite post (or series) on the CCC blog? Let us know below to be entered to win!

(New to the blog? Check out the right-hand sidebar for recent posts, popular content, categories, subject tags, archives and contributors to the CCC blog. You may be surprised at what you find!)

p.s. THANK YOU to all of our loyal readers and followers. We love to hear your thoughts and appreciate everyone who likes, comments on and shares our posts to further the conversation.

Cheers,
The CCC Crew

Jaime, Penelope & Mojo

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A Subtle Dash of Branding Can Make Your Customers Smile

It’s amazing how what you do shows up throughout your life, even when you least expect it.

Anthropologie understands it's brand!

A subtle, unexpected touch of branding can form an emotional connection.

For example… I was opening my mail yesterday after a long day spent catching up at home and in the office from traveling to a client’s conference last week. To my surprise, I received an early birthday gift from a longtime friend (who has wonderful taste, by the way).

As I opened the box, I was excited to find a beautiful bottle opener, a practical and eye-catching gift. I also noticed two other objects in the box which I pulled out. One was a full color card advertising the company’s gift registry. The stock was a nice weight, and the piece reminded me of an invitation or ‘Save the Date’ card, which probably wasn’t an accident. The other was a tone-on-tone embossed white envelope with an old-school tie clasp containing the shipping list/return form. I was impressed!

Anthropologie understands its audience.

Why? Anthropologie is a company that I’ve long thought to be on point, branding-wise. In its 22-year existence, the retailer has stood out from its competitors by focusing on the stories of its products, the communities it operates in and its partners. (It’s name is no accident; look up the definition of anthropology.) By offering a mix of signature products, outstanding service and community support, Anthropologie understands its audience and serves it well. The big-hearted retailer has no interest in being another mass-market discount superstore.

So it shouldn’t have surprised me when the company that seems to think everything through, captured the smallest detail. The shipping list and/or return form is often an afterthought, thrown in the box at the end, so it’s the first thing you see — and associate with the brand — when opening your package. Not here. It was neatly tucked into the subtly branded envelope, keeping it safe if needed, yet out of eyesight if not. Upon opening the envelope and discovering its contents, I received another surprise: two more beautiful pieces are on the way.

By thinking of every last detail, Anthropologie made me smile three times while opening a gift from a friend. With a subtly branded envelope and some ingenuity, this brand-conscious retailer lured a potential customer in without ever walking in a store or going on its website. Remember, a subtle dash of branding can make your customers (and prospective customers) smile.

How do you promote your business in subtle, unexpected ways?

What’s a small thing you’ve done (or can do) to make a customer smile?

A branding believer,
Jaime

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33 Lessons in 33 Years

I recently came across a fun post, 32 Lessons from 32 Years of Life. The timing was perfect as I was pondering what to post about on my birthday (Yep, Pisces here.), and I had actually been toying with the idea of this type of post.

I hope you find these short lessons useful, and please feel free to chime in with your own at the end. So, here goes… lessons I’ve learned from 33 years of living:

1. You’re only as good as your word. Don’t break it. (Read: If You Say You’re Going To Do Something, Do It!)

2. Take care of your body. It’s the only one you have.

kicking toward the finish line

Running makes me happy and clears my mind. What’s your favorite activity?

3. Own your decisions. You are responsible for you — not anyone else.

4. Pay it forward. Karma has a way of reciprocating. You’ll  benefit more than those you help anyway. Trust me.

5. Make time for you. It’s not selfish; it’s necessary to recharge and be at your best.

6. Some “vices” are OK. If you really enjoy something, do it (unless it harms others).

7. Pay attention. You’ll learn so much by being observant, in business and in life.

8. Learn from the past, look forward to the future, but live in the present. It’s the best show there is. If you’re constantly reliving things or worrying about future events, you’ll miss a lot of wonderful moments.

9. Learn to give — and receive — constructive criticism. (“This is terrible” or “you’re stupid” is not constructive.)

10. Listen, listen, listen. It will take you far in life.

11. Follow your gut. It’s your instinct for a reason.

12. Try new things — foods, adventures, travels. You never know what you’ll fall in love with. (Like ice skating, for me.)

ice skating

Snow, wind & ice. Lots of ice. Enjoying some time on the pond — the best part of winter.

13. Respect your values and beliefs. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, it’s OK to walk away. (Read: Gray Area: Do Ethics Still Have a Place in Business?)

14. An interview is a two-way conversation about an opportunity. Relax.

15. The devil IS in the details. Handle those and the rest will follow.

16. Do something special for yourself monthly, or more often if you can. Because you’re worth it. (Thanks, L’Oreal.)

17. Don’t project your bad day outward. Just because you’re in a bad mood, everyone else doesn’t have to be.

18. Social media’s great, but get social in real life too. (Read: Social Media’s Nice, But It’s Not IRL)

19. Embrace the mundane. It’s 80% of life. (Listen: This is Water, David Foster Wallace)

20. If you feel like getting dressed up to go to the store, go for it. Likewise, if you head out in workout gear, it’s no big deal. Life doesn’t hinge on what you’re wearing. (Granted, there are occasions where your dress is dictated by the occasion. Embrace it.)

21. Sometimes, you can buy happiness. Just don’t try it all the time.

22. Value those close to you. Don’t take them for granted, because some day they won’t be there.

Color Run Akron 2013

My sister-in-law, brother & I after Color Run Akron.

23. Make the extra effort. It usually pays off — even if no one’s watching.

24. Have a strong handshake, a genuine smile and a killer pair of earrings. (Gentlemen, I hear cuff links produce the same effect.)

25. Laugh a lot. It’s the best medicine, and you don’t need a prescription.

Yours truly, enjoying the moment

Yours truly, enjoying the moment.

26. Don’t waste too much time worrying. It really doesn’t change things.

27. Think through major decisions but don’t be afraid to act. Indecision can be paralyzing and leave you watching from the sidelines.

28. Be impulsive every once in awhile. Do something crazy at least once in your life.

29. Celebrate birthdays. Age brings wisdom and life experience. Appreciate them.

30. Think — every single day. It never goes out of style.

31. Listen to your body. It’s amazing what it can tell you.

32. “Never being satisfied” makes a great motivational poster but leaves you feeling empty inside. Always wanting more can leave you broke and alone. Enjoy your achievements and appreciate what you have. Remember, perfection is unattainable.  (Read: What’s your riddle?)

33. Be genuine in everything you do. It’s easier in the long run, and people will appreciate you for it. Eventually, you’ll even find people who like you for who you are.

“And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life…”  –Lester Burnham, American Beauty

stick em up!

Bonnie & Clyde… back in the day.

I’ve never really grown up (vertically challenged here), but I have learned a lot. Like a good hat can make up for just about anything, even a really crappy day.

Share Your Lessons

What lesson(s) have you learned?

Do any of these lessons resonate with you? Do you disagree with any?

Maybe we can all learn to navigate this crazy thing we call life a little better.

Cheers,
Jaime

Life lesson: Connect with others!
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It’s All About The Little Things

It's all about the little things.

“We sometimes underestimate the influence of little things.”
-Charles W. Chestnutt

Yesterday was my birthday (yep, I’m a Pisces). Upon the outpouring of well wishes from friends, family and business associates, I was reminded that life is so much about the little things.

A message on social media wishing someone a happy birthday. Making time for dinner with your family or lunch with an out of town friend. Calling someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile just to check in. Small acts that cost you little but brighten someone’s day.

Little things are just as important in business. My mantra has always been, “People do business with people.” I always try to put a face behind my company name, make my digital world seem more human and personal. Although much of what I do is electronic – writing, marketing strategy, social media, etc – I love connecting with people and putting a face with a name.

I believe that rich relationships are what life’s all about, in business too. Reach out and connect with people, care about what they do and how you can help them. The business will come, but first you have to connect with people, develop and nurture relationships.

Who knows what could come out of a simple birthday wish?

Your thoughts?

Cheers,
Jaime

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Stop. Breathe. Take Stock. Repeat As Necessary.

My 30th birthday was one of the best days of my life. It also turned out to be a pivotal moment.

My 30th birthday cake - the first one!

My (first) 30th birthday cake from my fellow staff working an event. Made my day!

Between going for a morning run, having my Facebook page and phone inundated with well wishes, working an event for my employer, blowing out candles on two cakes, enjoying a quick massage, dining outside by candlelight, being serenaded with Happy Birthday twice and hanging out with industry friends (some of the coolest people I’ve ever met) deep into the next morning, I took stock of my life and didn’t necessarily like what I saw.

Don’t get me wrong; the day itself was amazing. But after pausing a moment, I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t happy. That can be one of the hardest things to admit, especially to yourself. In the past few years, I had become a workaholic and had little time for family and friends, some that I had known for years.

Only a rat can win the rat race

Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Credit: denniseagles

While some people excel in the corporate rat race, I was suffocating. I missed the nature I had grown up in despite living minutes from a beautiful series of metro parks. I was trying to cram working out and somewhat healthy meals into what little time I had outside of the office and my commute. I love to cook but had no desire to do so at 9 or 10pm after coming home from the office. I knew I needed a change.

After much planning and thinking, I decided to open my own business. It wasn’t an easy decision, but ultimately, I knew it would allow me to align my personal priorities with making a living. It certainly hasn’t been easy (and it’s still early), but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m excited about the future and building my business while enjoying nature, making time for those important to me and having a more flexible schedule.

Poolside in Scottsdale

Capturing some brief pool time and utilizing our fabulous branded towels at an event in Scottsdale.

Similar to your personal life, it’s also helpful to stop and take stock of your business or career as well. It can be easy to veer off course and start heading down a path you don’t like. Perhaps you’ve moved away from your sweet spot, have some clients who drag you down or you don’t even recognize your marketing anymore. Whatever it is, remember to stop and take a deep breath every now and then. It can really help you stay on track, whatever your track to a happy life is.

I would love to hear about your moments of taking stock of your personal life or business. How did you discover that you weren’t where you were supposed to be? What made you decide to take a risk to correct course? [And if you’re looking for any marketing or branding assistance, I’d love to help!]

Cheers (and keep smiling),
Jaime