How I Led a 90 Year Old Company Through a Rebrand

About a month into my position, my boss approached me with his business card.

He said, “What you change about these business cards?”

I replied, “Do you want the whole answer or a convenient one?”


“Give me the whole answer.”

This prompted a discussion about impact, color story, fonts, taglines, updating to a modern world, and messaging.

He was skeptical. I was not surprised. I ended our follow up meeting with this:

“The thing is, nothing is wrong with our branding. It’s fine. But, is that the story you want to tell for your company? It’s fine? Or do you want to present your company with the same care and attention that you spend on your own image? Think about the money you spend on clothes, your home, your car, and just generally looking good for other people to know you as your best self. Don’t you want our sales team to make the same good impression when they present our material to a lead?”

10 Reasons to Hire a Theater Geek

10 Reasons to Hire a Theater Geek

Google recently revealed that soft skills are more important than technical skills for people who become leaders in their organization. As a theater enthusiast myself, I would implore all employers to look at those who have theater listed as a major or interest. Here are my top ten reasons why theater people make the best employees.

Stop Avoiding Your Sales Pitch

I met with dozens of small business owners over the last two years, and one of the common hang ups they were having was giving the hard sell. I talked to an author who was spending money on ads to get email sign ups instead of selling her book. I talked to life coaches who told me that they were afraid of coming off as "too salesy". I had artists and tour guides with websites that were three page loads from their home page before the purchase button showed up. 

My advice is to stop being afraid of turning people off and start focusing on the customers who want your offering. Customers will not be excited about your business unless you're excited. They will not buy from you unless it is clear what they're getting, and it's easy. And by easy I mean Amazon-two-clicks easy. 

You’re the only cheerleader that you really have, so you have to be prepared to cheer as loud as possible for your team.
— Bonin Bough

What makes a great sales approach?

A simple message conveying value, plus buttons (people LOVE buttons). See this website screen shot below from, who I found on the second page of a Google search for "career coach". What do you notice? 

Huge headline: CAREER COACHING. No fluff, just what it is.

Tagline: "Successful people who love what they do." Could be read as about them or about you, the user, or both. Either way it works. In seven words they've summarized the idealized state for someone looking for a career coach. 

Buttons: Three immediate visible buttons, with online scheduling (YAS PLEASE) and two buttons to see pricing. They are bright, clear and right there. 

Is this the shiniest, best website ever? No, it could use an update. But the sales pitch is there. It's clear this team is confident in what they do.


So, what is holding up small business owners from selling their stuff? I think the biggest problem is confidence. So many business owners are afraid people won't like it, or they are afraid of over-promising, or they are annoyed by other sales pitches and don't want to be like "them". So here are three simple strategies to get to your sales pitch.

1. Love What You Do

Write down all the reasons you're in business. Not just flexibility and control, but why you chose your service and product. What do you do that makes the customer experience special? Write down all of the things, and pick one or two that stand out to you.

2. Find Out Why Your Customers Love You

Ask you customers what convinced them to come to you. The most common answer should be summed up in a word or phrase. "Friendly", "Trustworthy", "Seemed to really care", "Best price", etc. If you don't have any customers yet, ask potential customers about what made them from someone similar to you. 

3. Find Aspirational Brands

You're a consumer as well as a business owner. There must be companies you love to buy from. What do you like about Amazon? Spotify? Your favorite coffee shop? What ads have you seen that you don't hate? Make a list of ads and branding that you like that you'd want for your company too.

Now blend them all together, and put them into a statement:

I am so excited to bring you  _________________ and I know you'll love it too because _________. My business' greatest strength is that we are ___________________.

Example: "I am so excited to bring you outstanding marketing strategies for your business, and I know you'll love it because I use real life examples for small business owners with constrained time and resources. My business' greatest strength is my zest and enthusiasm for your success."

What did you come up with? Let me know in the comment!

Representation Matters: CMO Edition

I've been doing some research on marketing influencers, since I aspire to move into the realm of speaking and writing about about marketing, and something seemed... a bit off. 

Let's start with some facts. Women make up the majority of our field.

  • 56% of advertising and promotions managers
  • 55% of marketing specialists
  • 55% of designers. 
  • 55% of technical writers

And in some other related areas, we have even larger majorities in the "sales and office workers", "media and communication workers", writers, editors, and sales professionals. 

And yet, the first page of results from a Google search paint a different landscape. The top ranked article for a search of "marketing influencers", the top ranked article list 4 women in their list of 25 top marketing influencers


The next article did better, and made it even. 5 women and 5 men listed as marketing influencers to follow in 2018, ranked neatly in pairs. Thank you, female writer! 

Marketing Insider Group named 3 women in their top influencer list 2018, our of 25. Forbes did a little better, listing 6 women on their 25 Marketing Influencers

You get the idea. 

Where are the women? Where are the people of color?

Then I scrolled down the list of occupations I mentioned above. Once the word "management" kicks, women drop to 45%. Chief Executives? 27%. Only 35% of businesses are women owned. 

Where are we? Are we not taking the credit? Are we spending time on everyone else instead of our personal brands while our male counterparts spend hours a day on top of their jobs creating content and giving interviews? Is it us? Or are we being buried?

It reminds me of a recent exchange I had with my boss about the head of marketing at another company similar to ours that I had visited. "I love Erin, she's so smart." I said. "Yes, she certainly has her opinions" was the reply. Would he have said that about a man?

I have no answers. Only dismay.

If anything, this has only fueled my fire to create a strong website with real talk marketing. How do I get better? How do I help female voices stand out more? How is this still a THING?

One woman stood out among the sea of men (there are others, of course, many others!). Ann Handley made almost everyone's list, and one minute on her website will tell you why. She is a bestselling author, an energetic speaker, and immediately has a warmth and charm about her that you would expect from an actress or art teacher. But she also knows her stuff. I am so excited to find a virtual mentor to look up to. We even have similar color schemes (was not intentional, I swear!). 

Follow Ann. That's one thing we can do for women today. 


But that's not all. It's important that we also highlight the voice of people of color and make marketing more diverse. Other than Neil Patel, the influencer lists I looked up were so very, very white. There are few mentioned, but no headshots or nice writeups to really help them stand out. Let's change that.

Follow Jennifer Polk of Gartner Research for marketing research and strategy content. And check out Bonin Bough's YouTube channel for some C-suite level wisdom and fun times.