7 Year Itch

Spring was a season of change here at Rooted ID. We said goodbye to our office on St. Andrews Blvd., moved into The Schoolhouse, partnered with the world’s largest digital marketing network (details on that coming soon) and embarked on a very special branding project—our own.

We’ve been itching for a new look, and as our 7th year comes to a close, it seems like a fitting time to formally unveil what we’ve been working on…

 
New Rooted ID Logo
 

The original Rooted ID logo has been with us since the very beginning (2010). And while it has served us well, the consistent horizontal orientation has been somewhat limiting. We desired more flexibility, but maintaining visual ties to what so many have come to recognize as Rooted ID was also really important to us.

If you’ve visited our office in the last two months you have probably gotten a sneak peek of our updated logo without even knowing it (our temporary door signs feature the new design). We’ve kept the changes relatively subtle, dissecting the original logo so that it can be easily adapted to suit a variety of layouts. We wanted the logo to be earthy and timeless, so we’ve used an antique illustration as inspiration for the tree and a classic serif typeface to compliment the image.

To create a cohesive feel, we’ve utilized a selection of seed and floral illustrations throughout our branded materials. Brown continues to play a role in our color palette, but copper updates the look without negating the earthy vibe.

 
New Business Cards
New Website Design
 

Imagery plays a decorative role in our updated print collateral, and it takes an even more substantive lead on our new website, where we are now showcasing sample work on our home page. From there, users can quickly navigate to our portfolio to see more or access case studies that speak to the benefits of our strategic marketing process (Plant | Feed | Grow). 

Flexibility is an important part of our company culture, and we place great value on creativity, versatility and practicality. We hope that the updated logo and website reflect that, and we're excited about where this new look will take us! 

Networking in Charleston: Hatch Tribe

This post is the fourth and final post in a blog series about some of the best networking and meetup groups in Charleston. Check out last week's post to learn more about Lowcountry Local First.

“Entering a networking event, you can feel the eyes of every attendee fix on you for a few brief seconds, like a pack of hungry wolves. They come up and shake your hand with a poisonously false enthusiasm, and as soon as they work through a quick calculation and conclude that you’re not “important” their eyes start flickering around the room, looking for their next meal.”

— John Westenburg, themission.co

That quote is from a blog post entitled “Networking sucks. Because people don’t give a shit.” That’s a pretty harsh perspective, but most of us can relate. Yes, networking can indeed suck… But more often than not, the suckiness has more to do with bad networking habits than human nature itself.

Networking can be a phenomenal waste of time and an absolute joy-kill  if: A. you are networking within groups where people have little or nothing in common (professionally or personally), or B. you have a networking script/sales pitch that prevents you from connecting with others in an honest and meaningful way.

Fix A, and B tends to work itself out. Find a group that understands your struggles and shares your goals... Substantive conversation and meaningful connections are sure to follow.

Hatch Tribe has got this all figured out. And while the organization caters to female business owners, all professionals can learn a thing or two from their priorities (education and relationship building vs. promotion and prospecting).  

Emerge Summit photos by Abby Murphy Photography from @HatchTribe

Hatch Tribe is a private business that provides coaching and mentoring services. It is not a traditional membership-based networking group, but Hatch Tribe Founder Hillary Johnson hosts a variety of gatherings and small groups where women entrepreneurs can connect with (and ultimately learn from) one another. Events are facilitated in a way that limits promotion and encourages honest conversation...

“We believe in women supporting women. We believe in collaboration over competition. We believe in real talk, encouragement, and inspiration.”

— Hillary Johnson, Hatch Tribe Founder

In short, Hillary is creating a professional community that cares.

One of our favorite Hatch Tribe groups is the CEO Collective. It’s an intimate environment, where women business owners can connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, solicit advice and share experiences. These small groups (of no more than 7 women) are handpicked by Hillary to limit competition and promote “co-working.” Additionally, participants must meet a few requirements to ensure that they are a good fit.

While there are many examples of women-only networking groups, we find the execution of Hatch Tribe events to be top-notch and sincerely focused on what matters most—education and support. The organization offers realistic guidance that can be put to immediate and impactful use both in business and in life.  

Networking doesn't have to suck. Find a group that you truly care about, and it is likely that they will return the favor. We hope you've enjoyed reading about our favorite groups over the past few weeks. There are plenty of others deserving of praise, but the Charleston Metro ChamberSea Islands ChamberLLF and Hatch Tribe are certainly moving and shaking the local networking scene. Have a favorite of your own worth sharing? We would love to hear about it! Email us with the details. Until then, happy networking!

Networking in Charleston: Lowcountry Local First

This post is the third in a blog series about some of our favorite networking and meetup groups. Check out last week's post to learn more about the Sea Island’s Chamber of Commerce, and be sure to tune in again next week for our final feature.  

If you own a business in the Lowcountry, we highly recommend Lowcountry Local First membership. LLF is a nonprofit advocate for local economic development and an authentic voice for local, independent businesses. The organization has two primary initiatives, Good Business and Good Farming, which provide training and support to business owners and promote awareness among the general public.

“We know that for every $100 spent at a chain store, an average of $14 is reinvested in the community. For every $100 spent at a local store, an average of $45 is reinvested in the community. That money maintains our schools, paves our roads, employs our friends and neighbors and makes the Lowcountry a wonderfully diverse and interesting place to live.”

— Lowcountry Local First

Yes, other organizations in town advocate for local business, but LLF's advocacy is exclusively local. As such, membership is limited to independent, locally owned businesses that meet certain criteria

Benefits of membership include exposure through the LLF business directory, free admission to monthly Member Mixers and discounted access to other events. Several of LLF’s reasonably priced membership levels include additional perks such as sponsorship opportunities and the ability to bring guests to Member Mixers free of charge. Mixers are hosted by various business all over town, and the events are a great way to meet other locally-minded, well-connected professionals. Nonmembers can attend (usually $10 at the door), but RSVPs are required. And always RSVP early… Mixer events fill up fast!

LLF Member Mixer at the Cedar Room, Photos by Foxworthy Studios

Rooted ID has benefited significantly from connections formed at LLF events, and we recently took advantage of their Commercial Space Services. LLF members now have access to two new resources—the Locals Only Space Database and the Commercial Space Advisory Team. The database includes listings for unique commercial properties (retail, office, warehousing, storage and other single occupancy and shared commercial spaces) and the advisory team provides support to business owners who are new to the lease negotiation process. 

Want to learn more about Lowcountry Local First? RSVP to a Member Mixer, or visit LowcountryLocalFirst.org.

Networking in Charleston: Sea Islands Chamber of Commerce

This post is the second in a blog series about some of our favorite networking and meetup groups. Check out last week’s post to learn more about the Charleston Metro Chamber, and be sure to tune in again next week for yet another feature.  

If you are pursuing business opportunities on or around Folly Beach, James Island, Johns Island, Kiawah, Seabrook or Wadmalaw, we highly recommend membership in the Sea Islands Chamber of Commerce. This private, non-profit organization is working hard to inspire economic advancement on a micro level, and their small town approach to networking benefits Sea Islanders and “outsiders” alike.

Rooted ID has not placed membership with the Sea Islands Chamber, but we are seriously considering it. Membership is not limited to island businesses, and most Sea Islands Chamber events are open to non-members (a great way to test the waters). The chamber hosts monthly After Hours Networking events, Lunch & Learns and Networking Breakfasts. We attend the After Hours events on occasion and love the laid back, neighborly vibe. 

Sea Islands Chamber membership includes access to all events, a monthly newsletter, the marketing opportunities there-in and a listing in the chamber’s member directory. Members also receive the enthusiastic support of the chamber's Executive Director, Karen Thompson.

Karen is about as local as it gets. She was born and raised on James Island, and her family has been in the area since 1670. After having worked 20+ years for an advertising agency, Karen founded the Sea Islands Chamber in 2010 to put her marketing skills to work serving the community she loves. She's a valuable resource and has organized a series of popular community events,  such as the Annual Artwalk and Homegrown Holiday Bazaar, that bring area business owners and Sea Island residents together. 

Is Sea Islands Chamber membership right for you? Email Karenjoin the chamber's mailing list, or attend an After Hours event to learn more!

Networking in Charleston: Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce

Networking plays a crucial role in our marketing strategy here at Rooted ID. We've attended events, joined a few organizations and have developed some favorites along the way. We will be sharing some of those throughout the month of May. Marketing advice is never one-size-fits-all, but knowledge is power! Hopefully our experiences will inspire you to do a little research of your own. This post is the first in our networking series. Be sure to tune in next week for another feature.

In the spring of 2015, The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce hosted a series of focus groups in which member organizations shared opinions regarding existing and future chamber offerings. These conversations were designed to address the specific needs of small business members (organizations with 50 employees or less). Prior to 2015, the chamber had been met with some criticism from small business owners who, despite accounting for 80% of chamber membership, felt that events and programming catered to larger organizations such as Boeing.

The Charleston Metro Chamber listened and responded posthaste.

Small Business Package 

A Small Business Package program was introduced in July of 2015, making chamber membership more advantageous to small businesses than ever before. The program delivers a wealth of services and support to propel business growth (such as Ask the Expert events and educational webinars). They also offer exposure through the chamber’s membership directory and various leadership roles. We were one of many businesses to place membership after the chamber renewed their focus on smaller organizations.

 
I genuinely enjoy meeting new people, and chamber events have been a great vehicle for that. While we have certainly gained business from our chamber membership, I most value the educational opportunities. I know more about local infrastructure than ever before… I am more engaged with my community and feel more ‘plugged in’ to the Charleston metro area as a whole.
— Jennifer Morrow, Rooted ID Founder
 

Chamber events have opened a lot of networking doors for us and may help you to expend your professional network too. Most events are open to non-members, and some (such as the Chamber Connect events) are completely free to attend.

Local Area Chambers 

The Charleston Metro Chamber has taken small business offerings a step further with an “enhanced delivery model.” Chamber events and programs are now segmented into Local Area Chambers (Central, East, North and West) so that members have convenient access to information that is most relevant to where they live and work.

This segmented approach isn’t just a model for chamber events; it has truly influenced how the Charleston Metro Chamber develops and disseminates programming. Their website reflects this effort. Large websites are notoriously difficult to navigate, but the chamber has added some useful ways to filter information. Search functions and color coded info helps users locate events and programs designed for their area without sacrificing the big picture view of what’s happening city-wide.       

Interested in chamber membership, but not quite ready to take the plunge? Try an event! Jennifer regularly attends BYIB and Connect West events. Email Jennifer@RootedID.com if you would like to meet up. 

Ribbon Cutting at the Schoolhouse

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12TH AT 5:00PM
THE SCHOOLHOUSE
720 MAGNOLIA ROAD, CHARLESTON

schoolhouse.jpeg

The Schoolhouse is hosting a grand opening celebration this Wednesday April 12th. Mayor Tecklenburg will be present for a ribbon cutting ceremony (5:00pm) and this month's West Ashley Revitalization Committee meeting (5:15pm). Attendees are invited to tour the building after the meeting concludes (5:45pm). 

Visit Charleston-SC.gov for more information, or click here to access the meeting agenda. 

Representatives from Rooted ID will be in attendance, and our office (Suite 24) will be open to receive visitors after the meeting's conclusion (5:45-6:30pm). We look forward to seeing you there! 

Kendall Flock
Brand Evolution & Logo Updates

To update a logo, or not to update a logo... That is the question. If consistency is the key to brand recognition, why would someone ever dream of tweaking or changing a logo?

Services change. Products get reformulated. New competition emerges. And even if nothing changes about the way in which you do business, the world that influences your target customers certainly will. 

According to Cambridge Dictionary, brand evolution is “the continuing process of improving a brand as markets and fashions change.” Notice how that reads “improving a brand as markets and fashions change” and not “changing a brand as markets and fashions improve.” The difference is subtle and somewhat subjective, but an “evolving brand” and a “changing brand” are very different things. 

Examples are always fun, so let’s look at some logos!

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There's a clear loser. Sorry, Gap. In case you've forgotten, Gap overhauled their logo back in 2010, and the change was a monumental disaster. The logo update was an attempt to "modernize" the brand, but it became a visual manifestation of an identity crisis. Gap lost touch with what consumers love most about the brand... classic, all-American style. The new logo may have been "modern" (even that's up for debate), but it certainly didn't speak to the company's core values. 

Gap reverted to their old logo within a week. A branding crisis was averted, but can you imagine how much money was spent on the planning, design, release and subsequent PR damage control?

Change is scary. Evolution is an entirely different feeling. It's exciting.

Spring is proving to be a season of change at Rooted ID. We've spent a great deal of effort improving processes and streamlining efficiencies over the last year. Our recent move has been the most obvious step in that journey, but even more exiting things are in the works... 

 
Our logo has been in play since 2010. It has served us well, but we’re exploring some fresh ways to represent what people enjoy most about Rooted ID. All brands develop a better understanding of themselves and their customers over time... It’s only natural that marketing messages would evolve to highlight what customers and company culture deem most important.
— Jennifer Morrow, Rooted ID Founder
 

Yes, you read that right. We are updating our logo! It will debut on a new Rooted ID website that we hope to launch later this season. 

A lot of soul searching has led us to this place, and we figure there are plenty of other business owners in a similar boat. If you are considering a logo update or new logo for your business, here are a few things to keep in mind...

  • What do my most loyal customers enjoy about my brand?
  • What makes my business different from existing or emerging competitors?
  • Is there a simpler or clearer way to communicate my unique strengths? 
  • Would a new or updated logo affect other marketing materials?
  • If so, would new marketing materials (website, print collateral, etc.) enhance my sales efforts

Ready to explore some options? Contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation, and be sure to stay tuned for our big reveal. 

Our New Digs

For those of you who missed last week's post, we are in the midst of an exciting move! Our furniture safely migrated to 720 Magnolia Road (a.k.a The Schoolhouse) over the weekend, and the new office is now fully operational.

We are located in Suite 24, which will be easier to find when our sign gets installed (more on that in the coming weeks). We will maintain a private conference room and entrance for client convenience, and our door can be accessed from the rear parking lot on Sycamore Avenue.

We hope to share our fully decorated space with you soon! Until then, feast your eyes on our freshly painted walls and the adorable community garden next door...

We're Moving

Exciting news, folks! Today was our last full day working out of 711 St. Andrews Blvd. Tomorrow our team will be working remotely while our office gets boxed up for moving day (Saturday, March 18th). 

Our new home will be The Schoolhouse. Once a school (Albermarle Elementary) and then an assisted living facility, the building has been abandoned for nearly a decade... maybe longer. Lucky for us, it has been renovated into office suites, and we will be among the inaugural freshmen class. 

The move will be a short one... The Schoolhouse is located at the corner of Magnolia and Sycamore in the Avondale area of West Ashley. Seems like an appropriate place to Put Down Some Roots... Am I right?

The new office was a great find, and we have our friends at Lowcountry Local First to thank. LLF provides a great platform for local entrepreneurs, and they've put a lot of energy into connecting businesses with opportunities and resources. If you need help finding a space for your business, consider joining LLF and taking advantage of their Commercial Space Services

We look forward to hosting friends in our new space very soon and plan to share tons of photos with you next week. Until then, here's one last look at 711... We'll miss you, giant sign, but we won't miss turning  onto St. Andrews Blvd. in rush hour traffic!

Kendall Flock
Super Bowl LI: Marketing with Good Humor

Anyone else underwhelmed by this year’s Super Bowl ads? Perhaps our perspective has been marred by defeat, but the commercials (according to office chatter on Monday) left lackluster impressions. Some were downright obscure. I think most people dig the idea of gender equality, but it’s a hard subject to tackle in 60 seconds.

There has been a significant decline in funny Super Bowl ads, and there’s plenty of speculation as to why. But humor still works when it’s done well. 

Finding the Sweet Spot

Humor is a dynamic balancing act.  A joke that is completely benign (without victim or criticism) isn’t funny. A joke that is completely offensive isn’t funny either. But if you can transform a perceived negative into something silly…. Eureka! That’s humor.

A writer for The Atlantic, Olga Khazan, describes humor as a “juxtaposition of injury and cheer” that helps us “deal with life’s injustices.” I highly recommend reading Olga’s article (The Dark Psychology of Being a Good Comedian)… It’s from 2014 but still a great read for marketers and comedy buffs alike. 

Marketing with Humor

Humor isn’t right for every brand, and just because it can work, doesn’t mean that it will. Let’s take a look at two examples from Sunday’s game…

“Romance the Rainbow; Taste the Rainbow” is silly, but it is it truly funny? Will you remember it? Will you discuss it with friends, coworkers or family members? Probably not, because the ad lacks depth. Skittles isn’t speaking to a specific audience, and they certainly aren’t transforming a perceived negative into a positive. 

The Mr. Clean ad strikes an equally silly tone, but it is far more likely to make a lasting impression. Anecdotally speaking, I was tempted to put down my beer and throw my husband a mop after watching this one, and my Facebook and Twitter feeds immediately erupted with positive commentary. Articles have dubbed this spot as Super Bowl LI’s most memorable commercial. But why? The ad was a well-executed commentary on household responsibilities and relationship dynamics. At risk of being sexist, Mr. Clean appeals to women who could use a little help around the house. It transforms a specific pain point into something we can all laugh about. 

The ad alone is marketing genius, but it turns out Mr.Clean’s social media game is equally strong. Visit @RealMrClean to read a series of hilarious live tweets from Super Bowl LI. Don’t you just love it when offline and online marketing methods work together for maximum exposure!

If you’re eager to develop clever or funny messaging for your brand, here are a few simple guidelines…

  • Understand your target audience.
  • Identify perceived negatives. 
  • Craft a concise message that addresses specific pain points and transforms perceived negatives into positives.  
  • When in doubt, keep it simple. Never sacrifice message clarity for cleverness. 

Effective marketing starts with a clear understanding of your target customers and a concise definition of your brand identity. That’s why we’ve developed a process (PLANT. FEED. GROW.) that puts crucial branding exercises (PLANT) ahead of all creative work and marketing strategy. Need help defining your brand identity? Schedule a complimentary call to learn more about PLANT. 

Kendall Flock
Super Bowl LI: May the Best Website Builder Win

Kaelyn is a Georgia girl. Jennifer began her marketing career in Atlanta and lived there for five years. And while I may be a Carolina Panthers fan, I think we can all agree that we’d like to see the Falcons win this Sunday. They’ve got one heck-of-a team, and Super Bowl variety is the spice of life. Patriots fans need not email me with your “it’s lonely at the top” spiel. We get it. We still want your team to lose. 

Now, onto more important matters. The true winner of Sunday’s game will be an advertiser. First in our hearts is Squarespace. This all-in-one content management system, website builder and blogging platform is returning to the Super Bowl to compete for market share, and we hope they pull off a well-deserved win! Squarespace users got a special sneak peek of the company’s second ever Super Bowl ad yesterday, and it’s pretty funny…

And the award for best website builder goes to… 

A super-sized television advertising budget does not a great company make, but Squarespace has garnered a lot of positive press over the last year too. Curiosity surrounding the company may be thanks, in large part, to their 2016 Super Bowl ad.

Prior to their 2016 Super Bowl debut, Squarespace was named #8 on the Cloud 100 list by Forbes. The Cloud 100 recognizes web-based companies that are growing and delivering unprecedented customer satisfaction. Since that time, Squarespace has been described as a preferred website platform (in terms of site aesthetic and function) all over the internet…

 
Steve Jobs often told a story about how his father— a carpenter— would care as much about the back of a cabinet as the front. Jobs said this where he learned the importance of craftsmanship and attention to detail. This story reminds me of Squarespace. Everything in Squarespace is polished. Nothing ever feels half-baked. Simply put: Squarespace crafts the back of cabinets.
— Steve Benjamins, sitebuilderreport.com
While there are many different options to fit different needs, expertise and time, we believe that Squarespace has built the best website builder solution on the market.
— .BIO
They don’t just look great, though; they also perform incredibly well on mobile; we didn’t experience a single issue viewing or navigating a site on a smartphone or tablet during our entire test. In fact, it’s the only site builder we’d give a “10 out of 10” for responsive design.
— reviews.com/website-builder
 

And if you’re still on the fence, here’s a summary of our favorite Squarespace features…

•    Affordable hosting starts at $12/mo.
•    Responsive web design optimizes website display on mobile devices.
•    Intuitive content management makes text edits and blogging a breeze.
•    Templates are created by Squarespace developers to ensure site functionality.
•    Squarespace support stands by their templates to ensure site functionality.
•    Open source flexibility (ability to add CSS and HTML) delivers a highly custom look.
•    SSL certificates are built right in.  

Is a Squarespace website right for your business? 

The Squarespace platform is intuitive enough that a DIY designer can create a clean looking site. All you need is some good photography, compelling content, time and an eagerness to learn the technology. DIY design works best for aspiring artists, photographers, solopreneurs and small businesses with an extremely limited marketing budget. 

Squarespace sites can also be customized by designers, like ours, who are HTML and CSS proficient. This approach is a better fit for business owners who are seeking a high quality website without the custom developer price tag. 

Replacing an old site, updating a Squarespace site or looking to build something brand spanking new? We'd love to hear all about it (even if you do like Tom Brady). Email Kendall@RootedID.com to schedule a complimentary consultation.  

Check Out the Tradition

Pilates Trainer Jessye Schmalian had dreams of opening her very own studio. She decided to share that dream with us earlier this year, and we are so glad that she did! 

Our journey together began in September. Jessye had a strong sense of who she was and the sort of training environment that she wanted to provide, but she was unsure of how to communicate that in written and visual messages.  We scheduled a PLANT session in order to develop a brand identity inspired by Jessye's love of the classical Pilates method. PLANT resulted in a new name, brand messaging and some general marketing copy (for web and print use)...


BUSINESS NAME:

The Tradition

PRIMARY BRAND MESSAGE:

A Classical Pilates Studio

SECONDARY BRAND MESSAGE:

Explore Core Teachings. Find Core Strength.

ROOTED ID:

The Tradition, a Pilates studio specializing in private instruction, encourages individuals to dig deeper into the classical method to find core strength and mind/body balance. 


We applied all of our PLANT findings in the design process in order to produce a look and feel that was consistent with the new brand identity and written messages...


Logo:

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Submark:

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Business Card:

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Website:

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This branding project has been an absolute pleasure from start to finish, and we look forward to sharing more of our work with you very soon. In the meantime, please visit  TheTraditionStudio.com to learn more about Mount Pleasant's newest Pilates studio!

Confronting Perceived Realities

I recently stumbled across a heartwarming headline in my Facebook newsfeed...

I was compelled to click through, and the story starts out like this…

 
The London restaurant’s offer started with a simple note, handwritten on a sheet of white paper.

“No one eats alone on Christmas Day!” it read, with the exclamation point modified so that it included a heart. “We are here to sit with you. . . . Any homeless or elderly are welcomed.”

The note went on to outline the three-course meal the Turkish restaurant would serve from noon to 6 p.m. on Christmas (“FREE OF CHARGE,” double-underlined): soup and cacik, a Turkish herb-and-yogurt dip, to start; the choice of chicken casserole, vegetarian casserole or chicken shish for the main course; and rice pudding for dessert.
— WashingtonPost.com
 

There’s a lot of nonsense on the internet these days. Most content has adopted a tone of moral outrage, righteous indignation or impending doom. This story restores my hope in humanity. A Muslim man spreading Christmas cheer… That’s a refreshing perspective on what it means to live in community with one another. I hope you’ll take a moment to read the full article for yourself.

Personally, I appreciate this story for what it is—a decent man helping when, where and how he can. Professionally, I can’t help but to see this through a marketing lens. It’s a habit. Lessons in effective communication are everywhere, and isn’t that what marketing all boils down to? Sending the right message? At any rate, I do want to preface the following analysis with this… I think the restaurant owner behind “no one eats alone” is a nice man with pure intentions. His generosity is not motivated by commercial gain, and I sincerely hope that he wouldn’t mind my using his story as a teachable moment.

Perceived Realities

Our consultation services touch on perceived realities quite a bit. So what is a perceived reality exactly? And why is it important? The truth may not be subjective, but your reputation as a business certainly is. Consumers make decisions based on what they believe to be true, and sometimes what they believe isn’t true at all. As a business owner, you shouldn’t dwell on false assumptions, but you absolutely need to acknowledge them if you are going to communicate with consumers effectively.

Exceeding Expectations

“No one eats alone” leaves me with two questions…

  1. How can I be more generous with my time and talents?
  2. Why are so many people sharing this story?

I’m still working on that first one, but I have some sneaking suspicions about the second. At first glance, “no one eats alone” is a timely story about holiday generosity. Under closer examination, it’s a timely story about political and cultural tensions. But those things aren't enough to garner international attention. We share this story because we are surprised by it. We expect a certain type of person, with certain beliefs, in a certain situation to behave a certain type of way. Some people would expect a Muslim business owner to be resistant to Western culture and Christian traditions. Others might expect a Muslim business owner to feel victimized in the face of adversity. Tensions in London are, after all, extremely high. But this story isn’t about an enemy of Western civilization or an oppressed victim. This story is about a holiday hero, and we share it because it defies perceived realities on all sides.

As business owners and human beings, both professionally and personally, I challenge you to confront perceived realities in a positive way. It takes some work, and you may not always get it right… But the world is a nicer place when we do our best to pleasantly surprise one another. 

Just for FunKendall Flock
Small Business Sense

We love working with Tom DiLiegro! Tom is a local benefits expert who shares our passions for small business and creative problem solving. He specializes in Affordable Care Act Compliance and helps small businesses (like Rooted ID) develop compensation strategies that reward employees without financially burdening business owners. Sounds awesome right? Well, it is, and so is Tom. Needless to say we were pretty excited to help him share his expertise with others.

Tom founded Benefit Advisors of Charleston (BAC) in 2007. BAC already had a logo and web presence, but neither were communicating the full spectrum of services that the company provides. Tom met with us in 2015 for a PLANT session, and the result was a new tagline and a clear definition of BAC's brand identity...

Tagline & Brand Identity

Coverage that Makes Small Business Sense

Benefit Advisors of Charleston works closely with small business owners to creatively structure coverage that rewards talent and saves company money.

Website & Print Materials

We met with Tom again in 2016 to brainstorm some ways to reach new customers and strengthen brand identity. We settled on a new website, some small print pieces and a letter campaign. The results look pretty sharp and manage to articulate more effectively what Tom was already doing well...

Please visit the Benefit Advisors of Charleston website to learn more about the valuable service that Tom provides. 

Our Approach to Small Business Marketing

Like Tom, we aspire to provide solutions that make sense for small business owners. We've formulated a staged approach to marketing because there are some crucial steps (like defining your brand identity) that can make or break marketing ROI down the road. 

Most of our clients start off with a PLANT session followed by FEED, but our recommendations vary based upon business priorities and budget. We're eager to learn more about your business, and you probably have some questions about our process... Fortunately it costs nothing for us to get to know one another. Schedule your complimentary consultation today!  

Our Work, Web DesignKendall Flock
Networking Tips for Small Business Owners

Networking is a cost effective way to enhance your marketing efforts, but networking opportunities are frequently neglected by small business owners. We shared an Entrepreneur article on our Facebook page earlier this week that contains some excellent networking tips. Today, we wanted to expand upon that with a few specific small business networking pointers of our own…

1. Keep an Open Mind

You are likely to meet prospective customers at networking events, but converting customers should not be your primary objective. Keep an open mind when meeting new people. In addition to new customers, you may find valuable referral sources, vendors or new hires that can help you to attract and retain even more customers over time. 

A salesy, shortsighted approach to networking has a much lower ceiling. Best case scenario, you will run out of people to sell to. Worst case scenario, thinly vailed sales pitches will damage your professional reputation. 

2. Be Yourself

Yes, you should absolutely spend time fine tuning some language about your product or service, but it’s important to keep things conversational. Ditch the rehearsed sales pitch. Hone in on the most unique aspects of your business, and speak candidly about them. You should be able to describe what you do (and why it’s special) in one sentence (two max). 

Make sure that you are truly listening when others are speaking. Ask questions, and look for ways to connect with your fellow networkers on a professional and personal level. 

3. Follow Up in an Appropriate Way

Your newfound networking friends probably grabbed one of your business cards, but there are effective ways to ensure that you stay in touch...

  • Connect on LinkedIn. Be sure to customize your invitation requests with details about where and how you met (i.e. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you at last week’s chamber event. I am sure we will run into one another again soon, but feel free to email me if you want to continue our conversation about…). 
  • Send a personalized message via email if your new contacts aren’t on LinkedIn or if you promised a more specific follow up. 
  • Don't call. Phone calls may seem intrusive unless one was specifically requested. 
  • Don't add new contacts to your email marketing lists unless they have formally opted in. 

4. Stay in Touch by Making Introductions

Consider making helpful introductions among professionals who would benefit from working with one another, or forward job listings to qualified candidates if someone in your network is hiring. When you make email introductions, it is best to contact each party individually before sending an email with everyone cc’d. This sort of professional match-making keeps you in front of your network and reinforces your reputation as a solutions provider. It may also encourage others to help you out, when you are in need of particular resource or recommendation.

When making introductions, always use your best judgement. Your referrals have the power to reflect positively or poorly upon you. Only vouch for colleagues that you trust.

Additional Tools and Tips

An agency like Rooted ID cannot effectively network on your behalf, but we can provide tools to enhance your networking efforts. PLANT sessions can be extremely beneficial to business owners who need help articulating the value of their product or service, and FEED sessions typically include some networking suggestions. Schedule a complimentary consultation to learn more. 

NetworkingJennifer Morrow
Tis the Season for Web Design

Tis the season for web design! We've launched six new websites so far this summer. Yes, you read that right, SIX! Please take a moment to click through our latest creations...

AFFORDABLES APPAREL

Web Design by Rooted ID

CHARLESTON REAL ESTATE REPAIRS

Logo Design, Website Copy and Web Design by Rooted ID

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FRS

Brand Messaging (via Plant Consulting), Website Copy and Web Design by Rooted ID

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CHARLESTON BICYCLE CO.

Brand Messaging (via Plant Consulting), Website Copy and Web Design by Rooted ID

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NBM AND CCH 

Brand Messaging (via Plant Consulting), Website Copy and Web Design completed by Rooted ID for Sister Companies

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Ready to build a new website for your small business? Schedule a complimentary call to learn more about our consultation process and web design services. 

Making the Switch to Branded Email

We recently posted about the importance of using a branded email address and shared some information about our preferred tool, Google Business Apps. Click here to read more about setting up an @companyname.com email address.

Once your new email address is up and running, there are a few things that you should do. Here's a short checklist to get you started...

  1. Notify Your Contacts - Email all of your contacts from your old email address. Keep the message short and sweet (i.e. I have a new email address. Please remove oldaddress@yahoo.com from your contact list and add name@companyname.com.). You can tactfully email your entire contact list at once by adding all recipients to the bcc field.  
  2. Customize Your Email Signature - Make your email correspondence look even more professional by adding a branded signature. Instructions and best practices are included below. 
  3. Update Listings and Contact Forms - Chances are your old email address is linked to some stuff. Update any social media profiles or listings that are associated with your business. Ensure that descriptions contain your new contact information. Update your website with new information as well, and make sure that all of your contact forms are linked properly. If you do not manage your own website, contact your web master to complete this process. 
  4. Setup an Auto-Responder - Log back into your old account to set up an auto-responder. You should be able to do this in the general settings for your inbox. The auto-responder message can be as simple as "I have a new email address. Please send future correspondence to name@companyname.com."
  5. Setup an Email Forward - Some of your contacts will inevitably fail to use your new address. If you are worried about missing messages, set up an email forward in the general settings of your old inbox.  

Gmail Signature How-To 

The following video may be helpful if you are customizing a signature within a Gmail account...

Email Signature Dos & Don'ts

Regardless of whether or not you use Gmail, there are some general rules to follow when it comes to email signatures...

  • Do include a sign-off that is personable and professional. The Rooted ID team consistently uses "To your success," but "Warm regards," "Thanks," or "Cheers" would work just as well.
  • Don't get too creative. Favorite quotes and lengthy sign-offs are better suited for personal correspondence. 
  • Do include relevant information like your name, title, company name and phone number.
  • Don't go overboard. If you include too much information (three phone numbers, a fax number, two websites and the name of your first born son), it can be difficult to discern what's important and how to reach you.
  • Do include your logo. We recommend linking this to your website (as seen in the video above). 
  • Don't include unnecessary graphics. Your contact information should exist as text. Some inboxes block images, and text ensures that pertinent contact information displays correctly. 

Care to add some email etiquette to our list of dos and don'ts? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Jennifer Morrow
The Importance of Branded Email

We work with a lot of startups and small businesses that have never used a branded email address. Many come to us with a Gmail, Yahoo, Aol or Bellsouth account. And while CompanyName@gmail.com may seem like the easiest email option, it can create problems as your company grows...

The Problem with a Generic Email Address

  • It makes the wrong impression. - Your customers may get the wrong idea about your business when they see a Gmail, Yahoo, Aol or Bellsouth address on your business card. The most common perceptions are…
    • This business must be brand new.
    • This business must be really small.
    • This person isn't very tech savvy. 
    • This person isn’t detail oriented. 
  •  It’s difficult to create additional addresses. - Your company is growing, and you’ve added an office manager or a new sales rep. Now what? Are you going to create an email address like OfficeMgrCompanyName@gmail.com? Your addresses will become more complex and increasingly difficult to remember as you hire employees. 

5 Reasons to Brand Your Email

  1. It’s professional. - An email address is one small piece of your marketing puzzle. Branded email feels credible. It also reinforces your brand and creates consistency among your marketing materials.  
  2. It’s convenient. - Many business owners enjoy the convenience of Gmail and don't want to give that up in order to have a branded email address. You can avoid complicated GoDaddy inboxes and obscure webmail servers with Google Business Apps. Once the setup is complete, you can access your @companyname inbox via Gmail on your smart phone, tablet or desktop computer. This solution has worked really well for the Rooted ID team, and we highly recommend it to our clients. 
  3. It’s affordable. - There’s no need to purchase email addresses through your domain provider. If you route your email through Google Business Apps, it only costs $5 per user per month. And at that price, you also have access to other great tools like shared contacts and calendars.
  4. It’s easy to setup. - If you are relatively computer savvy, visit Apps.Google.Com to get started. Prefer to let someone else handle the initial setup? Rooted ID is equipped to manage that process for any client utilizing our web design services. Schedule a complimentary call to learn more. 
Instagram Following in Facebook Footsteps

Instagram is moving to an algorithm based news feed. They made the announcement last week in a blog post entitled “See the Moments You Care about First,” and we quickly got wind of the change when the internet exploded with reaction. 

105.5 The Bridge listeners who caught last week’s Web Wednesday by Ashley T. Caldwell of The Modern Connection are already in the know. I encourage you to hop on over to her website to get the details if you missed her live.

Like Ashley, we can’t help but be a little disheartened about the news. Up until now, Instagram has been an un-adultered platform for promotion. Use the right hashtags, fine-tune your timing, gain followers and users will see your content. A lot of that is about to change. 

Instagram is owned by Facebook, and like Facebook it is quickly becoming a pay-to-play platform. Essentially algorithms limit your organic reach (i.e. your followers are only see a small portion of what you post). We would prefer to see Instagram stay algorithm-free, but all is not lost. Instagram will continue to be an extremely affordable advertising platform. Most Rooted ID clients that maintain a Facebook and Instagram presence run ads on both platforms in order to reach a larger audience.   

A savvy social media strategy starts with a clear understanding of your target customer(s) and what differentiates you from the competition. Need help laying a strong foundation for your branding and marketing efforts? Email Kendall@RootedID.com to schedule your complimentary call. 

Marketing with Purpose

General Mills Canada made a bold marketing move earlier this week. Beloved cereal icon Buzz the Bee has temporarily been removed from all boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios (in Canada) in an effort to shed some light on diminishing bee populations. It’s all part of their #BringBackTheBees campaign… General Mills has teamed up with Veseys Seeds to give out wildflower seeds. The goal is to plant one flower for every Canadian citizen, which will (hopefully, over time) promote a bumper crop of bees. Bees are vital to the agriculture industry (all food production, not just honey), so the issue (and this campaign) is drawing quite a bit of attention. #BringBackTheBees is informative, good for the environment, good for the global economy and pure marketing genius! What’s not to love?

Purpose-based marketing (commonly referred to as cause marketing) is gaining popularity among national brands attempting to reach millennials (a group that tends to gravitate toward socially conscious causes). But small businesses can be a force for good too! And millennials aren't the only ones seeking to conduct business "purposefully." We love cause marketing  for a few reasons: 

  1. It's Relevant - Your brand can participate in timely conversations about newsworthy topics that your customers care about.
  2. It's Engaging - Cause marketing gives you an opportunity to connect with other brands. Through collaboration you can reach a new or larger audience. 
  3. It's Credible - Traditional advertising and promotional strategies feel like a sales pitch, and no one really likes being sold to. Cause marketing feels more sincere, especially if your cause is directly related to your brand and target customer. 
  4. It's Fulfilling - Your business can and should give you a sense of purpose, but creating positive change in the world can make that feeling all the more fulfilling.

Bee the Change You wish to See

Like General Mills, we all have the power to be the change we wish to see. Need help creating or executing your purpose-based campaign? Entrepreneur.com  has some great tips, and our team would love to get involved. Email Kendall@RootedID.com to schedule a complimentary consultation. 

Learn More about Local Bees & Honey Production

Diminishing bee populations aren’t just affecting Canada; the problem is pandemic. South Carolina's honey production and commercial beekeeping industry has suffered as a result. Read more about the impact of diminishing bee populations on agriculture here, and click below to learn more about local honey production and bee initiatives...

Photo from thebeecause.org

Photo from thebeecause.org

Know of another local bee initiative that deserves some attention? Comment below or email Kendall@RootedID.com to be added to the list.