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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The 411 Debut: A Case Study in Branding 101

Just in case you missed it Monday night was the first official network gathering of South Bay event professionals. It is called The 411 and it is the brainchild of Nicole Lisanne Weddings & Events by Design. For many of us south of Palo Alto the shared sentiment is "It's about time!" As much as we love The City we also have a strong community here and feel our market is worthy of it's own organized networking events.

For me the evening hit a very high note because I definitely have branding on the brain. It all began last month when my good friend, Stacie Tamaki, from The Flirty Guide took some time away from her insanely busy schedule to help me re-brand. If you have not seen my new website, please check it out at imcevents.com.

I have learned many things from Stacie but among them is the importance of branding. We went to great lengths to get a specific color of green for my new look. It was an easy color to define by Pantone number but not that easy to print. My first run of 2,000 business cards had to be tossed because the green was just not the right green.

So last week when I did my first showcase of the year with Fanfare I got right into the swing of things with my new green look. Branding at the Stacie Tamaki level means finding green foiled Hershey's Kisses in a multi-colored variety Easter pack and then picking out only the green ones. Even Stacie had to admit that she was impressed with my green-to-the-point-of-envy efforts as you can see from my display.

As crazy as all this may sound it really makes a difference when you are branding your company with a color, graphic, slogan or anything else people will associate with you. At The 411 I had the pleasure of meeting Barbara Boyd who is a non-denominational wedding officiant. Barbara was curious about branding and asking me to share some of my experience on the subject. Our conversation segued into an introduction to someone named "Edith." At the very moment of introduction I flashed on my brief visit to the Bridal Expo on January 31 at the Santa Cruz Cocoanut Grove where I recall noticing a very classy cake exhibit. Three things struck me about this company which was a standout in the midst of a busy wedding show packed with vendors of all kinds.

1. Vivid Periwinkle Blue Color
2. Catch Phrase: "Understated Elegance"
3. The proprietor's first name, Edith

As soon as I was introduced to Edith I asked her if she had a cake company in Santa Cruz. She was blown away by my instant recognition of her exhibit. I was not surprised at all because Edith Meyer is not only a class act but also very skilled at branding. You have my word on it as well as a very real first hand story from The 411. And what better place to experience great branding than the launching of a brand new industry networking event.

My thanks goes out to Edith Meyer for setting such a great example of branding for all of us.

And for the record, I hear that her cakes are just as amazing as her marketing efforts so it is nice to know that Edith also walks the walk.


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