Skye Media Group http://www.skyemediagroup.com Brand Strategy + Styling + Marketing Wed, 13 Dec 2017 21:11:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 5 Reaons Why Skye Soiree Isn’t Like Other Networking Events http://www.skyemediagroup.com/5-reaons-why-skye-soiree-isnt-like-other-networking-events/ Tue, 07 Feb 2017 14:15:16 +0000 http://www.skyemediagroup.com/?p=9459 Read More ]]> Creativity is connecting things, so as a creative, it’s my mission to connect brands with people. This is our growing vision with Skye Media Group. After having worked with dozens of small businesses across the nation, helping them to grow their brands, we’ve become enthralled with the notion of helping people make authentic connections with the people who are interested in them. Networking has been the way for us to connect our brand with other professionals. Networking is more than handing out your business card and making promises you have no intention of keeping, but it’s a real opportunity to connect and build with like-minded people who have the same interests as you, namely growing their network.

Networking has always been a part of our business model – whether it’s a social event, professional panel discussion or product showcase, networking has helped us grow SMG. Because we’ve been to a variety of networking events, we have first-hand experience and insight into what makes an event successful and what doesn’t. All from our POV, of course.

When we initiated Skye Soiree, our May 20 networking event, we set out to create a fresh experience to capitalize on features that make an event successful while minimizing those that don’t. A little BTS (behind the scenes): As a group, we debrief after every networking event to discuss our experience and opinions as well as brainstorm and envision how a SMG-planned event would be. After years of networking, there seemed to be common threads among networking events that we’ve attended. With Skye Soiree, we wanted to do the opposite for our night-time cocktail mixer to ensure our guests received a high-quality and lively experience.

Read on to discover 5 Reasons Why Skye Soiree Isn’t Like Other Networking Events:

1. We’re a down-to-earth bunch who you’ll actually get to meet and talk to

A lot of effort goes into planning an event. On the opposite end, a lot of effort goes into attending an event, such as coordinating wardrobe, transportation & parking, finding a babysitter (if you have small children), time + energy that you can’t get back. Therefore, it’s disheartening and disappointing when, after you’ve carefully prepared and planned, you attend an event and don’t meet the event organizers. You might not even know who they are. Despite the reason why this happens, it’s vital for you to feel that your attendance is appreciated and desired especially by the hosts and party planners.

Our goal with Skye Soiree is to connect with and get to know our guests on a personal level. We’ll have a host, event designer, and volunteers on hand to manage the night, so we can free up our time to mingle with as many guests as we can within the 5-hour time span. No pretentiousness here.

2. Truly promoting unity and diversity

Our interests are just as diverse as the clients we attract. So, we enjoy events that appeal to some, if not all, of our interests. Whether it’s a fashion show, business brunch, or all-woman tradeshow, we enjoy events that promote community and cater to people from different backgrounds. It’s kind of hard to promote unity and diversity if you only speak to who you came with. Whomp!

Our aim is to encourage you to meet new people at Skye Soiree, perhaps someone you’d never normally get to meet or talk to, so we’re arranging aspects of the night for you to network with intention. We’re structuring the night to empower you so you can spark up conversation and make a new friend, or two.

3. Guests will be a part of the event and feel like their experience and enjoyment matters

Have you ever been to a murder mystery? No? We haven’t either, but the premise is like the comedy-mystery movie, Clue, where a group of people come together for dinner at a mysterious mansion. Presumably, they have nothing n common, but everyone is there for a common reason: to find out who’s blackmailing them, realizing they’re connected by six degrees of separation. Once guests start to die, the group investigates clues and heavily interacts to see who dun it. The guests become a part of the storyline, not just having the storyline unfold around them. They were active participants in shaping how the story unfolded.

The whole thought is to get people to interact with one another for a common cause. With Clue, the group worked together to uncover the criminal. At Skye Soiree, guests will interact with each other through the experience of promoting their brand and showcasing who they are. Our hope is that you’ll feel celebrated and promoted as well.

4. Be in an environment where positivity and making new connections is encouraged

Not to say that professional networking events overall aren’t positive and built on encouraging new connects, but…sometimes they’re not. During Skye Soiree and at SMG, in general, we don’t ascribe to that line of thinking, so we’re looking forward to cultivating an encouraging and positive night.

5. Build your brand and business among like-minded professionals
This is what networking is all about. ‘Nuff said.

Question to You: What do you look for in networking events? Post below or share on the Facebook event page. We look forward to seeing you at Skye Soiree on May 20!

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Caviar Tastes on a Sardine Budget http://www.skyemediagroup.com/caviar-tastes-on-a-sardine-budget/ Mon, 12 Dec 2016 12:49:42 +0000 http://www.skyemediagroup.com/?p=9237 Read More ]]> “Caviar tastes on a sardine budget.”

This single thought comes across most of our minds when we desire something that is seemingly out of our budget. If you’re like me, when you want something you want it. There’s no substitute nor will you settle for this. For instance, I want the “Boss Lady” shoes from Sophia Webster…but the way my bank account is set up…

When making big purchases for your business, this ideal comes into play time and time again. For SMG, our big purchases range from new technology, software, business courses, big ticket networking events, and Skye Soiree, our 7th Year in Business Celebration happening in May 2017.

Your website is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your business, and good design isn’t cheap. Your website is the hub of your online business activities and entrepreneurial endeavors, so it’s an investment you must make. Understood? But, we know the price tag on your vision may be too high for you at the moment. You want the skye (pun intended), but right now you can only afford a shooting star. We believe in “ethical pricing”, that is, while empowering our clients to grow their businesses, we don’t want them to suffer financially. Therefore, we have payment plans and flexible pricing. This post isn’t a post about finances nor is it one about budgeting. If you need help with that area, I suggest visiting Dominique Broadway or My Fab Finance

We want to help you if you feel overwhelmed by your dreams, but underwhelmed by your budget so continue reading to learn 4 areas to consider when you’re budgeting for your website:

1) Consider your budget.

It’s a no-brainer to count the cost of doing business, but the idea here is to focus on YOUR money, not other peoples. When you focus on O.P.P. (other peoples’ pockets), you make purchases based on what other people have – not on what you realistically have. As you count the costs to hire a web designer, ask yourself:

  • What’s your advertising budget for your business this year?
  • What’s your maximum budget for your website?
  • Have you set enough money aside for your website?
  • Will you need a payment plan to afford your website?
  • Have you budgeted for monthly or yearly website maintenance?
  • Do you need to acquire additional tools or updates for my website, such as annual hosting?
  • Have you budgeted for any upgrades or edits to your website content?

2) Consider the timing.

Another consideration when estimating the cost of your website is timing. Time is money so you have to plot the timeline and schedule in order to gather your monies, effectively budget, and apply resources when/where/how they can best be spent.

Web design happens over the course of a few weeks or months. To afford your website based on timing, think about the following:

  • What’s going on in your business where you now need a website or redesign?
  • Is now the right time for a website? Or, can you wait until you’re more prepared financially?
  • Are you ready for a website or redesign? (remember, time is money)
  • What’s your project deadline?
  • When will you have your deposit? Balance?
  • Is your schedule open for working with a designer? (Remember, time is money).

3) Consider your marketing goals.

So, you’ve decided that you want a website or even a redesign. Excellent! Now, you should make sure that your investment is making you money. Having a pretty/modern/professional/sophisticated, etc. design doesn’t always translate to paying customers. In order to make money from your website investment, you must market it.

Your website is a hub for your business, social, sales, and marketing activities. While having this online super store for your business is the end game, there are a few questions to consider when it comes to how you’ll market and promote your business:

  • How are you going to get the word out about your new website?
  • What’s your marketing budget?
  • What marketing efforts can you make now vs. what you can do later?
  • Have you identified brand partners? What’s the cost of their services? (As mentioned, it’s great that you have this amazing website, but people won’t automatically come to your website. You have to get them there.)

4) Consider your vision.

We all have dreams of success and, hopefully, a plan on how to get there. Our vision includes transforming our clients’ business goals and vision into an unforgettable and profitable brand that speaks for itself. In order to attract these types of clients, we have to invest in the business by attending networking events, taking courses, buying software, setting up systems, etc. This is the cost running SMG smoothly and effectively.

Your vision is different than ours, but you still need to invest in it, and your vision should include a professional and thriving website. If you’re hairstylist, you want your clients to book online from your website. Or, if you’re a caterer, you want your customers to order online. Whatever your business, your website should look and operate the way you want it in a way that attracts your ideal market. There’s a price tag when designing a functional website with your vision in mind. Some website features are free, most are not so when thinking on how your website will push you closer to your vision, think about:

  • What features do you need on your website now vs. those that can wait until later?
  • What features do you want on your website?
  • What features do you need on your website? (Separate your desires from your necessities. Necessities include items that’ll help your audience interact with your website in an easy and professional way, helping you make a sale.)
  • Do you want a contact management system integrated into your website?
  • Does your vision include an online store or payment processing component?
  • Are there any special design elements that require additional web development? For example, does your vision include web animation? Of course, you may not know the terminology or mechanics of your website requiring advanced programming and code, so your web designer should be able to help you understand terms and functionality.

Using these questions as a guide, will help you be more prepared to budget for your website. A website is an investment in your business that pays off. I understand you might not have the money right now to hire a designer to create your website, and that’s OK. Making an investment that’s as important as your website takes planning. Only you know what you can handle financially. If you plan your budget and stick to it, you can afford your website without selling an arm & a leg.

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7 Quick Lessons Learned from Hustle http://www.skyemediagroup.com/7-quick-lessons-learned-from-hustle/ Fri, 23 Sep 2016 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.skyemediagroup.com/?p=9109 Read More ]]> A few months ago I decided to try to redeem my sanity and get a sense of zen and accomplishment by…reading. I know reading is essential to the growth of a business, but honestly, I don’t have time to read – from branding your businesses to spending time with my loved ones to eating + sleeping, I just don’t have enough time. I’m a serial reader: I hop & skip around in reading books until one of them is finally done. Needless to say, they’re never done…so I tasked myself to share what I’ve learned in my reading in the hopes of encouraging and motivating you to grow your business, live your vision and pursue your passions.

I read the book “Hustle” by Jesse Tevelow while in the midst of the SMG rebrand in April. I was sitting on the relaunch for some time, waiting for this and that, but generally not accomplishing anything because 1) I’m an absolute perfectionist and 2) I was busy building your brands. Being a perfectionist, I confess, I don’t like anything that’s half-cheeked. When it comes to designing for SMG, I agonize over every little detail so much so that I wasn’t creating anything. (It’s crazy that I can design websites & brands quicker and easier for SMG clients). So, the website was stagnant for some time and I loathed it. On a random day when I was fed up with my perfectionist ways, I read Hustle in one sitting and the book snapped me out of my downward perfection spiral.

Here’s the kick:

Tevelow wrote Hustle, a 167 page book, in just 7 days and even documented his process for creating it! I wanted to do something similar with rebrand and redesigning the SMG website. I had the obvious hang-ups before starting though: Will I finish it in time? Will it be of quality? Will it convey the SMG message? (At that time, I was sitting on a deep and brilliant marketing strategy from Easton Strategy Group but was unsure how to take action)…and so on…However, overthinking and questioning my abilities was closing my mind and creativity again sinking me, again, into the perfection trap.

So, I challenged myself to follow the Hustle methodology: Launch the new Skye Media Group website in 7 days! On top of that, I wanted to go through the same process SMG clients do when they hire us. And, to further hold myself accountable, I announced the challenge on Facebook and Instagram. I figured if I announce it in a public way I’ll be more prone to just do it because the world is watching.

Here are the 7 Quick Lessons I Learned from Hustle:

1) Strive for excellence, not perfection.
As long as you do your best and work with what you’ve got, you’ll win. Perfection isn’t possible so stop procrastinating and push through.

2) When you do what you love, creativity flows.
I realized I was overthinking every detail of the relaunch to the point where I forgot THIS IS WHAT I DO FOR A LIVING (yelling at myself, not you, dear friend). Because I was overthinking I wasn’t getting anywhere. Case & point:

giphy

3) There’s nothing new under the sun. It’s just my spin that makes it unique so designing from my heart and mind gets the best results.
The Book of Proverbs already told me: “there’s nothing new on the sun” so while I’m waiting to strike creative genius status I discovered through Hustle that my real competition was myself. I was trying to recreate the wheel, but instead of doing that, I did this.

ig-reinvent

4) Never be complacent. Push the boundaries and if you’re squirming in your seat, keep moving.
Growth is uncomfortable. Just ask a pregnant woman, but in order to birth something beautiful, like that soon-to-be mother, you have to keep pressing forward until you reach the end goal.

5) Authenticity is uncomfortable.
People love when you succeed but they want to know how you got there. In business, being transparent – even during the tough & ugly stages of developing your brand – is uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. Authenticity aligns and emotionally connects you with the people that need that “zsa zsa zsu” that only you have.

6) If they rock with me, they rock with me no matter what. The people who get me will understand any and every thing I put out. And even if they don’t understand it, they think it’s fab anyway.
Instead of being overtaken by the comparison monster, I needed to focus on the SMG brand and message no matter how unconventional it might be regardless of some didn’t exactly get it. We’re more concerned about serving our core audience. We realize SMG is not for everyone…and that is OK.

7) Don’t wait on anyone to launch. Be creative with your resources.
We were waiting on a few collabs to come through so we could make the SMG relaunch even better. While waiting on approval for those collabs, the website rebrand stalled, yet after reading Hustle, we decided to move forward with it anyway. Instead of waiting for someone or something before launching your brand or business, get creative with the resources and knowledge you already have. Or, like we did, plan for those assets to be joined with your brand. The point is to keep moving forward.

Sooo…
Was the SMG website complete in 7 days? Absolutely! Check the receipts.

fb-launch-post

Question to You: Now that you’ve been here for a while, what do you think of the new space?

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Why We Refined Our Brand + Website http://www.skyemediagroup.com/why-we-refined-our-brand-website/ Fri, 01 Jul 2016 12:30:37 +0000 http://www.skyemediagroup.com/?p=9094 Read More ]]> The short story: We felt like it.

The long story:

Like most business owners, we jumped in and started our business with only a prayer, vision and limited capital. For the first few years in business, we were wingin’ it. I’m a self-taught designer so SMG began with only a desire to help small business owners through design. Consequently, we gave no thought to the business side of running a design business. I learned from Photoshop tutorials when I wanted to make fantastic graphics. I brought books on CSS, HTML and Flash and attempted to use Dreamweaver to create client websites. That failed miserably. Dreamweaver was too cumbersome so we moved onto WYSIWYG web platforms such as Jimdo and Wix – outgrew them both and moved on to WordPress, our current website platform of choice.

Throughout this trial & error phase, we gave no attention to HOW to run a business so marketing wasn’t even on our radar. How naive we were! Fast forward a few years, after taking B-School, we realized that marketing was the missing component to our business model. In 2016, we experienced a major business shift: working with Kellie Easton of Easton Strategy Group to create an in-depth, revealing and authentic marketing strategy that hit to the core of just what Skye Media Group is. From that two hour long boss sitdown, Kellie helped us uncover many things about our business. We quickly realized that our previous website was not accurately displaying our brand identity; therefore we were doing an injustice to our esteemed clients. As a result, we flipped our website inside out and gutted it.

We were nervous about presenting a more authentic website and brand identity because during the session with ESG we realized that the bulk of what we do is intangible. Yes, we manifest brand and website perfection through brilliant and engaging designs, but we hadn’t articulated the HOW: how we were able to manifest brand perfection, what makes us absolutely different from our contemporaries, how we help emerging (and existing) visionary businesses succeed and how we transform raw ideas + vision into authentic and marketable brands.

So, after reading a book, we challenged ourselves to complete our website redesign in a WEEK after sitting on it for months. Truthfully, we were hesitant to use our buzz words, pitch, pop words, positioning statement, etc. in our website content. We thought people, importantly our clients, wouldn’t get it. The refined intentional brand design was too abstract.

Who opens their website with an image of woman’s lips breathing out air anyway…? Well, we do.

Part of the marketing strategy with ESG was this idea of SMG breathing life into the unknown, getting below the surface of our client’s wants and elevating their potential through design. Hence, to us, the “breathing lips” symbolized us breathing life into our clients’ visions. Besides that striking home page image, we wanted the rest of the website to feature design elements and graphic language that at times spoke to the abstract-ness of what we do, yet be provocative and evoke emotion while combining the things we like. Sure enough, that’s a mouth/mind full, but over the past few years, we’ve helped:

  • an at-home baking mom become a celebrity couture confectionist
  • a local socialite become a staple at New York Fashion Week
  • a reality TV star capitalize on her popularity becoming a brand ambassador for nationally recognized companies
  • a natural hairstylist go from a 9 to 5 to a business that thrives
  • …and so on…

By coming from a place of love, digging deep into our clients’ vision + mission, extracting their potential and personifying their passion through design, we’ve been able to help them operate from a position of influx and success.

This is the HOW: We’re good listeners. And, we knew our previous website wasn’t fulfilling our vision, revealing our collective personalities/interests, showcasing our range of thought & creativity, or connecting with our target market. Yes, we had clients, but we wanted to make a more cerebral and evocative connection with you – our current and potential clients to let you know that we got you…whatever your big world mission, vision or raw idea is we can breathe life into it.

Question for You: How do you like our new website and direction? (If you’re a lurker lurking or a hater hating, this blog is no place for you).

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Logo, Identity & Brand Demystified http://www.skyemediagroup.com/logo-identity-brand-demystified/ Wed, 22 Jun 2016 12:00:40 +0000 http://www.skyemediagroup.com/?p=9077 Read more >>]]> No other word has been overused and so misunderstood as the word: “brand”. I hesitated to define this term, but through conversations with our clients we noticed clarity was needed. Providence intervened and after coming across a blog post one of our favorite creatives, we knew this post was necessary. It’s a challenge to know you need something but not understand what it is and why you need it. So, we want to help you distinguish what’s a brand, identity and logo and the role of each in growing your business.

Your logo is not your brand. Your website is not your brand. Your logo, brand and identity play different roles in the perception of your business, but singularly, they’re not your brand. So, let’s clarify this:

demystified-0

What’s a brand? The perception of your business within the market
What’s an identity? The visuals that form the brand as a whole
What’s a logo? A symbol that represents a business, its services and/or products

Let’s delve a little deeper.

WHAT’S A BRAND?

Branding is a hot topic and many books have been devoted to explaining what it is, how to use it, who needs it, why you need it and so on. Simply put, a brand is the public’s perception of your business. If you’re offering services, products or a combination of both, you already have a brand because your customers have already defined in their mind the mood and personality of your business – whether it matches your vision or goals.

Your brand isn’t just about visuals. Your brand is more than pretty colors, cool code or trendy fonts, but it’s everything your business does or produces – from its messaging and quality customer service to product packaging and social media. Your brand is alive so it consistently has to be nurtured. Your brand should reflect your values, goals, vision and philosophy and connect with your target audience. Because customers buy from people and into ideals – not businesses or products – it’s important that you create an intentional brand so you can shape your customer’s perception of your business. Remember, your brand is the perceived emotional connection between your customers and business. So, if you shape the perception of your customers through vision-oriented and intentional brand development, you’ll be in a better position to connect with your target audience and motivate them to buy.

WHAT’S AN IDENTITY?

Your brand identity visually distinguishes your business from similar businesses. An identity consists of the visual components of your brand that are created within a set of guidelines that govern consistent use of color, typefaces, icons, photography style, font size, etc. Together, these elements make your brand identity recognizable and distinct.

The brand identity is comprised of many brand assets such business card, packaging, logo, signage, messaging…basically any visual that represents the brand and business. Collectively, these assets should reinforce the message and vision of the business. Notice, the logo is a component of the brand identity, but it’s not the brand.

WHAT’S A LOGO?

A logo is the visual representation of your business, an identifiable mark that “identifies” your business. Logo designs should be created after assessing the values and message of your business, which is why a logo shouldn’t be created without a thorough discussion about your business + its goals. It’s ineffective to create a logo based on “what you like” or to pattern your logo after someone else’s because what your logo represents is more important than what it looks like. Logo design has deeper meaning than it being “cute” or trendy and is based on your core values and messaging.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

When you’re intentional about what type of energy you put into your business, it’s important to know the difference between a logo, brand and identity. This will help you effectively create designs and market them in a way that will grow your business. Honing in on these elements will also help you create specific marketing pieces that will attract your audience. Each of these pieces work together to form the foundation of your business.

Question to You: Has this cleared up anything for you? How will you use this info to grow your brand?

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