The 5-Minute Logo

By: David Ezell

Whether you’re just getting started, or completely rebranding your business, your logo tends to be the very first thing you start with. It’s the symbol of you, of your company, and will (hopefully) be a positive reminder to your customers for years to come. Sounds great, right?

We all know about the iconic brands like Nike, Starbucks, and FedEx, but what makes them so successful? How can you make sure that your brand is setting you up for success just as these have for these companies?

  1. It Has To Be Well-Researched

Before you start sketching and before one pixel hits a computer screen, you’ve got to do some research. Research of your own company and research of your competitors. You’ve got to get to the crux of what your offering is, how you engage with your customers, and how your customers feel about you. Do some market research to see if the two line up. McDonalds really got this part right. When they started, they were a brand that prided themselves on a cheap meal delivered fast. Over time, their market and market demand has changed. With a more health conscious audience and the emergence of such companies like Starbucks, McDonalds noticed that their audience behaviors and expectations were changing, so they adapted.

When brainstorming your brand, listen to your gut. You know who you are. You know what you do better than anyone else. You know if your customers raving about you to all of their friends. Be honest with yourself, and honest with your place in the market, and always, always, always listen to your customer’s needs.

2. Simple Is Usually Better

Ask any designer and they’ll tell you that designing a clean, simple, clear-focused logo is much more difficult that designing one with lots of moving pieces. Take for example the final logo for the note-taking and organization platform, Evernote. The final product seems simple enough, right? It’s just an elephant with a folded ear. Easy peasy. How could that have possibly taken more than 5 minutes? What most people don’t realize, is the scrutiny involved to get to the epicenter of your brand.

 


 

The starting process behind the Evernote brand

Revisions, after revisions, after revisions

 

It took a total of 6 weeks and several rounds of revisions before reaching the final product. Here’s a behind the scenes look at what went into developing the Evernote logo, and everything in between.

 

3. Details, Details

Think about all of the potential applications of your brand. You’ll certainly want it on business cards and company stationary, but what about billboards? Can it translate from a billboard to a postage stamp and not lose any of it’s magic? You don’t have to pour the entire life story of your business into your logo. Your logo is designed to be the bedrock upon which everything else grows. Just like you saw above with Evernote, you’ve got to make sure to give your new logo the vetting time it needs. Do you know what roles color can play in how your brand is perceived?

 

 

 

Did you know that the green color in brands like Whole Foods and Starbucks are meant to give you a feeling of growth, health, and calmness? Or that the red of Coca-Cola and Target is meant to feel youthful, bold, and exciting?

These are all pieces of a whole that will become clearer once you’ve done item #1 on this list. The more you know about your business, how your business is perceived, and your competition, the easier this process will be.

Five minutes to create a grey elephant silhouette with green company lettering? Hardly.

David Ezell
David handles the branding and marketing for The Lanyap Group.
He and his wife are always either trying new restaurants in DFW or taking their goldendoodle Kato for walks on the Katy Trail.


Funny Word, Serious Feeling

By: David Ezell

Picture yourself on stage at the National Spelling Bee. Your palms are sweaty and you’re trying not to lock your knees so that you don’t pass out on national television. The judges are staring at you, ready to press the buzzer if you get your word wrong. You close your eyes, and all you hear is the announcer’s voice… “Your word is Lanyap.” Oh crap. 

Neither my mom nor dad can spell the word. There is always an “i” or “p” either missing or in the wrong place. I can’t blame them. My wife can’t spell it, and neither can my business coach. It’s a tough word. However, once you understand the meaning, the word just sticks with you… regardless of whether or not you can spell it.

Lagniappe is a South Louisiana cajun word that means “a little something extra.” Chances are, if you’re looking at this word and saying it to yourself right now, you’re saying it with a hard “g” sound and a weird “apy” sound at the end. Am I right?

Ok, try this… “lanyap”. That’s right. No “g” sound and no more weird sounds at the end. Now that you know how to say it and spell it, let’s talk about what it means, and why it’s so important to your business success.

But what is Lanyap? It’s that little something extra. It’s a complimentary bowl of crawfish bisque with your meal. It’s an unexpected bouquet of orchids in your hotel room. It’s the third encore after the show.

Growing up in Louisiana, lanyap was everywhere. You’d see it on the sides of boats, and hear it mentioned in conversation. Not only that, but you felt it. When I would stay at a friends house, and their mom would send a wrapped up “to-go plate” of food home with me, that’s lanyap. When my family would go to our favorite local crawfish restaurant and the manager would come out, shake our hands, and know our names, that’s lanyap. These are the moments of warmth, compassion, and a feeling of family, connection and loyalty. Think I’ll go back to that crawfish place? Absolutely. Think my friend’s mother still has a warm place in my heart, even now 20 years later? Absolutely.

Know what the best part is? Lanyap is FREE. That’s right. 100% free. All it takes is approaching every single encounter with another person with this in mind. It means cultivating meaningful relationships that feel like family instead of business. The most powerful way for your business to spread is by positive word-of-mouth referrals… giving your clients that “little something extra” in every encounter. Think they’ll remember you above the other company who did “just enough”? Absolutely.

 

 

David Ezell
David handles the branding and marketing for The Lanyap Group.
He and his wife are always either trying new restaurants in DFW or taking their goldendoodle Kato for walks on the Katy Trail.


Bring Your Business To A Low Boil

By: David Ezell

Oh jambalaya, how you confuse me.

I've seen my dad make jambalaya dozens of times in my life, yet I've never "watched" him make it. To the casual observer, jambalaya is a hodgepodge of ingredients from the refrigerator and usually whatever meat that happens to be lying around. I always assumed he was just throwing in anything he could find that hadn't passed an expiration date. Little did I know, he had an exact recipe...his recipe.

First of all, it HAS to be made in a large cast-iron pot, as this keeps everything from sticking while also allowing the spices to marinate. It HAS to have the "Cajun holy trinity" of ingredients: onions, bell pepper, and celery. These simple ingredients also form the basis from which gumbo and etouffee are originated and are a culinary staple in South Louisiana. Thirdly, since the rice is added in with the ingredients and not after, you have to be precise in how you stir, or you run the risk of ending up with rice mush. Lastly, and most important, you MUST make sure not to rush it. Great jambalaya is made when the ingredients and spices have time to marinate together along with a slow boiling heat.

Starting a business is no different than making a great jambalaya. It looks easy to the casual observer, yet takes precision, the right ingredients, and time to marinate. How many of us rush into a business, only to end up with rice mush?

That's been me numerous times. I've tried and I've failed.

What did I do wrong? I looked at the final product without taking into account the process. I opened the refrigerator door and grabbed ingredients, but they weren't the right ingredients.

When building your business, you have to take the first step, and "watch". Find someone who's honed that perfect jambalaya recipe and pick their brain. Develop the "holy trinity" for your business success and use it as your daily foundation.

Our holy trinity, or the 3 c's, are:

Clear Vision: We get laser focused on what we want, and exactly where we want to be and when. What does our office look like in 5 years? We can tell you. What does our design team look like in 5 years? We can tell you.

Try to remember the days before Google Maps and GPS. The days when you'd load into the car and your parents would unfold that map that would barely leave any room for them to still see the road. They'd plot the destination and start reverse engineering every road that they'd have to take to get there. They knew where they wanted to go, but they had to map out how to get there.

Your business is no different. Grab your map, crank up the music, and hit the road.

Consistency: Consistency doesn't mean when it fits around your schedule. Consistency means shutting off Game of Thrones and putting in the work. Consistency is chopping up the onions, bell pepper and celery each and every time.

Connection: Connection means building genuine relationships. Surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed, and when you have customers, treat them the same way. Life has an uncanny way of bringing that full circle.

After that, you can start to add in your own seasoning. Before you know it, you'll be making your own jambalaya, and you'll notice people watching.

David Ezell
David handles the branding and marketing for The Lanyap Group.
He and his wife are always either trying new restaurants in DFW or taking their goldendoodle Kato for walks on the Katy Trail.