Media Kits

In the previous post, we talked about the benefits of having good quality letterhead and notecards in your marketing toolbox. Even if your business can’t afford high-end, professionally printed pieces, as long as the paper is decent and everything looks like your brand, it’s better to at least have something!
This month, it’s all about Media Kits.
What is it?
A Media Kit is a grouping of materials inside a folder, envelope or container that will tell a potential customer or member of the news media all about your company. A typical Media Kit usually contains the following:
- an “About” piece that gives some information on the company, like how long it’s been in operation, who the key players are, what the company does, etc.
- a “Process” piece that explains how your company works should a customer decide to do business with you. A design firm might create a flowchart or break down the design process into steps so it makes sense to a layperson. It would outline where and when the initial meeting would happen, how payment takes place, when revisions are submitted, when the cabinets and appliances are installed, and etc.
- a “Testimonials” piece with praise and comments from past clients. This is very important, as consumers are far more likely to make a decision on a purchase based on the opinions and feedback of fellow buyers.
- a “Gallery” piece displaying examples of your work; for business owners in creatively-driven fields like the arts or design, potential customers want to see photos of products and projects! Pictures of a finished kitchen, examples of colorful tile or photos of tile as part of a finished space are far more appealing than just blocks of text.
- a “Press Release” that talks about something new with your business. People (especially the media) are always looking for a newsworthy story or angle to write about. Even if your press release isn’t picked up by the media, it’s good to have in a Media Kit because it’s a great vehicle to announce something new and exciting to potential customers.
Media Kits are also known as....
In marketing-speak, Media Kits are also referred to as Press Kits, Informational Packets, or something similar. They have many names, but serve the same purpose.
Why is it important?
Media Kits are great to have on-hand if you’re out on sales calls, meeting with a potential client, exhibiting at a trade show or to actually send to the news media to let them know who you are. The above contents we listed don’t necessarily have to be in your Media Kit, but most or all probably should be in some form.
Since we preach brand identity and consistency, we recommend simply printing Media Kit pieces on letterhead if that’s what your budget allows for. The most important thing is that you’re consistent. Keep using your logo, brand colors and fonts over and over and over.
If you don’t have the time or budget to get fancy, elaborate containers for your media kit pieces, a simple folder or large envelope will do the trick! If you have a rubber stamp with your logo or some simple stickers made up, you can easily make plain folders your own.
Lastly, be sure it’s easy to contact you. Ideally, every piece in the Media Kit should have your address, phone number, e-mail address and website address (if applicable) listed, so if the pieces get separated someone can still get a hold of you without too much effort. Don’t forget to include a business card!
© 2010 Trebuchet Communications


Industry vs. Non-industry Alliances

Networking is essential to the success of a small business. As an entrepreneur, you wear many hats: one for production, one for sales, one for customer relations, one for vendor relations, one for accounting and probably one for marketing as well. For some business owners, networking and talking about their business comes naturally. Some people are natural-born communicators and can strike up a conversation with someone next to them in line at the coffee shop without thinking twice. If the topic turns to business, they welcome the opportunity to share their story. Others shy away from networking functions and find it difficult to talk about themselves and their business. Some are afraid of coming across like a salesman and some are just too modest to give themselves credit where it’s due! No matter where you fit on the continuum, networking is critical to your survival.

Industry alliances are those with whom you meet weekly or monthly (or periodically) to discuss industry-related topics. Interior designers have associations like the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and handmade tile artists have organizations like the Handmade Tile Association. Being part of groups like these gives you access to education, events, and other resources to help your business grow. While you probably won’t get much business from your participation in industry-related groups, they will help you get your name on the map and will keep you in the loop.

Non-industry alliances are groups in which you are one of the few businesses in your industry. Your college alumni association, the Better Business Bureau or your city’s Chamber of Commerce are good examples. These groups are important because they provide a viable pool of potential customers. Say you’re a tile artist and you attend a networking event put on by the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce. You might meet a lawyer, an accountant, a real estate agent and a landscape designer. Think of how each of these people could use your services.

Maybe the lawyer tells you how she just bought a new home and is looking to re-do the kitchen. Here’s your opportunity to share a story about the tile work you do and how you just sold your work to a friend who was re-doing her kitchen as well! Then let’s pretend the real estate agent is telling you about a home she’s listing on Lake of the Isles. Let’s also pretend that you have an installation piece in a home nearby that you tell her about. Perhaps your specific type of work fits in nicely with the types of homes on Lake of the Isles.

Whatever the case may be, the goal is to find common ground with whomever you end up talking to and gradually bring the conversation back around to your business. Look at each situation and ask yourself how your services can help that person. If you feel comfortable making the “hard sell” then go for it, but if you don’t, just try and find something in common and go from there until you get more comfortable.

Importance of Variety

If you only participate in industry-related groups, you probably won’t get much new business. Think outside your comfort zone and try to join groups where you will be the only one of your “kind”. Then you have the opportunity to become the “expert” in your field and can reach out to many more potential customers. If you don’t feel comfortable attending functions on your own, recruit a friend to be your “sidekick” to talk you up. Just make sure they stay focused on the task at hand: to meet new people and talk about your business!


Most networking groups have a fee to attend or join so they can cover their own costs of putting on the events or meetings. Depending on your budget and type of group you join, these fees range from reasonable to extreme, so be sure you choose wisely. Many groups allow you to attend one time free, so take advantage! Scope out the scene and see if it feels like a good fit before putting any money down. Ask your friends if they are part of any organizations and if they could bring you once at no charge.

If you decide to join a group and are disappointed that you don’t find any solid leads after one meeting, keep at it! Make small goals for yourself, like handing out at least 5 business cards at each event. (Of course you already know that you should have plenty of cards with you at all times, right?) You never know where new opportunities might arise.

That said, if you try a non-industry networking group for six months to a year and have not seen your efforts bear any fruit, it may be time to try a different group, especially if you’re spending money to be a member. There are countless opportunities and groups that exist out there. If you’re not sure where to start, ask friends if they’re members of any good groups or simply google something like “entrepreneur networking group Minneapolis” on the Internet and go from there.

© 2010 Trebuchet Communications

The World Wide Web

The Web. It’s everywhere. It’s where people of all ages and backgrounds gather information. If your business doesn’t have a web presence in some capacity, it’s almost as if it doesn’t exist! Internet marketing tools are a great way to reach a wider audience (it is worldwide, after all) in ways that traditional marketing methods can’t compete with. We’re going to discuss a few of them here!

Websites vs. Splash Pages

A website is a way to legitimize your business. It’s expected that even the smallest of companies at least have a simple website containing basic information. It tells people how to reach you, what your business does, and might even have photos of your work or testimonials from satisfied customers. Even a basic website will have 3-5 “buttons” or “tabs” for the separate pages. The purpose of a website is to tell potential customers what you do. It should function as a brochure of sorts, and should let people know how to get a hold of you if they have additional questions.

A splash page is a single landing page on the web. It can have hyperlinks to other websites, but doesn’t have any buttons or tabs leading to additional pages. It’s a static entity. These are great for small companies that can’t afford to do a full website, but still want to have a web address and a small amount of information visible. There’s room on a splash page for 3-4 photos, contact information, and a brief blurb or two about your company. It’s better to start small than have nothing at all!

Example Splash Page:

Example Website:


While it may seem that everyone and their uncle has a blog these days, there are actually far more readers than writers. This is an opportunity! When we suggest blogging to our marketing clients, they tend to dismiss the idea, saying they couldn’t possibly have anything interesting to say. We disagree. Writing a blog is a chance to become the “expert” on any subject matter that’s important to you... like your business! It’s free to start a blog, and you can update it as often as you choose. Once a month is usually do-able for most people. If you’re a kitchen designer, blog about interesting articles you’ve read, new color trends, tips for being eco-friendly, and things like that. While a blog indirectly promotes your business, you shouldn’t use it as a platform to sell your products or services. A blog is a way to share information, and in doing so, you build trust with your readers and they start viewing you as a resource and as an expert.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool offered by Google to help you track traffic to your website. It’s fairly simple to install, but you need some prior computer programming knowledge to do so. Once it’s set up, the tool will generate monthly reports directly to your Inbox with information on how many people visited your website, how much time they spent on each page, what kinds of words they used to find you on a search engine, and where geographically the visitors live.

For example, if a kitchen designer’s report told her that 90% of her website visitors last month came from the northern suburbs, that tells her that current advertising efforts in those cities are working or that she needs to probably start targeting those areas. If her report also told her that people were spending 5 minutes on her “Project Gallery” and only 20 seconds on her “Services” page, she might want to think about incorporating some of the Services information into her Project Gallery to ensure people are seeing the services she offers. With the monthly reports, you can look at your marketing efforts and evaluate as you go. If you or someone you know can install the Analytics tool, it’s well worth it!

Social Media

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are all on the forefront of marketing efforts for companies big to small these days. Wikipedia defines social media as a “shift in how people discover and share news, information and content.” Is it a passing fad or something just for tech-savvy 20-somethings? No and no! Marketing messages used to be disseminated via one-way communication that would maybe reach the target audience: direct mail, TV commercials, magazine and newspaper ads. With social media, information is shared among many, and is more of a dialogue than a monologue.

How do you know which of the thousands of social media platforms to use?

Look at each social medium and adjust your material accordingly. The largest group of people on Facebook is women between the ages of 35-54. The largest population using Twitter is women ages 18-34. These are two very different groups of people in terms of how they think and how they buy. Using the same message across the board would be a mistake!

How can social media help my business?

Social media increases your reach. These platforms allow people to interact with you in a way that’s easier for them. Increasingly, people are basing their business decisions on social conversations. Your actions and presence on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and other platforms speak to your integrity, good or bad. Potential customers of all ages and income levels will do their research before doing business with a company, so what does your presence online say about yours? Facebook has 100,000,000 unique visitors to its website each month. Given that it’s a free tool to use, why not take advantage of that opportunity?

© 2010 Trebuchet Communications

Notecards and Letterhead

In last month’s column, we discussed brand identities and logos and why they’re so important. To make it simple, let’s think of a brand identity as a “toolbox” and things like a logo and business card as “tools” in that toolbox. This month, we’re adding to that toolbox by learning how simple things like notecards and letterhead can add some muscle to your brand identity.

Why are these important things to have?

As a business owner, you should at the very least have letterhead that is consistent with your branding. By consistent, we mean using your logo, brand colors and any shapes, fonts or other elements associated with the logo. Letterhead can be used for customer correspondence, invoicing and any other kind of “official” business you conduct. It’s professional. It’s a must.

Notecards are great to have on hand for those times when you need to send something with a personal touch. They can function as a thank you card, a “hi, how are you?” card, a gift card, you name it! They’re multi-purpose. And again, they need to be consistent with your branding.

My business is on a serious budget. How can I afford these pieces?

With a little creativity, you can stretch any budget! If you can’t have a notecard and letterhead printed at a high-end printer, you still have plenty of options. See below!

QUICK SIDEBAR: When looking at a printed piece, if the colored ink runs all the way to the edge of the paper, it’s called a “bleed.” Pieces with bled edges are more costly to print and have to be done at a print shop.

  • Have a graphic designer create letterhead for you as a Microsoft Word Document without bleeds. You can print copies on your own printer (if the quality is acceptable) or at a copy shop. Buy some nice paper (we love the unusual sheen of 32 lb. paper) and you’re set!
  • Have a custom rubber stamp or a few hundred stickers made of your logo. Buy some blank notecards and envelopes at a stationery store and affix a sticker or stamp to the front center of the notecard. Voila! Instant branding.
  • If stickers or a stamp aren’t quite in the budget, buy blank notecards and envelopes in a color that matches your brand. Stationery stores carry almost every color of the rainbow. You just have to ask!

Remember what we learned last month about frequency? It’s up to you to be your own “brand police.” Every piece you have that bears your logo should be consistent. Same logo, same colors, same fonts, same elements. Always. The purpose of consistency is to help people begin to recognize your brand and your product or service. Don’t make it any harder for them! Using pieces like letterhead and notecards will not only make your business look more professional, but it’s one more way to get your branding out there and keep it out there!

© 2010 Trebuchet Communications

Brand Identity and Logos

What comes to mind when you think of Coca Cola? Thanks to Coke’s extensive and ever-present marketing campaigns, you probably think of words like refreshing, ice cold, American, family gatherings and fun to name a few. You probably associate positive feelings with the Coke brand. Thinking about it makes you feel good. A brand or product identity is the sum of the attributes one associates with a brand- and by extension, the branded company, organization, product or service. An effective brand builds a connection between the brand personality as it’s perceived by its audience and the actual product or service.

Coke is a perfect example of a strong brand identity. They count on you calling to mind these positive associations when you’re in the soda aisle at the supermarket. Though Coca Cola’s marketing is constantly evolving, with new commercials and logo updates, their brand identity has remained consistent decade after decade. Every tagline and every jingle and every upbeat commercial you’ve ever seen and ever will see stays true to Coke’s message and brand. They have built a solid brand identity.

A logo is one of the most important components of a brand identity. Three things are important when considering whether or not a logo is “strong”: Color, Shape and Frequency. Haute Kitchens, one of the brand identities created by Trebuchet, serves as an excellent strong example.

Color: The color of a logo is of the utmost importance. Color speaks volumes about your brand and is a very strong element in a brand’s identity. When choosing color(s) for a logo, you must consider people’s associations with those colors and how that will translate to their associations with your brand. Red is powerful and commands attention-some of the most recognizable brands in the world (Coca Cola, Target) use the simple combination of red and white to make you stop and take notice. Green is calming, refreshing and symbolizes growth and wellbeing. It’s often used by companies in the health and wellness industry for this reason. Purple brings to mind wealth, luxury and sophistication. Centuries ago, it was used to denote royalty and thus is still associated with status and majesty. Point being: the color of your logo speaks volumes about your company and products or services. What do you want yours to say? Haute Kitchens wanted to exude elegance with a bit of an Asian feel to reflect the owner’s heritage. Deep, rich browns accented by a pale blue make her marketing materials feel earthy and calming.

Shape: Like color, shape is also an important part of a logo and brand identity. The shape of the font(s) and of other elements in the logo should be consistent with the type of product you sell or the service you provide. A construction company’s logo will likely be very angular and linear with a strong font that brings to mind stability and quality. On the other hand, a women’s spa would probably use a very fluid, serif-style font with embellishments and soft curves to inspire feelings of calm and serenity. The font chosen for Haute Kitchens is reminiscent of the designer’s clean, modern aesthetic. Since Haute doesn’t have a design element as part of their logo, the square pattern as seen on the back of the letterhead becomes their signature “shape.” The angular, square-shaped pattern is repeated wherever possible.

Frequency: Think back to the Coca Cola example discussed in the beginning. The Coke brand has been around for decades. Yet every piece of advertising they create utilizes the exact same script “Coca Cola,” the same color of red and the same themes: happiness, optimism, All-American and togetherness. They tweak their taglines and their jingles, but the core elements of the brand remain the same. That’s how brand identities are built and how they become strong. Business owners mistakenly believe they must constantly change their look to keep their customers interested. Wrong! Every time you communicate with your audience you’re hoping to gain their trust (and their dollar). You want to essentially keep repeating yourself. It’s putting equity in your brand!