Photo credit: Gayle Wilson
We had another amazing Mashup Lab Lightning Talk with Meg Craig, the genius behind SkySail Brand! Here is a great piece from Gayle Wilson at LighthouseNow that captures some of the key messages from Meg regarding the true value of branding in your business. Click Here to link to the original story. Thanks Gayle!
Andrew Button of Mashup Lab discusses branding with marketing expert Meg Craig at The Hub in Mahone Bay January 14. More than 25 budding entrepreneurs and established business people gathered at The Hub South Shore on January 14 to get some advice on the value and methods of branding from Meg Craig.
Craig, who grew up in a village of about 500 people in Pictou County, went on to work in Toronto and help [design for] marketing campaigns for some of the world's leading companies, including Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Virgin. She has since re-located to Mahone Bay, and set up her own marketing company, SkySail.
Her talk was sponsored by Mashup Lab, a company owned by Andrew Button that assists and nurtures entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.
As with Mashup Lab's other Lightening Talk presentations, the evening had Button sitting and chatting with his guest, while visitors lounged in chairs and sofas listening. Later, the guests were invited to ask questions.
"Anybody can create a logo," said Craig. "But if it doesn't make sense, if all your touch points aren't in sync - and by touch points, I mean like your social media, your website, your print, your logo on your car, the sign on your building, you name it - if all of those things aren't consistent, then you're losing a chance to make a really good customer."
George Anderson, who is partnering with three other people to open a brewery in Mahone Bay, asked her to clarify the meaning of branding.
"Think of branding as a promise," replied Craig.
"When they drink your beer, when they see the logo, when they see the message on your coasters, they see your signage and they see your building, when they see a logo or a message or a promotion on a t-shirt, they immediately get a feeling and a promise of what that product is going to do for them. And they come to love it. And they come to feel comfortable with it. It becomes theirs, and they start to own it.
"That's what you want to do. You want them to own your product. Because when they own your product, that means that your marketing could get smaller as you put it in their hands, and they're going to go out and do it for you."
Craig identified her passion for marketing while in high school. She took the two-year marketing course at Holland College in Charlottetown, and started her career in Toronto interning on the PlayStation account for Walmart.
She described how she and her husband, [ Justin Wiens, with whom she starting dating in grade 10], decided they wanted to return home to Nova Scotia to start a family. Together they now own the Shore Cycle dealership in Martin's Point.
In order to get going on SkySail, Craig says she consulted the Mahone Bay Chamber of Commerce's website and contacted the companies listed there.
"I just started sending emails to see if I could just come in and talk. I got a pretty good response. Not great. So I just kept at it."
Craig said the fact that she has worked on million-dollar accounts gave her an edge when establishing her company in Mahone Bay, where her market is largely small businesses. "I have lots of ideas for small businesses that they probably wouldn't have thought about before," she told the group.
"Like partnering up with another business in town. Cross-promotion of something they did a lot of. Working to support each other in business as opposed to working competitively."
Craig said she experienced similar challenges that other entrepreneurs do in transitioning from a major company to one they own and operate themselves.
Learning to prioritize tasks that might have been done by someone else in a larger company is one such challenge, she said.
"When you're working for yourself, you don't ever say 'that's not my job.' Because it's all your job. Every last bit of it is your job. If you don't know how to do something, you learn how to do it." She added that as the company gets larger, the entrepreneur is in a better position to contract out some of those tasks they might still not do well.
As for her own business, Craig says she regularly takes courses to keep up to date with marketing trends. She doesn't see her company getting much larger, though, as she appreciates her low overheads, independence and flexibility as a working mother of two children.
Looking ahead, she says, "I just want to do what I'm doing now, but do it better."
Craig has been assisting Button in his latest venture, a co-working space for "freelancers, entrepreneurs and independents" in Bridgewater, which he announced that evening will open on King Street on February 29.
Working with over 1,000 Entrepreneurs starting and growing businesses from rural communities gives you perspective. Here is where I share the things I'm learning through my work with Mashup Lab. This is my Rural Perspective; I'd love to hear yours.