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Best Foot Forward – Branding and Marketing with Monica Cevallos

Special Guests

Monica Cevallos

Monica's enthusiasm and love of graphic design and animals lead to the production of Sniff Design Studio®. When she isn't leading the pack at the studio, you can discover her reading, drawing, or watching dream/science fiction films, just as fanatically taking photos of her tiny wire-haired dachshund (wiener canine) or spending evenings with her niece. What's more, she additionally runs three other creative businesses: Sniff Design Basics (the sister site of Sniff Design), where pre-made pet business logos are created; Pretty Present™ – a gift wrap consulting business and salon; and C Monica Design Studio – custom branding services and pre-made branding kits for non-pet related businesses.

Best Foot Forward – Branding and Marketing with Monica Cevallos

Is your “brand” as memorable as your best groom? Groomers strive to create beautiful results, but often forget to give the same loving attention to their business branding. In this episode, Joe Zuccarello connects with Monica Cevallos, a pet business design and branding expert, to discuss ways to up your marketing game and enhance your brand. Together they’ll answer branding questions such as:

  • What’s the difference between branding and graphic design?
  • Why do I need more than just a logo?
  • As a small business, do I really need a website?
  • Are business cards passé? How can you enhance your business card game?
  • How many business cards should you give out per person you meet – and why?

Tune in to find out.

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Transcript

Welcome to “Hey Joe”! a podcast answering questions asked by our listeners, created by pet professionals for pet professionals, and now your host, Hey Joe’s very own, Joe Zuccarello.

Joe Zuccarello: What’s up everyone, Joe Zuccarello here and welcome to “Hey Joe”!, a podcast brought to you by Paragon School of Pet Grooming, check out our site and ParagonPetSchool.com for lots of really cool information on a variety of programs, products, and to connect to educational resources such as webinars, podcasts, current events, special news, certifications and lots of other helpful information to help you grow yourself, your team, and of course your business. Let’s get started with this week’s episode.

Hey everyone, Joe Zuccarello here, host of the “Hey Joe”! Podcast. This is a podcast where you get to eavesdrop in on a conversation between myself and a pet industry expert. Most of these experts are found as a result of receiving questions from our “Hey Joe”! listener audience. The best way for you to put your question in for a topic for future consideration on a podcast is to simply email us at heyjoequestions@paragonpetschool.com. So, if you are like most professional groomers out there, you can work magic on mats. You can sculpt and create art with your scissors and clippers, but when it comes to creating marketing or advertising materials for your business, forget about it.

In fact, many of you don’t even, or may not even, give much thought to your “brand”, or growing your own business through marketing while some of you do come to us from the corporate world, and the concept is very familiar to you. You still might come up short on the gifts or skills necessary to design your own marketing or branding pieces. You need something down to just your logo. Well, today we’re talking with Monica Cevallos, she is a branding and design expert, and she is the owner of Sniff Design. You have sniff as in dog nose sniff. So, Sniff Design, you can check out her website sniffdesign.com.

So, one of the really cool things about talking with Monica is that she caters specifically to the pet industry. So, she understands what it is that you do every day. So, it could possibly, if you’re interested in this type of work for your business, could possibly remove or reduce some learning curve since she specializes in our industry. So, you can always go to paragonpetschool.com to learn more about Monica and to download some really cool stuff that Monica is making available to you. So, simply go to paragonpetschool.com and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button if you haven’t already.

So, Monica and I are going to be talking about kind of her expertise in the branding and design world and how both of these efforts might be attractive to you and how they may impact your business. So, hang on tight, be prepared, Monica is one of the most creative people I know, and she is totally dialed in to our industry. So, without further ado, here we go.

Hey, Monica, how are you today?

Monica Cevallos: I’m good, thank you.

Joe Zuccarello: Good, hey thanks for joining us on the “Hey Joe”! podcast. I know that this topic is going to be of particular great interest to our listeners because as I mentioned in the intro just because somebody is a great artist, so when it comes to making fur fly, right, doesn’t necessarily mean that they naturally have a talent for creativity when it comes to branding and design and marketing and heck, maybe those thoughts never even entered their mind, but as we look at the grooming industry, or even the pet services industry in more of a broad spoke, Monica, there is definitely a need for increased professionalism and that helps drive respect to the industry.

So, many of our listener audience might be doing this very well out there while others want to improve, but maybe they just don’t know how or maybe they just don’t have the confidence to think that they actually can. What I mean by this is not necessarily doing the design work or the creative work, but having a brand in general. So, during this particular episode we’re going to talk, Monica, you’re going to share, I know, some really really great information about what is branding, what is marketing, what is graphic design and aren’t all of those the same, maybe, maybe not. That’s why you’re here, right, you’re going to talk to them, and you’re going to make sure that they know it, but before we dive in, Monica, tell us a little bit about yourself and kind of what’s going on at Sniff Design right now.

Monica Cevallos: Yeah, so I started Sniff Design several years ago with the intention to create branding and design for pet businesses that would help level them up. At the time, no one was really doing it, it was something that was kind of new to the industry if you will, and I just love animals. I really vibe with fellow petpreneurs and people within this industry because really it’s about our love of animals and that formulated the tagline for Sniff Design studio and it’s, helping to put your love of animals to work. It was started because I was unsuccessful at getting hired at a designing agency and so [crosstalk 00:05:33].

Joe Zuccarello: Okay, all right, there’s some humility, right? We teach humility on a lot of my podcasts. It’s okay to say that.

Monica Cevallos: Yeah, so it hit me, Well, I think I’m just going to have to forge my own career, and I see a need here, and I spent a year researching it, so that’s how that all came about.

Joe Zuccarello: That’s great, so Sniff Design. What’s interesting about Sniff Design is when you and I first “met each other” one of the things that I always do for all of my podcast guests is to learn a little bit more about who you are and what you do. Your portfolio, I’ve got to say, is quite awesome. You know what I like about it is, it’s not distant, it’s not too lofty, it’s not too outside of scope. What I really like about that is that it’s very obvious that if any of the “Hey Joe”! listener audience members out there have ever thought about okay, I want a new logo, I want a brand, even something like brand colors which we’re going to talk about in another episode, but if they have never had a desire to do that, it’s a little extra daunting knowing that they have to maybe teach somebody our industry before they can actually start getting some quality work done.

Quite frankly, that costs money, right? So, all of that costs money and not all of our pet professionals out there have a lot of extra dough hanging around and work really really hard for their money. Your services, because you specifically cater to the pet industry, that learning curve is not an additional expense to our listener audience out there.

Monica Cevallos: Indeed, so our gamut is all industry professionals and national and international as well, so not only can Sniff Design will understand your business we’re going to understand what it takes to help run their businesses because there’s different items, or rather businesses within the industry itself. You’ve got grooming, you’ve got sitters and other great people, so we know and love and understand the industry, we’re constantly researching. We’re reading up on it, the who, what, when, where, why and how is 24/7 with Sniff Designs. So, we know it.

Joe Zuccarello: Well, something to make a point of is that Monica has, to all of you “Hey Joe”! listener audience members out there, Monica has agreed to do a couple of podcasts with us, so her information is not only really really dynamic and awesome, but it requires at least two episodes of a “Hey Joe”! podcast. So, we’re going to dive into episode one, which centers around kind of the basics, right, so to help the audience understand branding and design. What’s really great, again, to the listener audience out there, Monica gets you. She knows who you are, she knows exactly what you’re doing every day. She’s going to be able to relate to you. So, when I think of branding and design, what impact and significance does it have on a pet service providers business?

Now, one very first thing, Monica, is I got to believe, and I’m going to let you have the floor here, but I got to at least get a word in edgewise because I know you like to just take it and run with it, right, I do know that when you talk about branding or marketing it can be intimidating. It can be intimidating because we don’t know what we’re doing in that regard. We don’t know how much to spend and sometimes we’re afraid that it can be expensive, but you have told me, and you’re going to tell our audience, that you can have a brand, and you should have a brand, right, and you can have design and marketing, and you should have both of those, but the big thing is, anybody can afford this. You’ve got solutions all the way around. So, let’s start off, Monica what is branding and why is it so important?

Monica Cevallos: So, branding, simply put, is the business’s message expressed through visual communication. In other words, it refers to elements that define the ethos and the tone of your company. So, think of things like logo design, marketing materials, your website, social media design now because that’s on the rise. So, that’s essentially what branding really is, some can get more deep and philosophical if you want to do a deep dive, but for the most part it’s essentially your business expressed through visual means.

Joe Zuccarello: So, what we take in that we see, which when you’re talking about our industry, right, professional pet groomers and boarding facilities and day cares, we have a very visual consuming customer base, right?

Monica Cevallos: Very.

Joe Zuccarello: Let’s say grooming, for example, right, well that’s exactly what groomers do, they make the dog visually, and of course more physically and comfortable and everything, but visually more appealing. I can totally understand how maybe the brand is that visual satisfier.

Monica Cevallos: Yeah, so to start there are four visual components that you can think of when it comes to branding. So, that is the logo and next would be your colors and then next would be typography and then iconography, which is something you can add and it’s not a must, but it’s something I usually recommend. As far as colors, that’s, I think, one of the most fun parts of your branding that you can play around with and if you ever need to look for color inspiration you can go to a place called color lovers, C-O-L-O-R-L-O-V-E-R-S.com. It’s a huge place to find different color palettes and ideas.

Joe Zuccarello: I know colors are going to play a real big topic in our next episode of our podcast, so that’s a great way to maybe prime the pump if you would, for the audience to go out there and look at that and then be prepared to learn even more about colors on the next episode.

So, tell me, typography, I get that’s probably the type of font, right? Again, I’m kind of a graphic… I know enough information to maybe be dangerous, but what is iconography? Is that what you called it?

Monica Cevallos: Yeah, so iconography would be like little visual references to your brand. So, think of like symbols, different symbols that could be utilized and that can correspond with your brand, like Nike, for example, just their swoosh mark is a symbol in of itself and they can take that and use that for iconography. So, basically think of just symbols.

Joe Zuccarello: Got it, now it makes total sense. I think the Nike example is a perfect example because that’s something we all know. Now, Nike spends a gazillion dollars making sure we know what that means.

Monica Cevallos: Yeah, they do.

Joe Zuccarello: But in our own little worlds, right,?

Monica Cevallos: Right.

Joe Zuccarello: So, if you were going to say, kind of putting you on the spot here, but do you think any one of those are more important than the other?

Monica Cevallos: I think the logo is, for the most part, because it’s the most versatile, and it’s something you can use to readily and easily advertise yourself. So, the premise would be sell without selling and that of course helps to build and continue your brand recognition.

Joe Zuccarello: Sure, okay. So, those are kind of the what’s, right, what is branding. If we talk about branding for a why perspective, why do I want a brand, why is it important to me? You know, some people are out there saying, “Listen, I have two weeks of a waiting list. Why is branding still important to me?” I’m sure you’ve been asked that.

Monica Cevallos: Yeah, so there are three very distinct ways it is and these are something I think most people don’t hear about or don’t realize when it comes to their own business. So, first is passion because it showcases your passion for the business. It shows how serious you are and your love of it. If you’re willing to put time, energy, and effort and money into the training, to the certification, to keeping a nice place, to your products, that is going to be seen through your branding too. So, that’s the passion, that’s your love of it.

Two is the purpose, and it showcases your purpose and place within this industry. So, your business is not only important, it’s simply needed and I think branding helps to solidify your purpose within this industry and your place.

Third is influence, it gives you a way to showcase your work, to showcase who you are, to showcase your personality and then how you affect your audience with it. It’s just something that’s compelling, just draws them to you, that want to make them engage with you, does it remind them of who you are. I think it’s very powerful. I think out of the three the most powerful is the influence. You’re likely to keep their intention even more and that turns into being able to sell them your services or make a purchase from you if you are somebody who is dealing with products of sort.

Joe Zuccarello: When you talk about why, to me it’s just one of my most favorite topics to talk about. I’ve often said in the past, “Keep the main thing the main thing,” not my original thing, just something to kind of live by. I picked it up along the way somewhere, but keeping the main thing the main thing and okay, well what is the main thing? Well, the main thing is, why do we do what we do, so there’s a business coach, you can search for him on YouTube, you can find him anywhere, he writes great books, but one of my favorite business coaches is Simon Sinek, S-I-N-E-K, Simon Sinek, and he’s pretty much turned the business world upside down and said, “Listen, we’re focusing on things from the wrong direction, we’re focusing more on the what, like what do we do, what products do we sell, what, what, what, when really we should be looking at, why should the customer buy from me? Why should the customer bring their pet into you for grooming or why, why, why?”

So, what you’re doing is you’re saying, “Listen, these three things as passion, purpose, and influence, those are emotional transactions all day long if I’ve ever seen it,” right? So, I’ve said it before, we are in a high touch industry. We’re not in a high tech industry, we’re in a high touch industry, which means there’s a lot of transactions that happen emotionally, so before they even ever happen financially, especially since we are entrusted to take care of peoples furry family members, right? Not Uncle Bob, who could also be, I guess, a furry family member, but the four legged version, right?

Monica Cevallos: No, it’s true. I take my little girl to a groomer who had good branding and that really stood out to me. To me that said, well if she’s willing to take her branding serious enough, I know she’s going to do really good with my little baby. So, yeah.

Joe Zuccarello: And again, branding, I think some people think, maybe some of my “Hey Joe”! listener audience out there right now is thinking, okay well branding, that’s the sign I have on my building or on my front door or branding might be the picture I have on my business card that I hand out or our community, I do have kind of a loosely thrown together website, but at least I have a website, right, which is I guess, yeah okay, I’m giving that, that’s half the battle, but branding and image and everything else, it starts, in my opinion and correct me if I’m wrong, maybe you see it the same way or different, it starts when somebody first puts eyes on you or an extension of you.
So, pulling into your parking lot, that’s branding. Sure, it’s the sign on the door and the window, I get it, those are definites, but it’s also, do you have a ripped up smock, right, does the smock have your name of your salon on it, or the name of your daycare on it, would you agree or disagree? Those are all parts of the branding mix.

Monica Cevallos: I think it is very much and I think it also speaks to why it’s worthy to invest in working with someone that can help you explore all of that and then eventually put something together that’s going to be completely cohesive because once done and once in place your business will really take off and it’s something you don’t really have to think about anymore. It’s something you do, it’s something you live, it’s something you breathe and your audience will see that and they’re going to buy into it.

Joe Zuccarello: Yeah, I totally agree. Just a real quick reminder to the “Hey Joe”! listener audience out there, we’re talking to Monica Cevallos and she is the owner at Sniff Designs. You can check out her work, she’s got a great portfolio and a great story to tell, on the internet at sniffdesign.com. So, I encourage you, of course don’t do this if you’re driving, I’ve told you this before, pull over, whatever, check it out when you get home or when you get to the salon or whatever, but check out sniffdesign.com.

So, when we talk about branding, how does that differ necessarily from graphic design?

Monica Cevallos: So, graphic design is like a component of branding, so it’s like a piece of it if you will and branding, it’s built on and from the branding that has been done so it’s yet another way to visually convey one’s brand. It’s your visual cues and your graphic designer or creative service of choice can help to guard your overall identity by taking care to make sure each of your branding elements are kept intact.
Again, things like colors, the fonts, AKA the typography, and the logo and more. So, it’s a way to extend that in keeping things consistent. A good example of a graphic design item would be like business cards, or a poster, or signage, stickers, which are super fun, social media graphics, print ads, and then online ads even.

Joe Zuccarello: So, I think the line we’re trying to draw there, if I’m tracking with you, is that just because maybe cousin Johnny is a graphic designer, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a brand. A graphic designer is somebody that might be able to create some of those things and definitely necessary, but it’s not necessarily the brand and see that’s where Sniff Design, where I’ve been impressed by Sniff Design and you, Monica, and your team is that you recognize that that’s just a piece, but it’s like one chapter out of a book and without the other chapters it may not have any context.

So, you’re kind of leaving it up to somebody else’s imagination, maybe, to fill in around the blanks, that’s kind of what I see it and when I think about brand, and I’ve asked this before, I do lots of presentations all over the country, I’ve been invited various different places around the world even and when I ask people about marketing and branding, when I ask them about branding I say, “Well, do you have a brand or what is your brand?” They say, “Well I don’t have one,” or “No, I don’t do any branding,” and I wish every time I did that that I remembered to bring a mirror with me.

You know, I always say, “You do, you just may not know you have one because your customers know you have one, your customers have made some assumptions as to what your brand is and the very first place to do it is look in the mirror.” How are you representing yourself, are you seeing things through customers eyes, those types of things. So, I always say a brand mirror, right, what is your reflection and what is it saying and sometimes, would you agree, sometimes we’re just too close to it to see what are kind of accidental brand might be or even sometimes our purposeful brand. Sometimes, heck, you could hire somebody and spend tens of thousands of dollars and the brand doesn’t necessarily reflect who you really are.

Monica Cevallos: Yeah, that’s the good thing about working with a professional is, you have a new set of eyes, a new perspective, somebody who can offer… They’re the outside looking in and so they can really help you with exploring if you need to either establish a brand or if you need to rebrand entirely and they’re trained for that. They’re trained to see what you possibly cannot see or understand and they’re going to just… Most people that are designers and branders, we love what we do, we’re very passionate and we are going to give you our very best. So, it would be really, I think, a really good asset for you and know that you are going to be powered through.

Joe Zuccarello: Okay, so let’s talk about a couple of those pieces, so during our show prep I asked you for some of the most common questions that maybe you get asked and one that kind of struck me, I’m like, we got to put that in the podcast, which is if I start with just getting a custom logo is that enough or do I need to kind of lean all in? I think maybe where that’s coming from is all of a sudden in the back of their mind they’re saying, “Gosh, if I lean all the way in that’s probably more than I can afford.” So, how do you help people along, kind of hold their hand through, is it just a logo, is it that they have to go all in, if a logo is just part of it?

Monica Cevallos: A logo is usually just part of it, so we definitely work with people that are just very gun shy and they’re like, “I think I just want to proceed with the logo.” I’m still happy they’re there because that is a good start. It’s a good way to go, hopefully it will inspire them to come back at a later date and say, “You know what, because of this logo I have had more business, I have had more people engage with me, drawn to me and that’s turned into more sales,” and then they’re ready and then at that point they see the value of what it means to extend that into a full branding dynamic. I say, if you want to start with a logo, go for it and if you want to go for the whole thing, I would go for that too, of course, because it will save you a lot of time, energy, and money and effort because you won’t have to go back and redo it some years later.

So, I think it’s great option for both and again, no pressure if somebody just wants to just go with a logo and then those who want to do full fledged branding, they do really well. I’ve see their business double or triple as far as sales because of it and they tend to grow a lot faster versus than having just a logo.

Joe Zuccarello: You know what’s kind of cool about, go ahead I’m sorry, I don’t want to stop you.

Monica Cevallos: No, I was just going to say, it’s more cohesive because they’re able to hit the ground with colors, with a more thought out process and how to execute their business, so yeah.

Joe Zuccarello: Yeah and you know, as you were talking, and I’m surprised I hadn’t thought about this before, but we’re all familiar with logos. Most of us probably at least went part-time to high school, I would think, and maybe we have some really young listeners and maybe we have some savants out there that went right into pet care services and skipped high school altogether, but my guess is most of us experienced high school and even a majority might have even experienced some college. I think there’s this really cool thing that happens when you have a logo that you can, the business owner, right, can align with and that is kind of an extension of them and their personality through a logo about their business, is that it gives you kind of this identity that goes beyond your name.

For example, maybe the high school mascot was, you know, maybe they were the lions or maybe they were the Spartans. Look at NFL football, look at any professional sport for that matter, it’s not about a person, it’s about now this organization or company identity, right? The more you can align with that, I think there’s something that really is magical and freeing that happens when an individual… You might only be one person, we’ve got lots of mobile groomers out there who are driving around in some really great rigs. We met on a podcast episode with John Stockman with Wag’n Tails and man, they create some really great rigs, but some of the logos on these, they’re gorgeous, gorgeous vehicles and you don’t see somebody’s, most of the time, you don’t see somebody’s face plastered on the side, right, you see some really cool image.

Now, real estate might be different. I don’t know why it plays by a different set of rules, but I guess it does. You would probably school me on why that is, but we’re not going to talk about that right now. So, beyond logos, what about websites? Is it necessary, does it depend on what service we provide or it shouldn’t matter at all what service we provide? What is your take on the group out there that’s saying, “Well, should I at least have a website?”

Monica Cevallos: Okay, yeah, so a quick spin back to what you were talking about for logo design, a lot of things I find myself telling potential clients is, your logo is the essence of the business, it’s not the essay of the business. That’s why it’s a visual representation of your business.

Joe Zuccarello: I like that, I might use that. I’ll give you credit, but I might use that.

Monica Cevallos: Yes, especially when they are wanting, okay I’m a dog groomer, I want to have scissors, I want to have a bath, I want to have my van in there, I want to have this and that and that, that’s usually when I’m like, well, there is such a thing as too much and your audience is smart. They know who they’re going to, they know why they’re there.

Joe Zuccarello: They know you’re probably going to use scissors, right?

Monica Cevallos: That’s right.

Joe Zuccarello: They probably know you’re going to use shampoo, so do you really need bubbles on top of the dog’s head, maybe, right?

Monica Cevallos: Yes, it doesn’t need to be so literal. Some of the biggest, most popular, brands out there are not literal. Again, think Nike, do you see a shoe, no. Do you see their clothes, no. You see a swoosh, so the same thing can be applied to one’s business for logo design. It is the essence of the business, not the essay of the business.

Joe Zuccarello: Love that, okay, cool. Thanks for kind of circling back because that was a very important point to make, but now, back to websites. Necessary, not necessary, what’s your take?

Monica Cevallos: Very, very, very necessary, especially in the technological age that we’re in. It’s never been easier for somebody to hop on the internet and look for a business. Most people that I would say 35 year, okay shoot, 40 years and younger, that is a first place we go to. We’re on the internet, we’re googling who, what, when, where, and why, okay, I need a groomer, okay Google, show me a groomer. So, it is absolutely vital to have a website, now they don’t have to be big and fancy. You can have just a small one page, but something that’s beautiful and elegant that, again, extends your brand and that alone will be very attractive. So, five reasons, very short, why it is and as I said, that having a website because you’re online, it gives you a presence that is online, and it gives you a strategy also that you can use to market it even.

Then, second, it helps you establish credibility as a business and then third, most people will assume that you have a website because a vast majority of businesses do. Then, fourth, it is the most readily available and accessible tool you can have, it is phenomenal. This guy is working for you 24/7/365. So, this means your business can be operational around the clock in terms of being there and being present for your audience, and it displays all this fabulous info about your business, and it’s a workhorse, it really is. Last, it’s just convenient, so anytime, from any place, can get on and see your site, read more about you, they can be in the comfort of their own living room in their pj’s next to their favorite doggie and checking you out and then showing your website to their dog like, “Look, this is where I’m going to take you, how cool is this?”

Joe Zuccarello: Well, you know what though, I want to hop back in and just for 30 seconds unpack one of those five topics and again, obviously anybody that’s listening go to sniffdesign.com, contact Monica directly, she’ll go through all of these things for you so don’t feel like, oh my gosh I don’t have a pen handy to write all these things down, great, just stay interested and talk to her directly, right, or you’re going to provide some free downloads, right, so we’re going to have those up at paragonpetschool.com so you want to head to this episode page on the paragonpetschool.com web page and some of these downloads are going to be available to you and maybe even some really cool bonuses.

So, make sure you check us out there, but I want to go back to one of the things that you talked about and that was people expect you to have a website and even bigger than that, if they go to your website and it doesn’t function well, right, doesn’t look well or where things are supposed to be, they’re not, just because you think you want to maybe walk upstream and put a little hamburger at the bottom right corner, well that’s not where people look to find that, so remember creativity can go too far and you put distance in between you and your customer and then all of a sudden, I have literally ruled out doing business with probably really really good people because their internet presence is terrible, especially their website. It just doesn’t function or it’s dated or how about the pictures, oh my gosh, have somebody else take your picture for you because that’s just not working.

It’s like pictures of food, right? I’ve never seen anybody take great pictures of food other than like television commercials for food restaurants and most of that food is plastic, right? If you even want to have a judge, ask your customers, “Hey, do you like how this picture looks?” Unless it’s like, “Oh my gosh, it’s gorgeous,” it’s probably not great. So, be careful there, be selective. You know, there’s two other things I want to talk about before we run out of time, so I’m going to kind of march us forward and one is, social media. Social media is… Some people are using it so so well, right, and I’m kind of a social media moron. I’ve admitted to that on several of our podcasts, but some people are doing it really really well. What’s your take on social media for the pet services industry and what guidance or words of wisdom do you have for us in that regard?

Monica Cevallos: So, when I was little, and I think most of you can relate to this, in Kindergarten, usually they’d have one day a week where you could bring your favorite toy, your favorite woobie, and it was called show and tell. I really believe social media, this day, is a great example for show and tell, but for adults. So, it’s great to show off who you are, your personality, again, extension of your branding, but it’s a way for you to engage and connect and relate with your audience that’s unheard of. It is, for the most part, free and it’s not just locals, I mean it has a long stretch of being able to extend your business and your reach nationally, internationally even.

I’ve had clients that have started new services that helps international clientele looking to start their own business or for just business consulting of some sort because they’ve been on social media and they’ve been talking about this is what we do, and they take great pictures, even if it’s just on their phone, they just take the time to take a nice picture to showcase their dogs, their grooming efforts, before and after as well.

Joe Zuccarello: Each groomer might have 8 to 10 opportunities right there to showcase their work and you know what, many of us, we just let those go out the door and we don’t tell the world about it. We don’t say, “Look at what I did.” I love the show and tell for adults, that’s awesome, right? So sometimes it has to be in our brain, we have to remember to do these things. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but one thing that you caution us to is that our social media should be branded, so what about that Joe Zuccarello page, right, and the Joe Zuccarello the consultant page, and presence on social media? We got to be careful there, right?

Monica Cevallos: So, the difference is just not overthinking it. If there’s something that you think is potentially embarrassing, don’t talk about it, don’t showcase, just don’t go there. Really think of it in terms of how do I highlight my business, how do I convey something that is really important regarding the business? So, think of it from a perspective of showcasing one’s business to an audience because once it’s out there it’s impossible to really take it back and your personality, believe it or not, it’s going to come through. They’re going to see it through your pics, they’re going to see it with what you write, the hashtags that you’re using, how you are doing call to actions in forms of questions to people, getting them to engage with you, that’s going to come through, so the beauty of it is you don’t have to overthink of it. Your personality will come through, so don’t think about, or try too hard, in becoming overly personalized. I hope that helps.

Joe Zuccarello: Well, it does, but I guess the angle I was saying is, listen, listen, you have got to be careful because let’s say you’re out partying on a Friday night, and not that anybody in our audience does that, you guys are all awesome I’m sure, everybody’s total spit shine and professional, but for any of you that might have done that in their past, either you’re doing that currently, which be careful, right, but if you’ve done it in your past, you have a responsibility to make sure that you’re represented as appropriately as possible to the pet parents because I’ve seen an accidental post where somebody thought they were posting it on their personal page and they posted it on their… I mean, this was like, they just literally walked themselves out into cross traffic here, but they posted it on their professional page.

I mean, I’ve even heard of people saying, “Listen, you know what, when I decided I was going to have this profession, when I decided that I was going to represent myself professionally, I do that every day, all day, no matter where I go. I don’t even go to the discount store without the idea that I’m going to run into somebody that I know that’s a client and if I’m dressed inappropriately I realize now, Joe, that you taught us that’s my brand.” Most of my elementary education I was raised I went to Catholic Grade School, the first time I saw a nun at the grocery store, I guess maybe I thought up until that point they weren’t even real people, but here she is doing the same thing we were doing and I just remember that really weird feeling like a duck out of water, right, well she’s not supposed to be here. The same thing can happen with social media if we post the wrong thing on the wrong half of our personality, I guess, right?

Monica Cevallos: Yeah, so you can think of it as life lived out loud and so, in this case it’s going to be your businesses life lived out loud.

Joe Zuccarello: Oh, I like that. LOL is not laughing out loud, that’s life out loud, right?

Monica Cevallos: Life out loud, yeah, life out loud.

Joe Zuccarello: Life out loud, see you’re just full of these things, Monica. These are awesome, I can’t wait to steal all of these from you.

Monica Cevallos: I know right, I’m going to be like #trademark.

Joe Zuccarello: Yeah, you’re going to lock it down because that’s your brand, right, that’s what you do. The last thing I want to talk about on this episode, and to the “Hey Joe”! listener audience I know we’re flying through content, but this I knew exactly what was going to happen with Monica and I got on the phone because as you can tell I get a little fired up about branding and marketing and image and all of that sort of thing, so building your business through these elements. Don’t worry, Monica will be back, we’ll have plenty of repeat episodes I’m pretty certain of it, but before we kind of wrap it up, one of the final things, and I think you mentioned this earlier, so you kind of planted a seed, which is business cards. Is that so 10 minutes ago? That’s me channeling my valley girl, right? Is that, wait a minute, that’s like old fashioned. What’s your take on that because I think you have a different take on it.

Monica Cevallos: Yes, so there are actually a multitude of reasons and I was just thinking of right now, not only why those reasons are, but how you can take them and five ideas right there for turning them into a direct marketing tool for you, so first-

Joe Zuccarello: There you go, another download for the “Hey Joe”! listener audience.

Monica Cevallos: Yeah, another checklist, right?

Joe Zuccarello: That’s right, another blog post.

Monica Cevallos: So, they deliver your contact info with ease, so in other words it’s easy for somebody to take and put in their wallet or their office drawer, plus it’s something tangible to give out. I think of it as pen and pawper, instead of pen and paper-

Joe Zuccarello: Pen and pawper.

Monica Cevallos: P-A-W-P-E-R still rules because tangible is just that, it’s something they can see, they can feel, they can touch and extra bonus tip, this is what I’ve been meaning to do for my business cards is, you can turn them into a scratch and sniff special if you will.

Joe Zuccarello: Oh, for Sniff Design you should, right? I can see that.

Monica Cevallos: For Sniff Design studio, definitely.

Joe Zuccarello: Be careful though, our business has different smells you might not want to put on there.

Monica Cevallos: I know, I always thought it’d be fun to have maybe a little, just to be cheeky, a tushie of a dog, but when they scratch it it smells like bubble gum, something like that.

Joe Zuccarello: Oh boy, all right, you just lost all credibility, Monica, we’re wrapping this up. No, I’m just… I love the creativity, that’s where all of the cool actual results come from is just free thinking like that, right?

Monica Cevallos: Yeah, an element of crazed too.

Joe Zuccarello: That’s okay, we’ll take it. So, when you talk about business cards, I love how you say “Listen, it’s an easy way to convey that your information to somebody,” my views on business cards too, if I might add, is that there’s so many times that I will be handed somebody’s business card and it goes in my pocket, right? At the end of the day when maybe I’m kind of getting into my comfy Joe, comfy clothes type of thing, guess what I find in my pocket, I find that business card. Now, if that person texted me their contact information or they emailed me their contact information or at the very worst they just told it to me, right, I have that reminder.

Now I have a second first impression, right, so I have this card now, so I have to make a decision. Am I going to keep this card or am I going to throw this card away? I still have a decision to make, so I’m doing something with that card. Now, yeah, that card might sit on my desk, it might sit on my nightstand, and sometimes it accidentally gets in the wash because I don’t pull it out of my pocket, but most of the time we’re naturally going to check our pockets, we’re going to pull it out, right? So, it gives us a second opportunity at a really interesting time in somebody’s day, in most regards, so I like that, but you know when I really like it, you ever pull up to the gas station, you pull up to a pump and you’re going to put 30, 50, whatever dollars into your tank and you look next to you and there’s a dog in a car next to you and their pet parent is filling up the tank.

Well, what are you going to do, are you really going to walk up to them and go, “Hey, I’m a professional dog groomer, give me your phone number and I’ll text you my contact information.” They’re going to be like, “You weirdo,” especially when I do it, right, so you might be able to do it because I mean, you’re better visually on the eyes than I am, I don’t know, but me walking up to somebody or the dog is going to like attack me, right, so what a great opportunity to say, “Hey listen, my shop is right down the street why don’t you come by? Fido looks awesome, look at him he’s so cute, I’d love to trim his nails or I’d love to clean his ears or how about just a free bandana? Come talk to me,” right? So, you just hand them out that way.

Monica Cevallos: Yeah, one quick marketing tip for you right now, for the audience, is they’re very versatile, so why not turn that business card and make it a magnet. So, when someone goes through their pockets and they find your items there in their wallet, they’re like, “Oh, how cool, wait a minute this is a magnet,” boom, right on the fridge. So, they constantly see you, they’re reminded of you, and then the time comes they’re going to be looking for that groomer, they’re going to know, oh, I know exactly who to go to. That can be a really versatile way of utilizing a business card, and again why they’re still really important.

Joe Zuccarello: Okay, so business cards to me are… Okay, maybe I’m old fashioned, but they work. So, a couple of other small tips and then we’re going to wrap it up for this particular episode, but very first tip about business cards is don’t make them shiny. There’s this coating that we think we’ve got to put on our business cards to look flashy and look awesome, but you know what doesn’t work on there, pens, you can’t write on those and even Sharpie marker sometimes will bead up and well, then you’ve got a disaster, then you’ve got somebody’s pockets get stained, or their clothes, or their hands or whatever, but don’t feed on the need to get this shiny coating, this glossy coating, on your business cards because really I think you’re actually hurting yourself in the long run.

Second tip, never hand out just one, get in the habit if you’re going to hand out a business card, always hand them two because you know what, they’ve got a friend that has a dog. I guarantee you the person that you’re handing your business card to has a friend or a family member, a neighbor, whoever, that has a dog. So, don’t ever, ever, ever, ever hand out one business card, always hand out two. I promise you, try it, you’re going to love it and hey yeah, you’re going to go through some more business cards, but they’re cheap.

So, kind of bringing this all together, Monica, is that obviously we’ve given the “Hey Joe”! listener audience a lot of information, we have mentioned a lot of different components and pieces that make up branding and design and so on and why it’s important and websites and business cards, blah, blah, blah. I want to make sure that the “Hey Joe”! listener audience is reminded that you can go to the paragonpetschool.com website to Monica’s episode on the website, and she’s going to provide us with some really great free downloads of some of these tips and tricks and tools and such and she might actually throw in a really cool bonus there, but you have to go to the website to find out what that might be.

So, in closing, Monica, I think if you would agree, you use a term when it comes to affordability, again, we kind of haven’t really talked about the cost of things, but can you wrap of us by giving us examples, use a really cool term because I’m not going to steal your thunder, about different budget levels because I think it’s really, which it should be, creative.

Monica Cevallos: Yeah, we have a couple of levels, so puppy budgets, we have classic canine, kitten caboodle, best of breed and best in show. So, yeah.

Joe Zuccarello: You know what, I think my audience was tracking with you as to which order that was going, so what caught my attention actually when she said it to me the first time, group, is that if you have a puppy budget, Monica’s not going to turn her nose up at you, right, sniff sniff, see what I’m doing there, was that bad? That was terrible, anyway but you can go to Sniff Design and she’s got all kinds of solutions for you no matter what your budget is, so take advantage of that. Monica wants to work with you and as your business grows, so too maybe does your relationship with Monica and the team at Sniff Designs.

Monica, thank you so much for being part of the “Hey Joe”! podcast today, I know you’re going to be a repeat guest, but I do want to remind the “Hey Joe”! listener audience out there that if you have a question that you would like for us to find an industry expert for, and we can answer those questions on a future podcast episode, it’s really easy to do to make sure that we know what your question is, go to your mail and email us at HeyJoequestions@paragonpetschool.com or you can go to paragonpetschool.com, the website, and you can email us directly from there.

Monica, thank you so much and I look forward to lots and lots of future conversations.

Monica Cevallos: Yes, well thank you for having me on here and taking your time to just talk and I look forward to more.

Joe Zuccarello: All right, take care.

About Joe

Joe Zuccarello is VP of the Paragon School of Pet Grooming, leaders in grooming education on campus and online. He possesses more than three decades of experience in the pet grooming, product development and pet business consulting disciplines.

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