Monica CevallosMonica'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 Part 2: Branding & Marketing with Monica Cevallos
Is your pet business making the right impression? Is your salon putting its best foot forward? In this episode, host Joe Zuccarello talks to Monica Cevallos of Sniff Design. Together, they’ll unpack how to choose the right design partner to help you create a compelling brand.
- How can you tell if design work you’ve commissioned on the internet is “stolen”?
- What’s the best way to “show and tell” your work as a groomer?
- Does color psychology work on a conscious, or an unconscious level?
- What do Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter have to do with design?
Tune in to find out.
Unlock your FREE “5 Questions to Ask When Vetting for the Right Creative Service” Guide that also contains a special offer code for 25% OFF select Sniff Store items by entering your information below!
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Announcer: 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. Welcome to Hey Joe, a podcast brought to you by Paragon School of Pet Grooming. Check out our site at 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. This is Joe Zuccarello, your host on the Hey Joe podcast. This is a podcast where you get to listen in on a real coaching call between myself and a pet industry expert. Again, most of these experts are brought to you by as a result of actually your questions that you submit to us. So, be sure to submit your questions to HeyJoeQuestions@ParagonPetSchool.com, and we will hopefully be able to round up some experts to answer your questions in the future.
We are joined today again by Monica Cevellos. Monica is the owner of Sniff Design. I say Sniff, S-N-I-F-F as in dog nose Sniff Design. She’s a branding and design expert. She specializes in the marketing efforts and branding, and logo creation for pet industry professionals such as yourself. Again, if you’re like most of the groomers that are there, this skill kind of eludes us. We might be really good at what we do, whether it’s grooming, or whether it’s sales.
I don’t care what skill you might have, but most of us don’t have the special gift necessary to create our own marketing and branding materials. But Monica and her team at Sniff Design do. Bigger than that, Monica’s providing some really great downloads that you can go to ParagonPetSchool.com and unlock those free downloads right now. You can go there and unlock those. One of those is a checklist where you can use this checklist if you’re interviewing folks that might have similar skills to Monica, or that Monica does if you choose to use somebody other than Monica.
Anyway, she’s going above and beyond providing a free download to us. So, listen in. I’d like to say buckle up because she covers a lot of ground. She’s just a really cool individual. Without further ado, here we go.
Hey Monica, welcome back to the Hey Joe podcast.
Monica Cevellos: Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be back.
Joe Zuccarello: I say welcome back, because Monica is a repeat guest to the Hey Joe podcast. If you have not listened to the previous episode from Monica, I definitely recommend that you go back and listen to that. That first episode is Branding and Design. The reason I recommended her to the Hey Joe listener audience, and I have to go back and listen to that, because Monica does a great, great job of defining what is branding, and what is design.
We’ve been kind of getting into the weeds a little bit, when we start talking about different executables and different ways of carrying that off like website and business cards, and even something that I kind of dubbed “the brand mirror.” I’m not going to tell you what it is. Go find out what it is. Go back to episode one and keep your ears open for the brand mirror. It might be scary, but I definitely recommend doing that.
Monica, thanks again for hopping on a podcast with us. I know that the first episode was met with some really great, great positive reception, and I can’t wait now to kind of take the Hey Joe listener audience to the next step. If for whatever reason you’re one of those folks out there that want to just kind of hop in and listen to episode two first, okay that’s fine.
Let me remind you about who Monica is. I just did it on the intro a little bit, but if you want to follow along, you can go to SniffDesign.com and check out her website or portfolio, and everything that she has to offer in that regard. Today, Monica’s going to be talking to us about how to look for and find, and even vet- not vet like veterinarian- but vet like qualify the right creative service or service provider, a creative provider for your business.
Monica, how are you doing and what’s going on at Sniff?
Monica Cevellos: I’m doing good. Sniff Design is doing great. We are taking on lots of projects, doing branding for various clientele. We’ve since launched a brand new social media monthly graphics program too. Things are going well.
Joe Zuccarello: That’s great. That’s great. One really great part is, is in our first episode you had also provided a branding starter checklist, which our podcast listener audience could go and look at, download, use. Now, we’re going to be talking about, okay what do you do next? Let’s say it’s our audience, and somebody’s out there and they say, “Okay, I am ready to hire out for my creative needs, but I don’t know even what I’m looking for, or who I’m looking for.”
How do we start them through that process?
Monica Cevellos: I will start off by giving you five reasons why it’s good to go with someone who is a professional for your creative needs. First and foremost, they’re going to save time because as a business owner, your time is invaluable. Joe talked about that a little bit in the last podcast about if you try too much of it yourself, you may not know what you’re doing and ultimately you end up wasting time and that’s something that we all, once spent, can’t get back.
Joe Zuccarello: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Monica Cevellos: Second, it saves money because again, doing it right the first time around will be just that. It’s done right. Third is this person that’s going to be going to work for you, they’re going to know how to make you stand out from the pack. They are going to know what questions to ask, what things that they are going to need from you, and really help you flush out what is really needed in terms of the branding and/or the design for your business. Fourth, you’re going to make an overall better first impression because you’re going to have professionally created designs. That’s just quick for number four. Last is, you’re going to get the logo and/or the branding that you want. Again, that’s because creative professionals, we’re trained to take your vision and bring it to life.
Joe Zuccarello: Maybe we’ll unpack a couple of these just real quickly. Of course, I would have probably leaped to the assumption that maybe saving time and saving money. But that’s because you specialize in the pet industry. Maybe one reason why they might consider using you and your team. Let’s say they have somebody that they want to use or whatever. No matter who they use, if they find a professional that kind of checks all the boxes and you’re going to give us guidance to maybe what profile might look like to help them, but the Hey Joe listener audience out there versus doing it yourself.
I’ll tell you, I’m guilty of trying to pretend that I can learn graphic design. I went out and I bought Photoshop. I bought a better phone with a better camera. I had all the great intentions, but I will tell you what, that is definitely not one of my superpowers. My guess is, probably not a superpower of our listener audience. There’s probably some of you that it’s your superpower, but I would think for the vast majority for our listeners, it’s not your superpower.
So, yeah you’re going to save time and money even though you’re spending money to have this done. You’re definitely saving time and money if this is what you’re ready to do. If you’re ready to move forward with it. The two topics that I’d like to unpack just briefly was better first impression. We are a society, I like to call it a “point and click” society. We want to be satisfied immediately. We want immediate gratification, and sometimes that immediate gratification is ruined, or we don’t even get the chance to connect with somebody because they have a bad first impression of us.
If it’s your design, if it’s your logo, if it’s the colors you choose, those types of things can… You can lose a relationship before you even realize you might have had one to start, right?
Monica Cevellos: Yeah, first impressions are not just immediate impressions. They’re lasting impressions. So, you’ve kind of lost on a twofold there if it’s not good. Immediately, you lose the audience and in long term, they’re not going to come back. So, that extends long term.
Joe Zuccarello: Again, the logo and the branding you want. In the first episode, we kind of talked about those of us that went to high school, which is probably most of us, and some of us went to college, we have this allegiance- even sometimes them is fighting words- between certain college football teams, just because of the colors or the logos that they wear, the mascots they wear. When otherwise, if they’re just walking around the mall, they might have the best [inaudible 00:10:00] relationship with somebody.
Well, you start tying them to something they can grasp on to, and it becomes emotional. It becomes them. It becomes an extension of their identity. To your point, and tip number five which is you get the logo and the branding that you want, that you can align with, it can be you. If it can’t be you, then it’s not right. You can’t force some things. I have a saying that we through around at Paragon, is “Force equals failure.”
If it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not right. So, branding and a logo, is that person, that [inaudible 00:10:35]. Would you agree?
Monica Cevellos: Yes, I would agree. Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal more than people realize. It’s immediate results, and it’s lasting results, and long term results. I think you end up paying more if you don’t opt to choose a professional creative of choice than versus doing it later down the road. Your business changes, and you never know what’s going to be needed, what’s going to happen, how you’re going to grow, or how quickly you’re going to grow.
What if you are all of the sudden so booked out? It’s a six month wait list. How are you going to deal with your branding then if it’s not already done? You’re going to have to go back and redo, and spend more money as a result.
Joe Zuccarello: Right, nobody ever wants to kind of go back and have a redo. One could be great, but the whole kit and caboodle, the whole picture could even be better. It just tells a longer story. We’ve referenced this in the first episode saying that it’s like a book with multiple chapters, but you only have one chapter to read. So it’s just a piece of it. When we talk about, specific to logos and such, because logo is maybe the anchor. The anchor in your brand might be the logo. I know that you’ve got some really great logo examples on SniffDesign.com.
Again guys, go check it out. I think some of them are really cute. Some of them are funny. Some of them are classy. It all kind of depends on the personality of the business owner or the business, right?
Monica Cevellos: Absolutely.
Joe Zuccarello: But when it comes to logos, there are… What about costs? Cost considerations. When folks are selecting to hire a professional to design their logo, are there some guardrails, some reasons why you might recommend that they hire it out versus kind of finding a generic logo or trying something on their own?
Monica Cevellos: To start, here are three reasons to hire a professional for your logo. First, is its best for owners that are wanting to place an emphasis on a unique logo, and they’re looking for one that’s created just for them and them alone. It’s also great for those looking to level up their business, aka branding efforts. In other words, those who want to establish a timeless and lasting brand, they want to get the details right the first time. Third and final is, it’s great for owners that are looking to have a solid following or want to rebrand entirely.
Basically, it’s about customization. Like, how custom do you want this to be? How unique do you want this to be? Do you need to know that once this is created, it’s only for you and your use and that’s it? Pre-made logos, those can be a good option too, especially if you are somebody who has a puppy budget.
Joe Zuccarello: I love that term.
Monica Cevellos: A puppy budget, yes. Secondly, if you need something fast. You’re just like, “Okay, we’re ready to go. I’ve got less than 48 hours, or 72 years,” or what have you. They need it fast. Thirdly, if they’re good at looking for the right person, for the right company for this, they can find what they’re looking for without having to go through any alterations of some sort. In other words, it’s like, “I found it. Good to go. Awesome.”
Joe Zuccarello: Yeah, and then try laying in the name of your business into there, and kind of figure out a font that will match. You start kind of Frankenstein-ing some things together. Quite frankly, again I’m just going to say it from my perspective, it never turns out the way that I have it in my head because I just don’t have that gift. I don’t have that ability. I like to call them superpowers. I don’t have that superpower.
So, I’m going to hire it out. There’re some options. There’re some options to hire it out. There’s companies like yourself at Sniff Design. There’s the Monicas out there. But then there are, and we’ll probably have to leave the names out of the podcast, but there are some Internet providers. There are some dotcoms out there where you can hire for $30.00-$40.00, sometimes $5.00, somebody to do some freelance work for you through an Internet. Somebody you’ve probably never talked to and such.
Is there really a difference between that type of business and a professional designer? Where can you take us with that?
Monica Cevellos: Yeah, there’s a real big difference in that…
Joe Zuccarello: Not all of them are bad. Some of them can probably create some decent work, right?
Monica Cevellos: Sure.
Joe Zuccarello: If you’ve got puppy budgets, it’s probably the least that you can even imagine having, but if you’ve less than a puppy budget, if you’ve got a dog hair budget, I don’t know. You don’t even have the puppy.
Monica Cevellos: Yeah, a little newborn.
Joe Zuccarello: Yeah, newborn budget right? But it comes with some caution.
Monica Cevellos: It does, yeah. Just some things to consider is some of these places, they don’t really vet who’s coming to work for them. A lot of these people, if they have a computer and some software, really consider themselves designers. If you just take some time to really look at the work, it’s going to be clear that they’re not because they’re really bad. They don’t have a grasp of the basics when it comes to design. I think that’s something that’s really important. If you’re willing to invest any money at all, at least make sure this person that’s going to be providing this type of service will have an understanding of the basics, and then can showcase it in their portfolio.
A lot of these places, because there’s such a massive amount of people coming there to find work, it’s automated. It’s not always easy to reach out and talk to somebody, or to communicate openly, or during your hours. A lot of these places, the people come from the other side of the world, and that also leads to cultural differences that you can find that may become a barrier. The last is, just speaking from personal experience, they tend to have a lot of work that has been stolen. Numerous times, I have found the work for Sniff Design Studio stolen and used on there, and I’ve had to really become a pit bull and really get them by their throat and say, “Hey, you need to remove this.”
Joe Zuccarello: Really?
Monica Cevellos: So again-
Joe Zuccarello: Oh, I never even thought about them taking and pirating, if you would, somebody else’s stuff.
Monica Cevellos: They’re notorious, unfortunately. Again, it’s been difficult to get these people, once removed, to not come back and do it all over again. Again, it has to do with the automation of it, how many people are on there. It’s just sort of a conglomeration of a mess if you will.
Joe Zuccarello: Yeah, trying to track them down and keep them from coming back. It’s like that old carnival game, Whack-A-Mole, right?
Monica Cevellos: Yeah.
Joe Zuccarello: They surface over here, and as soon as you address them over here, before you know it, it’s happening over here. I mean you could probably spend full-time work trying to track them down. I’ll tell you an interesting personal story. During one of my moments of weakness, I thought, “Well, I’m just going to hire out to one of these dotcoms.” I struggled even providing the information to them, because I didn’t know necessarily what would help them. They wanted me to tell them my story and give information, but they didn’t hold my hand through the process.
I know one of the really cool things you’re going to provide to the Hey Joe listener audience is a checklist. We’re going to talk about that in a minute. But I didn’t have any of that. After I thought I did a decent job, I guess, of telling them within… And this is what’s really crazy, is nothing was by telephone. Everything’s typing, and everything is on an Internet and I have to within 1200 words, which seems like a lot, but shoot if you read the transcripts of any of these podcasts, an hour podcast, a 45 minute podcast is thousands of words long.
Monica Cevellos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Joe Zuccarello: I couldn’t tell them my story, and they couldn’t learn from me. They couldn’t know who I really was versus… Sometimes I have a hard time typing. Not typing, like physically typing, but conveying my thoughts through words in type to properly help them. Knowing of course, by reading their names or whatever, and also knowing that there might have been a language, translation or cultural barrier there that complicated things. Anyway, back to personal story.
I got a creative piece back. It was supposed to be like this sales flyer or whatever. On the surface I’m like, “Oh, it’s pretty good.” I went to print it, and there was this shadow in the artwork. I’m like, “What is that?” It was a watermark, and they had I guess purposely try to mask the watermark, but did a poor job at that too, so I could see it on there. Now, I guess buyer beware, but boy I was turned off after that. It’s unfortunate because I know everybody’s out there trying to make a dollar for themselves, but goodness gracious. Be careful, right?
Monica Cevellos: Yeah, and also again keep in mind they’re looking for generic jobs. This isn’t somebody that’s going to take the time to learn about you or to learn about your business, who probably doesn’t even understand what goes on with the pet industry, what’s most relevant right now, what’s trending, what’s not, things like that. That’s something I think is one of the biggest points, is these people are not going to have the kind of care that somebody I think here or even locally will have and be able to convey and work with you on.
Joe Zuccarello: Yeah, I completely agree. Let’s talk about a couple of things. We’re going to get down to some nitty gritty that maybe the audience can use, and just sort of a reminder to the Hey Joe listener audience out there, who are we talking to? We’re talking to Monica from Sniff Designs. You can check out her work at SniffDesigns.com. Monica is just a branding and design expert, but bigger than that, she’s specific to the pet industry. She gets you. She understands who you are already before you even talk to her.
Think about what that might save you in the learning curve of maybe vetting a branding or design expert. Monica’s going to give you information that you can go out to use to find any branding or design expert. She’s going to help guide you along the way that way as well. When I look at this, one of the things that just blows me away, and we kind of referenced this a little bit in the first episode. Again, if you haven’t listened to the first episode, go back and check it out. Lots of good stuff.
Let’s say you’re a professional dog groomer out there, and you can groom eight dogs a day, 10 dogs a day, maybe you’re a stud and you can do 10 or 12 dogs a day. Whatever the number is. Five dogs a day. It doesn’t really matter. Each one of those creations that you have that day, they come in, they look a certain way, you make them beautiful, you send them home, right? Are you missing an opportunity to maybe showcase your work, take photos or learn maybe how to take better photos of your work? I think it’s sort of criminal not to think about promoting that for yourself. Self promotion.
Again, I use the word- and I probably didn’t even come up with it, probably Monica planted it subconsciously in my brain in a previous call- but showcasing your work. Monica, what about photography and why is it kind of critical for what we do, and kind of keeping it front of mind?
Monica Cevellos: Again, it’s the easiest way with social media and us being able to show our pictures off. It’s become Show and Tell for adults. Show and shout your business. Show the people why you are there and how well you work, and the kind of work that you do. It reflects your branding as well, so it’s another way that you can carry out maybe your colors, or use your logo as a watermark on your pictures, therefore reminding people who you are.
Again, I think one of the biggest is people love, love, love seeing cute and happy pets. This is the industry that you’re in. We love them. We care for them. As a groomer, especially somebody like yourself, that’s what you do. You’re in it for the health and the benefit of the dog. If you can take some pictures and just use it to show off your work, you’re going to be selling without selling. You’re going to be reminding people of who you are. You’re going to be able to showcase your skillset.
Also, it just is another way to quickly really engage with your audience. Groomers, I have seen, that have taken before and after pictures or just really super cute pictures after of a groomed dog, their likes are through the roof. People leave comments left and crazy. I mean, they’re just gaga over these images. With phones now getting better and better, it’s really quite easy to take a good picture. Just make sure to take your time and pause for a couple of seconds. Most phone settings have a mode where you can tell the phone to take the picture by voice.
Like my Samsung. I can say, “Shoot”, and it will take the picture. So, [crosstalk 00:24:58] better picture. Most phones have that built in. You just go to your setting so you can find it somewhere there. Then, just turn off your overhead lights, and then let as much natural light to come in. Take your photo there, and you’re going to be amazed by just the clarity and the beauty of a simple picture. Again, it’s just a really fun way to show off. Yeah, Show And Tell for adults.
Joe Zuccarello: These are great tips that you’re giving. Who would have thought of turning off their overhead lights. For some of you, you’re like, “Okay, if I turn off my overhead lights, it’s nighttime in my shop.” That’s not going to work, right? Do you have, or are you planning, on having kind of a guide to taking better photos? I’ve got a resource that I’d like to share with the team, but I don’t want to… Maybe something you can provide or something that you do provide.
Monica Cevellos: Yeah, I can provide an additional guide that would be some tips and tricks that you can take and use to make really beautiful photography, and tips that you would not have thought of that are just so cheap. It’s unbelievable. Yeah, I can-
Joe Zuccarello: I do a lot of video work. One of the cheapest things to balance the light, just to have a… Literally, I went to one of these big box stores and I bought this clamp on desk light with a certain wattage and a certain hue of light bulb. It just totally balanced out the light. I didn’t need these big elaborate, tinted lights that photographers use. Listen, I got a puppy budget too on some things.
Monica Cevellos: Yeah.
Joe Zuccarello: We’re starting in somewhere with everything. As we get better, we can afford more, we do that. I’m sure that you have some of those tips and tricks, so I appreciate the offer to put something together for the Hey Joe listener audience. Let’s talk now about, okay, we’re digging in. Now we know why we want to do it. We know we want to do it. What kind of designer or creative service… How do we determine which one will fit my business?
Monica Cevellos: A couple of things for that. First, if you’ve found somebody and you really like them, take the time to look through their work. Take the time to go to their website. What do you see being communicated? What are they talking about? What are they saying? How does their portfolio look? Again, this is somebody that doesn’t have to specifically like Sniff Design where they’ve chosen to cater to this industry. This can be a local designer, or if you have a family member that is a professional designer. There are so many other talented people out there that the best thing to do is just take your time to look at their work, how are they presenting it, and don’t be shy to pick up the phone and call and ask them questions.
I’ll have a fabulous, aka “furbulous” checklist that you can use that will give you just the very questions to ask the potential creative service you’re looking to vet. One of the things too, in regards to that, is maybe how long have they been working? How long have they been providing this service? How extensive is their bodywork? Also, location. If you are looking for somebody and they’re not quite local, are they here in the US or are they overseas? If they are overseas, what kind of look and feel do you garner from their website? Does it look like they have a clear command of English, for example?
Joe Zuccarello: Yeah, yeah. Again, at first I thought well maybe it’s best to have somebody local, but I don’t know if that’s necessary. Maybe local to the United States, and that might be it. A definite big help. Again, you kind of hinted to on the ParagonPetSchool.com webpage under Monica’s episode. She has volunteered to provide a free questionnaire checklist so that you can actually have in your corner questions to ask designers and ask graphic experts and marketers, so that you can hone in on who might be a good fit for you.
Listen, they might be phenomenal. But they might be phenomenal for somebody else, not necessarily for you. We don’t want to say that there are- and there are some not so good ones- but there’s a lot of really talented people, but it doesn’t mean that they understand your business. But to have that checklist provided to you for free at ParagonPetSchool.com by Sniff Design by Monica, who knows you and knows your business already, that’s at least half the battle when you’re trying to vet those people.
Maybe you just want to remove all the complexity and go straight to Monica. Totally your call, but at least you have a tool and option to go in a variety of different directions. One of the things that… I know we kind of teased this in the first episode, but when we start talking about elements of branding of such, one of the topics that we talked about is color. Color evokes a myriad of different emotions. I know that we’re talking right now about selecting and vetting creative designers, but shouldn’t we have some things kind of going into that conversation about… Kind of preloaded in our brain?
One of those might be colors. Do you mind talking to the Hey Joe listener audience about the importance and kind of the different distinctions and feelings it evokes. Guys, this is not just Monica’s opinion, or Joe’s opinion. This is science, folks. I mean, it is clear. You can go and check this out on the Internet and you’ll be shocked at the study behind the psychology that’s supporting color choice.
Monica, can you give us kind of a glimpse as to what you learned?
Monica Cevellos: Yeah, so color psychology really is the discussion at hand that color works at a subconscious level. It’s faster than words or images, and creates a gut response. That’s how powerful it is. A good professional is going to come in and not only know this, but they’re going to be able to utilize that and then help build what you need to be built out, creatively speaking. There are four main personalities that your business will fall into when it comes to determining your colors.
The four are:
Your spring personality. Those tend to be creative, inspirational, expressive. This personality values light, clarity and simplicity.
The second is the summer personality. This is someone whose more refined, aspirational, and elegant. This personality is often considered romantic, organized and focused on the detail. Then also soft, delicate and muted colors tend to epitomize this pallette.
Third is the autumn personality. That actually is me. I’m an autumn. These are passionate, ethical and authentic. The autumn personality tends to have a strong connection to nature or the past. The colors here tend to be warm, intense, muted and prominent. So, think of colors like burnt umbers, or brick reds, pale straws to vintage grays.
Last, winter personality. This is a personality of extremes.
Joe Zuccarello: Like they’re cold hearted like me. I’m waiting for you to hit my season, and so far you haven’t. I’m wondering if I’m in the winter personality. I don’t know.
Monica Cevellos: It could be. Well, they’re luxurious, they’re opulent and dramatic.
Joe Zuccarello: Oh, see? I knew it was me.
Monica Cevellos: These peeps are people with high end experts with no frills and no fuss. The colors here tend to be intense and cool. It tends to be where a black is most appropriately applied. Then think of colors like ice blues, dark blues, sparkling metallics, which I love, blacks and by blacks I mean there are a such thing as warm blacks and cool blacks. Depending on how you use them, they can make your branding look really 3D dimensional, or really flat. Yeah.
Joe Zuccarello: Okay, I get all of that. What I really like about it is that my guess is your list of questions are going to help pull from these business owners, and then it’s going to then try to categorize them. It’s going to try to start putting them into something that’s a natural acceptance to them and something that they can align with, right? Because you’re matching it up to their personalities. What about if let’s say okay I’m the winter personality. We have already identified that.
I’m a winter personality, but I live in a spring personality community. What do we do now?
Monica Cevellos: It’s what do you want your business to reflect? Do you want it to reflect where you’re at community-wise, or do you really want it to reflect you, and then I think in a sense, be more authentic? You’re going to stand out as a result. I think the right professional is going to know how to either help you make the decision for one for the other, or maybe of combination- dun-dun-dun- of the two. Again, something that’s just for you, that’s thought out, that’s explored, and a real one on one experience. Again, we think, dream, eat and sleep in color.
Joe Zuccarello: Mm-hmm (affirmative). We were getting her set during show prep. I was wondering where you were going to go with the answer. But I’m really pleasantly- not surprised, but I’m happy that… There’s a lot of times in product development, which is part of my background in branding, marketing, sales and all of that, one thing, it’s kind of one on one, right? It’s not about us. It’s about them. It’s always about the customer and the customer is the center of our world, and the customers are our nucleus, and blah-blah-blah.
I agree with a lot of that in even doing package design and such. When you put a product out there, it has to attract the customer because if it doesn’t it could be just about me. They may not pick up that product, or in this case, I’m going to purchase our services: light boarding, grooming, or daycare or whatever. So, I like that you said sometimes that duh-duh-duh is… Sometimes it’s a blend. Yeah, this might be me as a personality. Maybe that’s reflected in my logo slightly. But when I put what we do out there, maybe then that’s speaking to the spring personality community that I live in.
I like to say that I’ve been in really cool places in this country, and some people are definitely more outdoorsy type of folks, more naturalists. Some people are not in certain areas. If I’m trying to put on a persona of being somebody from Arizona, I’m trying to bring that flavor to Northern Michigan, maybe a rub.
Monica Cevellos: Yeah, no here in Oregon, it’s just full of people who love trees and nature.
Joe Zuccarello: You know what I call you people up there? Crunchy. I love crunchy people.
Monica Cevellos: Crunchy.
Joe Zuccarello: I do. You’re my granola crunchy people. I love-
Monica Cevellos: Granola is awesome.
Joe Zuccarello: I do, I love crunchy people.
Monica Cevellos: Oh, that’s awesome.
Joe Zuccarello: Yeah.
Monica Cevellos: Speaking of, I am not a crunchy granola person actually. I have somewhat of a blend in that I am an autumn personality, so that kind of folds in. But I love clean, crisp, classy, elegant items too. I love the sparklies. I love the feminine. You’re not going to find me in a flannel shirt. Never. You will find me instead of…
Joe Zuccarello: Even pink flannel?
Monica Cevellos: No.
Joe Zuccarello: No?
Monica Cevellos: I don’t do flannel.
Joe Zuccarello: No compromise? Okay.
Monica Cevellos: Yeah, I know.
Joe Zuccarello: Pink flannel with sequins. We already identified you like the flashy metallic stuff, right?
Monica Cevellos: I do, but you know I also like the retro. I love retro, early American retro, think 1930s and 40s.
Joe Zuccarello: Oh, that’s cool.
Monica Cevellos: Right now, the rose gold and the golds are taking off like crazy. I think it’s beautiful. I really do. But, I love brushed nickels. I love silver. Yeah, a lot of times it’s going to be a blend. Your personality is going to be part of your branding, part of the designing, because it has to be. Otherwise, how the heck is the designer going to know which direction they are to take things? Hopefully, you find somebody that will also be giving you a really good questionnaire where they can kind of ask you a lot of questions to delve a little deeper in finding what you need.
A lot of times, it tends to be a blend. There’s a blending of a lot of things, because we’re complicated. People are complicated.
Joe Zuccarello: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah it’s kind of the complimenting colors on the color wheel, am I right? Color wheel, maybe?
Monica Cevellos: Yes, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Joe Zuccarello: Is that a term?
Joe Zuccarello: I think I vaguely remember that coming out of my art classes in elementary school.
Monica Cevellos: Yeah, complimentary colors.
Joe Zuccarello: That’s it. Complimentary colors, right.
Monica Cevellos: Yes.
Joe Zuccarello: I don’t know, I always mixed them all. They came out like brown, black, whatever. Of course they did, because I’m a winter personality apparently. For the Hey Joe listener audience out there, maybe some are like, “Okay, okay, okay. Where do I start? What is step number one?” Monica, now you’re directly in the ears of all of the Hey Joe listener audience out there. What’s step number one?
Monica Cevellos: Step number one would be going to the site to download a checklist. It’s just going to be reiterating everything that we’ve spoken about here. I will have it broken down so you will have some very specific questions to help that for that right person or creative service for you. Again, take your time to research. Don’t be in so much of a rush. You feel like you end up compromising that because if you do, you usually end up regretting it. So, go with your gut instinct on that one.
Joe Zuccarello: Well, I think in this process one of the things… We’re going to try to make it as easy for you guys as possible, and that is go to ParagonPetSchool.com and unlock the free downloadable checklist on what we’re calling a Designer Interview Guide. One thing I can almost guarantee you is that through this process, I think you’re going to learn something about yourself. In fact, I almost expect that you will learn something about yourself through the process of helping to try to identify who you are and how you want to be represented to your customers.
Again, the colors, the brands, the imagery, all of these things you’re working so hard to do, put it in front of the customer’s face as often as possible. It is your brand and your uniqueness, and what makes you special especially when compared to other pet care providers in your area. Done well, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Done well, it doesn’t have to be elaborate. It just has to be as close to correct as possible, and not abrasive, and welcoming to your customers.
Because, as we’ve often said, we are in a high touch business. Not a high tech business. What captures the emotion of your customers? Again, even if you have a two or three-week waiting list, or you can’t accept another dog in your daycare business or whatever, it’s still important that you represent your brand because your customers need to maintain that confidence with you and your brand beyond the services that you offer. Believe it or not, and I’ve seen this happen a lot of times… Well, heck I could be right now wearing a logo shirt for a golf course, or for a food product, or….
Talk about a brand home run. When they’re wearing your brand on their body, or the dog has a collar with your brand, if they’re willing to wear your brand, you’ve done it well. That’s one thing in the win column for your brand. Would you agree?
Monica Cevellos: I would. Not only are they going to wear your brand, they’re going to be sharing your brand then. That’s what it ultimately leads to.
Joe Zuccarello: Yeah, and there is that brand loyalty that happens where you’re either a Pepsi person, or you’re a Coca-Cola person. Again, them is fighting words in some family reunions, not necessarily the Zuccarello family reunion. Usually, it’s a different kind of beverage. But, to my point, what stake do they have in that brand game? Zero. But they own it for whatever reason. It’s part of them now indirectly. Them, being the individual who is consuming that. I think the brand… People want to be proud of where they spend their money, so give them a reason to do it.
Monica, thank you again so much. You are just an incredible human being, an incredible resource for the Hey Joe listener audience out there. Again, ParagonPetSchool.com and you can find and unlock the free Designer Interview Guide checklist, and Monica might actually throw a couple of other bonuses out there for us. So, be sure to go right away to that and scoop that up, and put it to work for you. Again, just a reminder to the Hey Joe listener audience out there, this podcast thrives on the questions that we receive from our listener audience, just like you.
If you have a question that you would like for us to go and find a subject matter expert on, and present on, it’s really easy to make us aware of what that question might be. Simply email us at HeyJoeQuestions@ParagonPetSchool.com. Monica, thank you again so much. We look forward to hearing from you several times in the upcoming months and years.