“Love what you’re doing or move on.” With Fotis Georgiadis & Shelley Grieshop

Consumers today aren’t just interested in what you produce or the services you offer. They want to know who you are, how you run your business and if you are trustworthy. Some customers are also investigating companies’ political and conservation stances before deciding whether to do business with them. As part of our series about […]

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Consumers today aren’t just interested in what you produce or the services you offer. They want to know who you are, how you run your business and if you are trustworthy. Some customers are also investigating companies’ political and conservation stances before deciding whether to do business with them.

As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” I had the pleasure to interview Shelley Grieshop.

Shelley Grieshop began her writing career in 1997 as a journalist for a daily newspaper. During those 18 years she held positions as a reporter, editor and part-time photographer. She earned more than a dozen Associated Press awards for investigative, feature and hard news stories, as well as feature photos. In 2016, she joined Totally Promotional as a creative writer for the promotional products company. Grieshop currently writes blogs, website content, press releases and more.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I grew up in the pre-computer age and always enjoyed expressing myself with pen and paper. Unlike many classmates, I didn’t growl when asked to write an essay on most subjects. My interest escalated after taking a journalism class in high school and becoming co-editor of our student newspaper.
After dabbling in a few other careers, I spotted a position as “clerk reporter” at a local newspaper and jumped on the opportunity. During the next 18 years, I covered everything from murder trials to lake pollution. Some of my favorite assignments gave me an insight into the special people and talent in our communities. A highlight was taking a ride in a hot air balloon!
But as the newspaper business began to experience financial struggles, I knew it was time to look elsewhere. Four years ago, I was hired as a creative writer for Totally Promotional, a company that customizes all types
of items for businesses, weddings and other occasions. Helping companies express themselves for branding and creating unique memories for life’s special events is exciting and fulfilling!

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing or branding mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Shifting from journalism to marketing in my 50s wasn’t a walk in the park. My coworkers probably have the stories you’d really like to hear! But if I had to name my biggest marketing mistake, it would be not knowing what “branding” really meant when I took this job. Trust me, I did research on promotional products before submitting my resume. I already knew what “customization” and “personalization” were, but somehow the true definition of “branding” escaped me. However, I learned quickly by working side by side with a staff that was well-trained in how to market and brand companies. Thanks guys!

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?

I’ve only been in the marketing/branding business for four years. But I believe I hit that tipping point by developing a good relationship with our team and spending adequate time learning the ins and outs of promotional products. As cliché as it sounds, I think everyone eventually reaches a turning point when they feel successful, even if they still experience ups and downs. For me, it came with renewed confidence in my position and the work I do. My tip would be to ask questions, lots of questions! It not only gives you the answers you need to do your work effectively, it shows others you are willing to learn.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

It seems like we have new projects here almost weekly because trends change quickly in the promotional products business. We are currently putting the finishing touch on a new customer check-out process that is state-of-the-art! It will help our customers walk through the shopping cart process much more efficiently, and know exactly what they’re getting when they click the final purchase button.

What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?

Love what you’re doing or move on. That might seem harsh, but life’s too short to stay at a job you don’t find enjoyable. I think this advice is especially good for people under 30. I’m not promoting job-hopping; if the company you work for is good to its employees and pays a fair wage, apply for another position within.

Helping a business with branding needs requires trained and talented people who are passionate about their job. If that’s not you, it’s probably time to look for something else.

Ok, let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?

Brand marketing or branding is the process used to tell the world (or at least potential clients) who you are and what your mission entails. Product marketing is the process used to promote an item or items. Brand marketing and product marketing are both key elements that businesses need to stay afloat.

Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?

Consumers today aren’t just interested in what you produce or the services you offer. They want to know who you are, how you run your business and if you are trustworthy. Some customers are also investigating companies’ political and conservation stances before deciding whether to do business with them.

Let’s now talk about rebranding. What are a few reasons why a company would consider rebranding?
Brands get stale and companies change courses. Here are a few specific times when rebranding may be warranted:
A subtle change in the types of products or services sold.
New management.
An ongoing decline in profits.
To re-establish a new branding concept.

Are there downsides of rebranding? Are there companies that you would advise against doing a “Brand Makeover”? Why?
Any change taken by a company can have negative repercussions. The ultimate downside is an overall loss of business because consumers don’t like your new brand, don’t understand your new persona, or simply liked the old “you” better. I would never discourage any company from doing a brand makeover, however, very well-established companies should never make drastic changes at once.

Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Can you share 5 strategies that a company can do to upgrade and re-energize their brand and image”? Please tell us a story or an example for each.

5 Strategies to Upgrade and Re-energize Your Brand and Image

1. Redesign your logo. Our staff helps businesses create new logos to customize promotional products. In our experience, companies that make only slight changes to their logo’s fonts, spacing and colors have the most success.

2. Add a tagline. Totally Promotional in 2017 added a tagline to its logo: “Our Products. Your Story.™” Although it can be hard to judge how effective a tagline is to a company’s success, we feel it greatly enhanced our branding by letting our customers and potential clients know how we view our partnership with them.

3. Make a local splash. Regardless if you’re a brick-and-mortar business or an e-commerce company or both, it’s important to be part of your community. Yes, it’s good local PR. But sponsoring a Little League team or passing out customized chip clips at a community festival will create a positive image for you that will spread much further than your city’s corporation limits.

4. Show your employees some love. Providing a few unique perks and rewards will help you stand out from the herd, and will create a good reputation for your company. This almost always leads to a growth in employee candidate pools.

5. Award loyal customers. Giveaways and loyalty cards are popular for good reason: They work! People love to receive free items and good deals.

In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job doing a “Brand Makeover”. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?
I don’t have a specific example, but just take a look at some of the most sound fast-food chains: McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Arby’s … most have succeeded by following the theory that upgrading their buildings and continually changing their marketing ads to appease millennials will increase sales. Any business can do these things. However, it helps to have big bucks to promote the makeover.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

My suggestion for a movement is a lesson on handling what life throws us: THINK, ACT, SOLVE. Get the facts, do what you can to fix the problem, and move on. In my opinion, there is too much bickering in this
world and not enough people trying to find solutions. We so badly want to be right and prove everyone else wrong that we close our minds to others’ ideas and theories. As a side note, I would stress how important it is to admit fault and think about the greater good instead of our agenda or ourselves.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I’ve been inspired by different quotes throughout my 59 years on this earth. However, one that continues to keep me focused: “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.” (Charles Swindoll)

How can our readers follow you online?
I would invite readers to follow the blog I write on Totally Promotional:

Thank you so much for these excellent insights! We wish you continued success in your work.

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