Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Complications of Convenience

[guest post]

Recently I was drumming up sharable content for a client’s social media page when I came across an article about how hazardous cooking with microwave ovens is to our health. It piqued my interest and I clicked the link, thus entering that internet vortex we all know too well, where you click on a link, which leads to an article, which leads to a video, and so on, until you eventually come up for air and can't recall what day it is.

Ironically, shortly after reading that article, my ancient microwave had the electrical equivalent of a massive coronary and floated off to that big kitchen in the sky.

Since its tragic passing, I’ve realized I don’t really miss it. The few things I still relied on the microwave for, I quickly learned to prepare in another way. I love the extra counter space its absence has created. This led to noticing other things I am happy to be without. I never buy paper towels. Or napkins. Or dryer sheets. And countless other things that I, somewhere in life, decided were unnecessary expenses that cluttered up life and/or produced too much waste.

I gave some thought to how I came to own certain things, and why I purchase and use certain items or products. Surprisingly, few had solid rationale. How many things have you purchased simply because you didn’t have one, and it was on sale or clearance? Or it was being given away? Or someone insisted you needed one? I’d be willing to bet that of the items fitting that bill, most of them are grossly underutilized.

It’s human nature to associate things with status. Most people equate a bigger house or a nicer car to a higher level of achievement. We will always innately want more for ourselves, to continue growing and succeeding in life. A greater level of convenience is considered a byproduct of living well.

The same holds true for business. Often times we make our businesses more complicated than they need to be, causing clutter and creating waste in the name of growth and expansion. When, in fact, space and simplicity might actually serve us better. Sometimes it's scaling back, like eliminating a service offering or bringing your website back in-house, that shows true growth as a company.


Erika Block has been a professional writer, artist and art director for over fifteen years. She is the owner of Creative Studios, a branding and design agency exclusively working with the art, publishing and music industries. She runs an independent record label, documentary film company and art gallery/studio under the same name. Block also owns Creative Publishing, an independent publisher of creative genre books, eBooks and magazines, including the award-winning national print magazine, VIR·TU·OS·I·TY. You can find her online through

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Consistency Weighs in on Branding Results

So you have a goal for better health?  Here's the challenge: there's so much to do, and do consistently.

Be sure you get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day, do not consume fried foods or sugar, get your exercise, and take your vitamins. 

Personally, I have found it's hard to be consistent with all of these things. For a while I can fit in an hour of exercise 5 to 6 times a week and make better food choices, but portion control is a challenge. Then I work on portion control, take my vitamins and consume more water daily, but I get really busy and reduce the amount of sleep and exercise I get. As a result of the inconsistencies, better health (and weight loss) can be very gradual. Regardless of the inconsistency, an accumulation of weight loss eventually occurs. Steady exercise can build strength and improve energy, but if you interrupt your progress and exercise less, you can take a step backwards. Don’t get discouraged. The one thing I know is that my mom is right: never give up. With determination and motivation you can reach your goals. Short term willpower for temporary change is not the mission. Learning lifelong habits for lasting results is. Once the “should do’s” are being done consistently, faster results will come.
The same scenario holds true for branding your business. 

In order to achieve a healthy business (brand awareness, brand preference, loyal customers, and business growth…) you need to do several things consistently. Failure to do all things consistently will result in slow achievement of your goals and perhaps some setbacks. Never give up. Back up your quality product or service with an exceptional customer experience. Be consistent with your brand message and media strategy. Keep learning and working toward consistent marketing and you will get greater, long standing results.