Thursday 10 December 2015

Born to Sell; What Makes a Sales Champion

Written by Robyn T Braley

When the economy dips, it’s time to dig down deep and evaluate every area of your business. What works really well? What isn’t working well? 

What areas just get by because they have been ignored for years? 

Selling is the fuel that drives the engine of business. No sales, no revenue. No revenue ... well, you know the ending and its not pretty. 

Fuel for Champions

I started writing a single post with tips for honing sales skills. As I got into it, the article became longer and longer and evolved into 10 story ideas. Each is meant to be a quick read by people who’s livelihood depends on sales success.

If you are a sales or fund raising professional, the posts will help you review the fundamentals. If you are a Bootstrapper who is starting a new business with few resources, they will introduce you to basic sales knowledge and strategies. 

Finally, if your life is indirectly impacted by sales – which is everyone – these posts will help you understand sales and sales professionals

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Think As if There is no Box! Creative Solutions for Challenging Problems

Think as if there is no box!

Written by Robyn T. Braley 

Business survival depends on producing results even when economies tank. To keep existing clients while trying to find new customers, the challenge is not to think outside the box. It is to think as if there is no box!

Every market segment is different. They just are. And, that is the fun in working with unique clients.

So, to suggest there are one-size-fits all solutions runs counter to the way we think at Unimark Creative. We like to walk beside our clients, learn more about their needs, and find ways to solve their marketing problems.

I always feel uncomfortable when asked to come up with lists of “must-have” marketing tools. The secret to business success is to identify your client’s needs and provide a solution that will meet them. Simple, right?

Hold on. When hit by an unpredictable economy, business owners are forced to consider programs they may not have considered previously. Some get back to the basics that helped them get started. Others do things they've never done before as they shore up existing business while also searching for new opportunities.

Friday 9 October 2015

Happy Thanksgiving Canada! 10 Reasongs to Just Say Thanks

The turkey says it all. Thanks!

Get that instant lift … just say “thanks!”

Written by Meg Braley

Want a "right this second" way to lift your spirits? Very simple – smile and say thanks! Thank your family members, employees, neighbors and co-workers. 

Right now you’re probably thinking about specific people who are special to you. Call them up or text them. Just say thanks for being who you are and for what you do. 

Why not …

  1. Call a customer and thank them for their business
  2. Call a supplier and thank them for their service
  3. Say thanks to first responders for just being there
  4. Say thanks to armies of volunteers who make our communities richer
  5. Saying thanks to Canadian military for risking themselves to protect us
  6. Say thanks to people you seldom interact with
  7. Say thanks to people who you always interact with
  8. Lift someone's spirits with a thanks and a smile
  9. Give thanks for the amazing democracy and land of opportunity we live in
  10. Give thanks for the opportunity to give back to those who need help

Friday 31 July 2015

Tips For Bootstrapping Your Business With Broken Laces

Tips for boot strapping a start-up

10 Tips for Starting a Business from Scratch

Written by Robyn T Braley

Now is not a great time to be thinking about starting a business. We are officially using the “R” word in Canada. 

In January, 2015, oil prices dropped like a rock into a thick puddle of porridge! 

Later that same year those who were laid-off were running out of their employment insurance benefits. Most have been diligently working their networks and submitting resume’s by the hundreds to no avail.

Some are able to find employment is other parts of the country or even the world where their skills and abilities are in demand. For others, reasons like family eliminate moving as an option.

So, what now? At this point some are deciding to start a business. They do it for one of two reasons
  1. As an act of desperation as there are no other income options.
  2. To seize an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Thursday 28 May 2015

Why Does My Company Website Suck?

Why Does My Company Website Suck?
Websites can be a real head scratcher!

Written by Robyn T. Braley

Does your company website effectively tell your story? Can you answer the question, 
“What makes an effective website?”

Regardless of how new, powerful, dynamic or successful your website is, you will soon be contacted by an “expert” who will tell you, “It sucks!”


The challenge is to sort out what is fact and what is fiction.  A few weeks ago a client told me how frustrated he was with the number of email and telephone contacts he receives from people who speak an unfamiliar language.
What did he say?

Monday 4 May 2015

Why Do I Need a Responsive Website?

Responsive websites adapt to a variety of  formats

Written by Meg Braley 

You may be scratching your head saying “I don’t even know what a responsive website is. How do I know if I need one? How do I know if my current website is responsive?"

Here is the test. When you look at your website on a smartphone, is it just an extremely tiny version of what you would see on your PC? Do you have to zoom in and then move it around until you can read the text and click on links? 

Meg Braley, senior web designer

If that’s what you see, your website is not responsive. In a nutshell, a responsive website automatically resizes to fit the screen of whatever media you are using to view it whether it’s a desktop, tablet or smartphone. When a website is responsive, it gives the user a much better viewing experience. It makes it easier to get to the information they are looking for – the information you want them to have! Using responsive design integrates interaction such as touch screens and makes for a more enjoyable experience for users.

Friday 27 March 2015

Photo Tips for Shooting the Best Possible Pictures for Your Business '

Written by Robyn T. Braley 

Photographs are a highly effective way to tell your story through websites, social media, brochures, advertising and other media. They speak directly to potential customers by providing a window into your brand. 

Photos provide a great way to start building relationships with potential customers. But, as we have discovered at Unimark Creative, they don't just happen by accident!

We have been blessed with exceptional still photo talent. My intention was to include a photo credit with each picture used in this post but space doesn't allow it. So I have to acknowledge Peter Fleck, Roy Ooms, Dave Lazarowych, John Dean, Meg Braley and Laureen Braley for their exceptional work in helping Unimark rise above the competition.

Thursday 26 February 2015

Rick Hanson, Bearcat Murray, and Peter Maher Lead by Example

Chief Rick Hanson interviewed by Jill Belland of City TV
Written by Robyn T. Braley

Since this post was written, Chief Hanson resigned to pursue other career options. Peter Maher retired after a distinguished career as a sports broadcaster. Bearcat Murray just goes on being Bearcat. Each is still involved in the community.

Three men built strong personal brands through hard work and demonstrating a passion for what they do. 

Leaders are busy. Schedules are overloaded by the demands of fulfilling job and career commitments. Add family and recreation time and many leaders reach a schedule saturation point. 

When asked to find time to volunteer in the community, many leaders are thrown into a spasm caused by busyness fatigue.

Leaders Who Lead

In spite of this, every community has leaders who stand out through the gift of their time. They understand the importance of making a difference in the community. 

Calgary is blessed with a long list of men and women who are examples of what it means to be extraordinary leaders in every area of their lives. Somehow, within their frenetic schedules, they find time to give back, to pay it forward. 

Three such men were recently in the news on the same day. They share common values by…
  • Giving selflessly of themselves without any expectation of return
  • Demonstrating leadership by how they live their lives
  • Showing compassion and caring for others

Friday 30 January 2015

Grow Your Brand in Uncertain Times

The Perfect Time to Analyze Your Brand is When Times are Tough

Written by Robyn T. Braley

When economies are threatened by war, trade uncertainty,  natural disasters, pandemics, domestic unrest or changing customer needs, it's time to reassess and realign your brand. 

During the recent COVID lockdown, governments had to intervene in the economy to help companies survive. In a free enterprise-driven province like Alberta or a state like Texas, being forced to accept that reality spoke to the severity of the situation. 

Many companies made it through. They adapted, adjusted and carefully managed their operations as they find ways to survive by finding new markets. 

Other companies were not so lucky. One of my clients manufactured huge five-million-dollar processing units for the petroleum industry. Their market disappeared overnight. 

Thursday 29 January 2015

How to Build a Multi-Million Dollar Brand

Branding begins on the inside.
Written by Robyn T. Braley

Brands are built by delivering on promises to customers. Delivering on promises with continuity, consistency and predictability earns customer loyalty. It's at that point that a brand becomes sustainable.  

However, being predictable doesn't mean you are rigid and don’t adapt or respond to new opportunities or threats. Doing the same thing in the same way for too long can put you into a rut. And, a rut, as they say, is a grave with the ends kicked out. 

While a brand has meaning, it must also remain relevant year after year. As customer needs change, so must your company. Building your brand requires flexibility in order to stay relevant.

It's Not Always About the Logo

Your brand is what customers think it is! It's defined by how they feel about your company, product or service.

Our company, Unimark Creativedid marketing projects for an Alberta based drilling tool company. It was a startup in the true sense of the word. 

Two young men founded the company out of the back of an old half-ton truck. They stored  product on one side of a two-car garage. 

Forty years later the business had grown to become the dominant supplier within the Canadian and US drilling industry. The company was worth many millions of dollars.