Style of Business

When you are working up presentation ideas for whatever you want to market under the sun, it’s no secret that people have to like the way your images and appearance look. But there is an entire science that lies beneath just the first few thoughts any marketer has about visually appealing goods. Yes, your models and people can be attractive, but what about the WordPress theme, templates, colors, and text? What we have learned from many of our cohorts in media is that it only takes 1/10 of a second for people to form an opinion about your character, and websites are absolutely no different! We predict that that time frame is only going to get tighter, with some publications and bloggers claiming that web designers only have 50ms to make an impression. Even though that’s not a lot of time, there is plenty of positive news, and a lot of it is regarding the solution to appeal to a wide variety of viewers and tactics you can use.

What the most prominent names in the industry have decided is that the first impression depends on a lot of factors, but can be narrowed down just like any other. Key studies in this arena watched eye movement, how long participants took to focus on certain parts of a URL, and the menu, logo, images, and social media icons were the main focus. Many hours of research show that users spend about 6 seconds on a logo before moving on, the most important part, or “header” of a website. The main navigation menu takes a close second, also capturing an average mean time of about 6 seconds by the browser’s eye. The search bar is also a very important component of your website, where users can quickly look for what it is they are on the detective hunt for. When you are dealing with clothing and items in the fashion realm, also realize that first impressions in the web realm are 94% about design. Whether or not the layout is busy, half of all users surveyed say that typography, font sizes, color schemes are the most important things to them.

What most demographics that come out clearly in the wash tell us is that if people instantly like your website, they are willing to compensate for a few hiccups or misgivings down the line. The saying that the “above the fold” area is the most important really rings true, as the first second spent on the website is the most important. Bounce rates and subscription numbers are really the key elements to measure how the website is doing, and making things appealing visually are of utmost importance. Many website owners that we have talked to tell us that blue and green colors in web schemes attract browsers to stay, while other genres like the tones of red and black to convey their idea.

When dealing with a website, visual design and usability are the two most key assets, and it can take a few tweaks to get the idea perfect. In the fashion realm, most frames are best conveyed with the typical image that goes full screen when you hover over it or click on it, and shows you a boutique style image with goods for sale displayed. If the goods you are displaying are visually interesting, your target market will more than hover, they will be engaged and intrigued. The task of taking them happily through the shopping cart process and beyond is imperative, but you can do it with the perfect combination of design and above normal caliber engaging content.

The Art of Anticipation:
Back in the spring, Apple had many people anxiously awaiting their unveiling of the Apple watch, the first brave jump forward in the realm of wearable technology in quite some time. Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed that it was “The most personal device they had created”, and users rave about the useful elements it packs into this tiny wearable device. What is it about this iconic brand that makes it an absolute leader in the art of anticipation? The simple logo, unforgettable command of the market, and way in which the tech crowd truly gets revved up before a release seem unparalleled in the phone and gadget industry.

Before the introduction of the then-so-souped-up 486 processor, Apple’s II C’s were what many used for day to day computing, and users love the fact that the Macintosh did not have a universal language. At times, they were known to be way too expensive, but this trait also fueled consumer desire, as well as the ability to co-exist with XP and Windows Vista with the release of the Mac Book Pro around 2006.

The Excitement of Seeing What’s New: Almost every consumer around the globe wired to the internet knows that with some products, you’re always going to have a line out the door in anticipation. Currently selling three versions of the iPod and with versions of the iPhone seeming to come out more often than your lawn needs to be mowed, it was in January of 2007 that the iPhone was first introduced to a world that was more than anxious for it’s unveiling; the blogs and news wires had been alive for weeks.

Initially coming with an AT & T contract and a choice of 4 or 8 gigs of memory, the capacity was doubled just a year later to 16 Gig memory potential and prices were nearly slashed in half as the world took notice, and they one by one acquired customers that would probably never have a tendency to switch. There are many things different between a Samsung, Droid, and iPhone, but most of the savviest customers on the planet prefer the latter. September 25 is when the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus become available, and we guarantee that many people you know are waiting.

Being One of The First To Hear The News: The success of Apple and the drastically high number of folks who always want to be the first to see what’s cooking in their arena of tech offerings comes at no surprise. This is not quite the same as when America becomes enamored with programs like “Dancing With The Stars,” caught up in the very cultural phenomenon, and talking with everyone on social media to see what they missed. What’s really being cultivated here with great care and prowess is the fact that the apps, gadgets, ability to get email, and take very high-quality photos are right in the palm of your hand. Of course they are also in the same place with Droid and Samsung units, but the mystique and magic carpet element of Apple has always been held in high regard: the iPhone 5 sold two million units in the first day of pre-ordering alone.

Years ago, Apple overtook Nokia as the world’s largest smart phone maker by sheer volume, and the large draw to it’s features and appearance is more epic than ever. Being one of the first to hear what features these hot devices will have, all the specs available, and what will happen with the megapixel capability and more is all part of the visionary ride to anyone obsessed with Apple. Truly more of a brand that was portrayed in movies that really showed us what the future would be like, Apple will always hold the key to many geeks and artist’s hearts; what’s really changed is that the rest of the entire sphere of tangible consumers is now fully, (and quite happily), on board.

Staying focused in a world that is so technology driven takes a lot of versatility, diligence, and fervor to accomplish things and get them done. Confucius the wise man himself actually once said, “he who chases two rabbits catches none.” As hard as it is to recognize the fact that working on more than one task at once will waste valuable time, “Life hacks” have been defined lightly as tools that make the “chaos of everyday life easier and more efficient.” When users trade these tools across the web and through other mediums, many entrepreneurs, busy folks like teachers, and medical professionals or students realize that there are many new (and old) ways to juggle their workload more efficiently and more than just survive, but thrive. We are going to haplessly claim that productivity life hacks ARE the new way of getting things done, as we dig a bit deeper.

The life hack that we found the quickest seemed simple enough: just to wake up before everyone else. As routine and run of the mill as that may seem, some of the most successful people in the world have told us that it is absolutely true. A wildly successful website owner told us that “the reason successful people wake up early isn’t to always work, it can be to waste time.” We were a bit shocked by that, but during an interview he told us that since there is such a large amount of work to be done, that the wee hours of the morning are best used for recreation. And for some CEO’s and tech gurus, that just means finding the time to glean news sources, trade journals, and the like. We believe that one of the best other life hacks we encountered was to “tackle topics you despise first.” But doesn’t that sound like it could lead to the opposite of being productive?

Much of the truly unpleasant work can be tasks in the financial realm like budgets, or customer complaint forms, especially if you are on the lower end of the current totem pole. The best truth behind this life hack is that once you get done with a few solid hours of the tasks that you enjoy least, your brain power will implode exponentially. And who doesn’t enjoy feeling like they just had a few Red Bull drinks as far as the checklist killer realm? Another of the life hacks that we found from multiple blog sources was about a topic that some love, but some dread: meetings. The mantra/life hack of “keeping meetings to a minimum” surprised us a bit, but we dug deeper to look for the silver lining.

In the days where budgets were never trimmed and people actually wanted their employees to have fun 24/7, meetings were thought of as productive, a way to have a bit of a roundtable and perhaps even bond. But as many different tasks loom and more than ever needs to be accomplished, the time spend handling the accounts could be much wiser than the time spent mulling over past notes. Either way, keeping meetings to a minimum has helped many of our cohorts. One who was an owner of a prominent shoe company in Los Angeles admitted that, “we realized much of what was accomplished was just as easy done over instant messenger, and as long as employees were praised and rewarded for good work, cutting them to a minimum was a great choice.” And hey, we know everyone likes a break, but the load in your inbox simply hasn’t shrunk the last hour, as much as you’d like it to!

Keetria_Benchmark Check out my recent interview with Andy Shore of Benchmark Email where I dish out my two cents on PR and marketing. I’ve worked with many talented artists, celebrities and companies and in this podcast episode I share my insight and experiences. Be sure to check it out below. Thanks for your support!

Technology, trending music and the tragically hip editorials that many are interested in is what GrungeCake has been wonderfully doling out the last time we took a look. Popcan Bonds, Blitz The Ambassador, and Dawn are all in the latest issue of this slick publication that was conceived by creator Richardine Bartee 12 years ago. A true authority on all different kinds of acts, fashion, acts of prowess and humility among artists, and a vibe that surpasses the simple “urban” spectrum, GrungeCake is rolling dominantly across the digital landscape larger than ever. A variety at large collective of reviews, artist management mantras, and presentation of art, people are no doubt paying attention to the diverse and iconic platform.

Recently tweeting that she was delighted about a pair of Vans she received and excitement about teaming up to create a girl powered playlist for Cherrybomb Music, Richardine is an avid personality that has interviewed some of the hottest talent on the globe. With a very targeted and specific taste, this online publication is supportive to artists and cultivates a rich style with just a touch less bling than the other mags and blogs out there.

This month on Instagram The Black Opera claimed that she has been “reppin since conception”, and praised Richardine for her business sense and overall evolution. GrungeCake itself had its humble beginnings as a sparsely circulated twice yearly publication, and now is a full time media offering with coverage of this year’s Cannes event, just for starters. A Mad Max review, a feature on Express accepting Apple Pay, and an article on Beats By Dre’s latest collaboration with MCM are all presented with sharp clarity and wit in the latest written pieces.

The show “Shark Tank” has become wildly popular; it’s premise is all about up and coming entrepreneurs making the ultimate pitch for cash to investors. In her pitch on the program, Richardine suggested a service crafted to bring back some better fundamentals and credibility to the music industry as a whole, that has been suffering a chiseling away at its image over the last decade. Also helping out in the testing of “Audibase,” she tests it out for overall ease of use and debugging; after a few more rounds of investment this will surely be a sweet thing in the industry. A format for sharing longer clips of audio on blogs, websites, and the like, she absolutely recognized the promise and potential of the service that’s still at the drawing board.

Flashback Fridays, awesome playlists, songs of the day, and very introspective reviews are all offered in the music section. Fully pulling off the ability to give news, provide true insight, and upper caliber opinion of what’s going on in the music realm, the overall vibe of GrungeCake is a bit more durable and deep than some. Not possessing the fully plastic theme and presence that some online forums have, there’s a bit more raw goods and catchiness here, much like the way that “Vice” lays down the law. To the point grit and advice within track reviews such as “Would I buy it? no. Should you buy it? If you want to” lean towards the brief, not heady opinions that many are looking for in today’s internet world. What we really commend GrungeCake and Richardine  for is following through on vision; as a child she wanted to do interviews and publicity for figures in entertainment & music. Her vision and success is refreshing as ever, and now she’s the purveyor of an internet hive of pleasantly hip, and skillfully entertaining content.


For many decades , there were rules in the marketing world that some just didn’t break. Product development, testing, ad writing and really all aspects of branding were held to a certain business model. The cookie cutter rules did work. Even in the early days of the computer age, there was pretty cut and dry product testing, focus groups, and means of getting people to buy. The saying “The future has no road map but the past surely does” applied to marketing and branding in many ways. In the past there were many brands that used the cookie cutter method to really step up and succeed. One truth in the web and smartphone app ruled climate of the current time is that when you stumble upon a true cookie cutter marketing approach, it’s probably not going to work as well as you intended, especially if you’ve failed to incorporate your own ideas and concepts.

What a cookie cutter approach really does is emphasize a certain process. Within that process, there are charts, data, and of course, instances from the past where certain things did and did not work. While many clothing labels, soft drinks, sports teams, and even music acts benefited from the cookie cutter approach, there are some reasons why it can be a huge no no. If truly using the wrong angle and agenda, you can waste thousands on storyboards and campaigns that never even end up being parked in front of anybody. After gleaning many blogs and marketing how to material portals, we found a kind of approach that can be a bit more rewarding than a cookie cutter method. There are all sorts of products on the market these days, from dating apps and sites, to personal concierges and dog hotels. Each one of these must take a somewhat unique marketing approach to thrive. We especially loved the treatment of Jaguar cars in the TV show Mad Men, personifying the car as a mistress.

In an approach that will hopefully work for marketing, the first objective is to look at inside sales vs. outside sales structure. PPC campaigns need to be multi-layered, and not just on one prominent social media platform. When dealing with lead nurturing, we found a great quote from the popular website Hubspot. It tells us, “Offer something of value first, not just a sales pitch.” Companies that skip this always lose out in the long run, and wind up confused about whey they did not reach sales goals. Within the realm of emails, there are definitely some data backed aspects that follow a more cookie cutter created pattern, and of course the timeline between emails sent is always going to be a fairly structured. SEO guidelines, as much of a new science as it is, need to not fall under old patterns of thought as well. In the universal world of service, offerings of bronze, silver, and gold packages will yield you some customers, but we have found that businesses truly want to invest in solutions with evolved professionals. We challenge you to find what it takes to evolve, and not just “dole out snacks” of cookie caliber. For once you accomplish this task, your business and the way you do business is going to reach epic proportions during 2015.

Templates, WordPress themes, icons, graphics, and the like all fall under the kind of intellectual property that can be sold digitally online. What you are looking for in a platform that sells digital goods is a place where a customer can buy the item, check out with a form of payment, and then have access to your creation. Here we’ll look at 5 options for doing this, and getting that passive income dream kindled and burning.

Easy Digital Downloads:

The real plus side of this is that it uses the WordPress interface to effectively sell your goods online. Voted by most as one of the quicker ones to setup and maintain, the graphs and reporting available are also top notch; and you can really hone in on what is working and what isn’t. For the most part just the usual payment processor fees and the purchase of a few standard extensions that are the norm for this portal. Built in discount codes, the ability to provide payment giveaways, and thorough software licensing add ons to boot.

Send Owl:

The monthly fees are only from 9 to 40$ per month here, but you DO keep all of your sales profits from this service. The payments aren’t held for any length of time, and it works with and Paypal. The built in affiliate tool is a very strong point of their model, and their security receives very high marks along with the varied language platform. A great “pay what you want” feature lets people give you suggested donations while not undercutting too much, or going below a certain point. Another great aspect of this service is the “instant buy” feature, where it’s so quick that the customers don’t even need a shopping cart to check out.

Woo Commerce:

One of the most recognized names out there, this is a great portal for ebooks, music, and just about any digital product you can think of. You get the choice of whether or not your products are downloads or virtual take-aways, and ease of tax processing is one of the best features of Woo Commerce. There are lots of payment gateway extension, coupon campaigns and other marketing options, and they power nearly a fourth of all e commerce websites. What many recommend as the only way to do business, Woo Commerce is streamlined, simple, efficient, and all around very popular.


One developer told us that Shopify is absolutely the best and most versatile e commerce tool out there. Customers get access to the content they get from you instantly, and any product updates you have are forwarded to customers as easy as pie. Another developer out on Portland told us that since installation and use a year ago, she has literally not had a single glitch or issue. Quickly gaining popularity, and ranked high for ease of use, it’s a very simple to use and efficient extension to any shop. The vintage goodness, deli, and beauty themes are just a few offered that are diverse enough to attract even the savviest web surfer.

E Junkie:

The main premise here works off of just simple buttons that are placed on the site where the digital items you need sold reside. All the usual payment processors such as Paypal,, TrialPlay, and 2Checkout are accepted. Ebooks, mp3 tracks and albums, fonts, artwork, and event tickets are all digital goodies that can be peddled here. Some don’t like the fact that they feel the buttons appear a bit outdated, but vendors love how easy they are to install on a site. There are no transaction or bandwidth limits, and inventory management, analytics, and check out page customization are all available for the E junkie seller in you.


The platform that is truly known as one that you can add your products to with zero hassle. They handle the payments with true professionalism and ease, they have free store and product pages, and it is incredibly easy to sell on Facebook, a prime feature. There’s nothing like creating a page full of art or goods and realizing you have a new partner that will allow you to sell easily. Plugging into an existing WordPress theme is simple as pie, and selling digital downloads and streaming is a breeze. Also in the emerging market potential of selling tutorials, Selz incorporates easily and allows you to teach virtually your knowledge to the entire digital realm.


It can be draining to perform the same tasks day after day, even when they are profitable and your overall business plan is succeeding. When it comes to shipping, fulfillment, processing and just plain brainstorming, it can really take a lot out of you. There’s a saying that goes, “Even when all the news you hear is good, and things are on the up and up, something in your mental health could still pay the price.” Having a fresh perspective is necessary in the entrepreneurial world that without it, you may struggle. If you are managing a brand or product that is wildly successful, you may begin to obsess over tracking results, especially late into the evenings. The importance of spending time away is more and more relevant in the digital world, as we spend less time face-to-face and more hunched over laptops and tablets.

The writer who needed a rainy retreat:

A recent article from a well-known blog was about a literary agent in New York who worked from home. Whenever she stepped out, there was lots of noise, honking horns, and a sea pedestrians and traffic. She did realize how much it was really taking its toll on her day-to-day to activities. She was getting everything done, but her overall state of well being and outlook on her career was getting worse. When dealing with folks on the phone, she was becoming more irritated, and burning out quicker in the evening. She took a vacation to Portland, where she spent time cooking healthy food, hearing the rain overhead, and reading her favorite books instead of writing and producing. She claimed that upon her return, she was more rejuvenated than ever, and eager to tackle her daily tasks. The main difference was made in her outlook; when she saw the world ebb and flow without her running around trying to get everything done, she was well prepared when the time came to produce again. Back home, the noisy streets and deadlines didn’t seem as bad, she was able to retain some leftover peace.

Be careful when the going gets tough:

There are some sure fire signs that you are in emergency need of refuge. Don’t ignore them! When you begin daydreaming all day about your favorite vacation spot, it’s time to make the call to book it. When you begin to slump down over the keyboard and only wish you were at Cabos or the Grand Canyon, you’re headed for trouble! Especially in the realms of marketing and sales, reaching extreme burnout’s going to leave you in incredibly hot water; you do not want to react the wrong way in front of a potential client or new gatekeeper! These roles are the most susceptible to burnout, as dealing with people on the front lines all day can get tedious, especially during negotiation. Having time to get enough rest, the proper foods for fuel, and easing strain on your creative mind with just a two day vacation can really pay off in the long run. When you arrive back in the door from a trip to the San Juan or even just a close cabin jaunt outside they city, you’ll be well refreshed. Yes, you’re allowed to take your laptop, but beyond that, let the fresh air take over, and feel the chaos escaping you by the minute.

creativity_lightbulbs 2When your mind isn’t creative, there are going to be many elements that suffer. Sure, you can just churn out the work that needs to be done, but your upper end of production is simply not being reached. To truly revitalize yourself could take many different activities and avenues, because your best work is not going to come through when you are not at your optimum output level. Putting the right things into your body and making sure you commit to truly taking care of yourself are  essential! Whether creating content or being on your best productive level, these tips are important for you to make sure your mind is sparking your brain to produce the valuable goods you know you can.


This is so mandatory in your mantra because the nourishment that our bodies thrive on is a key to brainpower that makes it be able to constantly produce. Just like the need for water, the need for energy food is dire in your system. Antioxidants found in berries are crucial, and the anti-inflammatory properties of them are beneficial. It has also been shown that eggs have properties that enhance memory, and salmon has a lot of ammunition such as iron and B vitamins for reasoning. Eggplant has also shown to enhance communication with brain cells and the molecules themselves that make up our systems; you’re always going to perform better with at least these types of foods as a starting point.


When your heart rate is up, a lot of things are going to happen. First of all, your creativity factor will rise just based on the fact that you automatically feel better about yourself once you start moving. There is a period after the initial rush where your muscles may relax enough to where you don’t actually feel productive. We believe that the best time to fester creativity is while you are getting the exercise! When the treadmill is rolling or the bike is cruising fast downhill, you’ll map out all sorts of new possibilities. Just like any element, it needs to be timed perfectly, but getting exercise is going to help you right off the bat.


When you are staring a large project down in the face and at the beginning point of its life cycle, its so important to take a crucial step back. Keeping your creative mind focused does involve starting with a blank slate, and seeing what you are capable of in the long run. During a moment in which you are not feeling fully creative, brainstorming is going to involve asking yourself questions. Where does your business go from here? Am I spending too much time on unimportant tasks? And if you are in the slogan or logo department, you can really benefit from brainstorming. Writing out huge flowcharts of ideas is always to your advantage, and you can take small elements from each new idea to build one large final idea. Another large part of brainstorming is going around the table asking all sales or creative personnel their opinions on any new ideas on the horizon.

Close Friends:

Just having someone to lean on that knows your true creativity is always going to help. Being through thick and thin with a close friend will absolutely help your creative mind. When someone that has known you a long time is helping you in the creative process, you’re going to always trump whatever elements you are facing. Looking at a blank canvas can always seem daunting, but when people that have known you through thick and thin come into the picture, the creative light may shine down on you sooner and in more abundance. Truly hearing what everyone that cares about you has to input on your situation will stoke your creative scale in a good way.

Close Friends and Peace/Down Time:

When you don’t have to be going full force and taking care of all your daily tasks, downtime and being away is one of the best boosts to creativity. Just ridding yourself of all the over stimulation and stress that daily life brings with it can really make you whole again. It doesn’t have to be a getaway in a different location, it can just be some time in a room with not as much light or relaxing music. Even though it is not as kinetic, and energy-laden as a brainstorming session, peace and down time is very essential to the creative mind. After being fully powered down for awhile in a zone where the daily pressures don’t manifest themselves, creating and being successful can sometimes reappear naturally after some downtime. Revitalizing the creative mind can be a long process, but these tips will help point you in the right direction.


Every marketer or entrepreneur knows the feeling of having several large projects that need immediate attention and completion, the ones that are vital to the survival of your commerce. A new business plan, doing taxes, maintaining your creative content, and going over invoices are part of the vital stream of tasks to stay afloat daily. Then you will have others like business to business phone calls, reading articles and other content to stay up on important trends, and looking for applications and software to streamline your process down the road. At the beginning of the year is when you are always going to plan what you really want to make happen, and it can feel daunting. But there are a few ways to at least break all of these large goals into smaller pieces.

Initial Brainstorming: plugging in early

When you know you are going to have enough tasks to keep you busy for a while, one thing that will help off the bat is utilizing time increments or sessions to narrow down the work it will take for the finished product. One very good rule of thumb during this process is to take the list of things that need to be done and write just a short sentence about it, such as: “This is such an important part of my marketing process because it involves learning code like Java.” Then, you have the very important tree of information written down that involves what you have to do, even if it’s broken down into 20 steps. These little “micro tasks” can be as quick as jotting down important updates, to going back over things you have already completed to see if there are any comments or additional updates on them. This type of brainstorming really helps because it can take place over a long period of time and does not threaten your fixed regimen.

The Periodic Process Review

When you have different things to do that seem to be the mountain too hard to climb, there’s one great thing you can do that at least may keep you in perspective and have you re-evaluate how hard you need to work. Whether it’s over your micro tasks or the entire final product, it’s more than just checking things off that are done. You really can stand back, take a look at how your overall progress is going, and make room for more growth. It’s almost like having one tab open, opening another and zooming out a bit, but can be done. Beyond just what tasks did you accomplish, you are really sizing up what the next week or so may have in store. And most importantly, don’t get discouraged over the things that you didn’t complete; you’ll be motivated to get an extra strong cappuccino and knock it all out soon.

Truly Envisioning your Success: The Finish Line

One of the hardest parts about breaking your large scale projects down to size is the sense that you’ll never get everything done. You absolutely WILL, and it can all come down to one beautiful, discerning moment on the finish line. Completing the hard tasks always seems like it may not be worthwhile while you’re doing them, but they will be. While doing extensive market research, you can come across a lot of dead ends. Many stories and facts just link back to each other with no real worth, and everyone’s trying to replicate the same success. The new year is the absolute best time to line up your priorities and size up the items that will make you the most successful. The projects and finished goal of perhaps being featured by someone you admire, or emulating their success will keep you permanently fixated; 2015 would be stellar to really knock it out of the park in terms of goals.