Streetwise Reports: getting the brand focused in the right direction.

Streetwise Reports feature interviews with industry-sector experts–analysts, money managers and newsletter writers–backed by the latest research summaries, news and company profiles. It’s a combination of information and insight investors can’t get anywhere else.

I was hired last winter by partner Bill O’Neal to help get some some focus on the branding elements is these different websites, working each individual logo, and making sure the sub brands of the various reports did not overshadow the main brand of Streetwise Reports. Fun to work with Bill.

Passionate entrepreneur spreads the word about Thea Holtan’s amazing writing tools.

About a year ago, I met a young gentleman at a MESA group meeting named JJ Parker, Co-Founder of an outfit named Tightrope Media Systems. Long story short, JJ is a highly energetic and passionate guy who was looking for help building a wordpress website to help tell the story of a woman named Thea Holtan who devised a brilliant writing instruction system for kids. Apparently, JJ was one of Ms. Holtan’s pupils back in the day, and swears by her methods for teaching the fine art of research and writing.

To create a website to help JJ spread the word about this, the primary task was telling the story, really breaking down why kids can’t write, and how Thea Holtan’s Thinking & Writing Process can helps kids learn in a simple, logical manner. In a nutshell, the process offers helpful Teacher’s and Writer’s Guides with clearly illustrated instructions that lead the student through the research, organization and writing phases. By following each step, students learn to think logically, and write coherently.

It is very cool to note, however, that the Thea Holtan Website was not a for profit venture for Mr. Parker, at least not what I gathered. But rather, it’s just a project that he wanted to pursue to give something back, or simply create something of value. That I can truly appreciate.

I wish him the best of luck!

Olup & Associates: setting the gold standard for family law in the twin cities.

When an affluent Minnesotan is ready to cut ties with a spouse, attorney Linda Olup usually gets a phone call. Because, when the assets are considerable and things get contentious, Linda is the attorney you want in your corner, not your spouse’s. You definitely don’t don’t want her playing for the other team.

Linda and her firm have been practicing family law for over 36 years, with countless victories to their credit.

Linda heads up Olup & Associates, LLC,  one of the Twin Cities leading family law firms. I was hired by her firm to do some minor re-brandng, and a major overhaul of a site that had close to 70 pages. Having worked with many attorneys in the past, I’m familiar with the somewhat black and white nature of many law websites. In my estimation, many law websites are very grim, bleak, cold even. To really help Olup & Associates stand out, the job was to really breathe some humanity into this site, so that when prospect landed here, they would quickly understand the focus on family law, and the care and sophistication the firm could bring to this highly contentious area of law.

The goal from day one, was to communicate that Olup offered the Gold Standard in all areas of family law. And with over 70 pages of family law content, all carefully edited by Linda Olup herself, the site hits the mark with flying colors.

Homework assignment for the Lemon Network: ‘start kicking ass.’

My Nephew David Zosel attends the prestigious St. Thomas University just across the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN. He’s majoring in entrepreneurship. Didn’t even know that was a major. Interesting.

One of David’s first assignments in the entrepreneurship program is to create a start-up company and generate real revenue by semester’s end. Real revenue, can you believe that? Anyway, David approached me this past Sunday about helping him design a wordpress website for his social media marketing company. His positive energy for the project, and entrepreneurship in general, was quite captivating. I was sold.

Step in the elevator, start pitching.

But before I spend 20-30 hours creating a kickass website that will likely get his team an A on the project, I gave David a little homework assignment. This is the same homework assign I would give any client looking to create a brand that cuts through the clutter, and speaks to the customer right where they live.

Here’s what I asked David this morning to really make the site/brand rock:

1. Unique selling proposition – many call this the elevator pitch. In 25 words or less (50 max), describe why someone would buy from you. Hence, if you were in an elevator, and someone asked what you do, how would you tell your story in 30 seconds? Why is LN different from the burgeoning array of so-called social media marketing companies? Do you work harder? Are you cheaper? Do you keep it simple? Do you make it simple for me, the business owner, who has no clue how to leverage SM?

What makes you different? That’s branding. Everything else is bullshit.

2. Pricing / Packaging – If I’m potential customer, how do we work together? What do I get for my money? How do contracts work? What results should I expect? What am I paying for? What am I not paying for? Would your service work well for my business (B2B or B2C?) You need to clarify these details (and any other ones you can think of) so a customer can quickly decide if they would like to move forward.

When I get more specifics on items 1 and 2, I will design David a kickass branded web presence. Without clarification on points 1 and 2, there’s no point designing anything.

Getting married? Romance Leaders can hook you up with a fabuous destination wedding anywhere in the world.

Romance Leaders is a new division of Travel Leaders, a twin cities based travel agency, that specializes in destination weddings and exotic honeymoon vacations anywhere in the world. We designed and built this full-featured wordpress site for the new division that their in-house marketing staff / travel agents will be constantly updating the content, and creating special private landing pages for clients, new partner pages promoting a number of travel vendors.

With the new features in WordPress 3.42 along with other handy widgets supplied by the Genesis Framework, it was easy to hand the keys over to the staff at Travel Leaders.

At Home Restoration: a very cool WordPress site for a very hip guy. And a monster conversion rate to boot.

wordpress websites

At Home Restoration owner and Expert Finisher Jon Dominguez has a unique passion for refinishing and restoring antiques, furniture, interior wood trim, and cabinetry. But he is unlike most tradesman you might bring into your home. Jon is an artist in the true sense of the word. His mission is to create beauty where none exists. His medium just happens to be wood. His results are impressive, his pricing is reasonable. He loves his work so much, he might even do it for free.

Free, really? As Seth Godin puts it,

“Art is what we’re doing when we do our best work. Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording… but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art.”

And that’s precisely what Jon brings to the table. Like me, he consistently over delivers when it comes to quality, whether the client appreciates it or not. That’s why it was a rare pleasure to create a branded wordpress website for this interesting character. Jon is also a very talented musician and songwriter, BTW. Fun to be around, no doubt.

About the site, it converts at a very impressive rate, probably higher than 10%. Just a guess. But the site competes very well organically for terms like ‘furniture refinishing minneapolis,’ ‘furniture refinishing minneapolis mn,’ ‘wood refinishing minneapolis,’ and many other localized terms that put his site #1 on Google.

BEPA takes WordPress and runs with it.

Business and Estate Planning Analytics (BEPA) is the brainchild of Attorney William White, whose new firm counsels business owners, families and individuals on how to reduce expense, risk and complexity through proactive planning. As Bill puts it, “the cost of doing nothing far outweighs the price of planning ahead.”

Zosel&Co had the pleasure to work with Bill, thanks to a nice referral from lawyer pal and fellow parochial school chum T.J. Conley, one of our first WordPress clients. We designed the branded website using the Genesis Framework which allows to create lots of nice functionality through widgets that allow you to place content in key spots all over the site, pretty much wherever you want.

 

The MESA Group: all about passion, not profit. Believe it or not.

MESA Group brand development

Zosel&Co recently had the pleasure of designing a brand with a group of C-level technology executives who have dedicated themselves to working with Minnesota technology start-ups in hopes of hatching the next Control Data. Technology entrepreneur and founder Todd Krautkremer knows that the Minnesota has a rich history as a home for software giants such as Control Data, Lawson Software, Univac and many others over the past decades. His vision for the Minnesota Emerging Software Advisory (MESA Group) is to assemble a group of seasoned technology executives who can provide experienced counsel in the areas of marketing, operations, finance, capital investment, personnel and any area that can help a technology company start off on the right foot. The group of advisers will provide resources and needed connections on a pro-bono basis, believe it or not.

Why? As Kraukremer points out, he takes a lot of pride in Minnesota as a state that fosters technology, and simply wants to see it return to prominence as a hotbed for software start-ups. More on this project as it develops. Zosel&Co will develop a wordpress website to help the group blog, share ideas and communicate with advisees.

Minnesota Emerging Software Advisory

 

Channelwize hits the ground running with new brand, new website.

Channelwize helps major brands boost sales by persuading dealers to invest in promoting their products. They offer co-op marketing programs that help them leverage budgets with more marketing muscle than they thought they could afford.

Dealers get a comprehensive, geographically targeted Web Marketing program that’s easy and affordable. Marketers get increased sales from dealers who are focused on promoting their brand.

With Channelwize, everybody wins.

WorldFoods: from web virgin to WordPress devotee.


Most food products can be sold through traditional distribution channels without a hitch. When they can’t, Jeff Mattheis of  World Foods can help. World Foods helps food manufacturers who have over-run inventories, or hard to place products, find the distribution channels to sell their products. Mattheis came to Zoselco this Spring looking for an nicely branded website that would tell their story, and help convince food manufacturers that World Foods could help them find profitable destinations for their products.

World Foods had never had a web presence previously, but will now use the site to promote a variety of current product offerings, also in conjunction with aggressive email communications. Just another example of WordPress offering a viable business solution at a very competitive cost.