Two new tricks for entrepreneurs: 1. Eat your own dog food 2. Crowd-source your creative requirements.
Firstly, please allow me declare a vested interest: I am proud to be one of the co-founders of Concept Cupboard. Secondly, may I also clarify, Concept Cupboard is not a brand of dog food - it’s a cupboard, that is full of concepts.
More accurately Concept Cupboard is an on-line marketplace that enables businesses to buy creative marketing services from creative people, especially students who want to build a creative portfolio (to help them get a great job when they leave university).
Next month Concept Cupboard will celebrate the second anniversary of it’s launch - which in itself is a momentous achievement. Success first demands survival.
Despite Concept Cupboard’s many successes: the awards; the 187 briefs posted; the c. £100,000 earned by students; and the 1,312 creative concepts submitted - until now, I hadn’t actually used the service myself.
I have always advocated the importance of entrepreneurs using and testing their own products - as we say in the UK: “you have to eat your own dog food”. And so I just did - in order to create a proper identity, logo and avatar for the Tall Man Business blog.
Ta-da - and here it is - beautifully rendered in the new black banner at the top of the screen. A clean, crisp, professional new logo that can be used across different social media in order to create one image for the blog that hopefully over-time people will come to recognise (and I hope, love). Well done Tom, the winning designer, (who recently graduated from Bath Uni) - and Marina for the amazing photographer.
So what did I learn?
- I am delighted that my brief received an amazing 1,882 page views
- Resulting in 41 finished logo designs being submitted for my consideration
- I’m extremely pleased with how easy the whole process was
- I spotted a couple of minor bugs and UX issues which we’re fixing, that will improve the user experience
- But it was easy and worked well
- The quality of the designs far exceeded my expectations - the submissions were quite polarised, I’d say c. 50% were brilliant, 50% not so good. I have worked in marketing for 26 years and the best designs were definitely professional-grade
- It cost me £300 (£250 for the designer and £50 listing fee)
- It’s pretty much risk free - had I not liked any of the designs, my only financial risk was the listing fee. (You feel less financially obligated than if you commission a freelance designer directly)
- The experience was so compelling it was addictive. I got an email message every time a new design was submitted. When you get this email, all you want to do is see what has been submitted
- I felt good about it. Not just because it’s a business in which I have a vested interest, but primarily because I felt compelled to take care with the feedback I gave each designer because I wanted to give them something constructive in-return for the effort that they’d invested in providing their creative submission
I’m delighted by the outcome. I love the logo design that has been created. It’s been a totally brilliant experience creating it with a group of designers who are amazingly talented.
So the most important lesson for entrepreneurs and start-ups is: if you and/or your business is currently trying to sell stuff with a brand and identity that is tired an in need of a make-over - stop wrestling with an unattractive brand and put a brief on Concept Cupboard and let your brand do some of the heavy-lifting for you.
And, help creative students acquire valid commercial experience in the process.
Crowd-sourcing creative works. And those that know me, know that despite my interest in Concept Cupboard, I’d say if it didn’t.
Secondly - what ever your line of business, invest the time to ‘eat your own dog-food’ - I don’t just mean the usability testing that all on-line businesses do - I mean really, walk in the shoes of your customers. Although this is not a guarantee of success, one thing is absolutely certain: your business will only ever be as good as the stuff in the tin - so make the stuff in the tin good.
Finally, Concept Cupboard has very kindly agreed to give a 20% discount off the listing fee for new briefs posted (for the first 50 customers to take advantage of this offer) - simply enter the promotional code ‘Tallman’. Do it. Do it now.
Ta-da - Tall Man Business just got itself a new logo.
Now that I’ve actually posted some twenty five blog posts, I thought that it was time to create a logo and identity for this beast.
So where does one go for such things? Well, being that I’m one of the co-founders of a small business called ConceptCupboard.com a crowd-sourcing site for creative, obviously I’m going to look in my own cupboard first.
I’ll write separate blog posts about:
- why this blog is called Tall Man Business
- I’ll share what it was like to use Concept Cupboard - good and bad
- and what entrepreneurs can learn from this experience
I hope you like the logo - I love it: clean, simple, uncluttered.
And so, a huge round of applause please to:
Logo design: crowd-sourced via ConceptCupboard.com - huge thanks to Tom and John at Studio Jubilee: http://studiojubilee.com
Photo of me: taken during an entrepreneurial network event in Croatia in Jan 2013 by the talented Marina Filipovic Marinshe: http://marinshe.deviantart.com/
And of course, Adam at Concept Cupboard, for actually installing the logo on the blog for me.