Saving our planet; one bag at a time

February 10, 2009

Refashion is a great concept. Kind of cradle to grave to cradle…

Ever imagined them yucky plastic bags could become fashionable and eco-friendly?

An exhibit held last month at an LA store featured one-of-a-kind dresses made from plastic bags and other recyclable materials, designed by local L.A. artists.

Reusing plastic grocery bags and other material like cardboard, mussel shells, string, burlap fabric, wire and Christmas lights, the designers created pieces to demonstrate “how a mundane object, often used as a trash receptacle, can create stylized, eye-catching, inspiring creations.”

The world over, plastic is going out of fashion. Several cities are bringing in legislations restricting the use of plastic and eco-friendly initiatives are garnering attention.

We at Norquest are also doing our bit in this direction. See

Green is “in” and you too can be part of the growing bandwagon of eco-conscious citizens. Get yourself a reusable bag to start with and you’ll be doing a lot towards saving the environment.

February 3, 2009

Perception IS reality. Good guys DO finish first.

People judge you by what you do, not what you say.

Close your eyes for a moment. Now think of Rolls Royce. Or Mercedes, or Nike, or Toyota.

Each of these names evokes very clear thoughts, feelings, and images. They all have a strong corporate identity, or brand, associated with their name, and it is no accident. These companies have spent a lot of money getting you to conjure up specific images and feelings when you think about their business.

So the idea of creating a brand for your business is really quite important. While it might seem that creating a brand is beyond your reach, that branding is a concept for the “Big Boys,” think again. Branding is something you can, and must, do too.

Now think of your favorite hairdresser, or restaurant. Chances are that the images are equally clear. That’s what makes them your favorites. They know what they are all about and have taken the trouble to make sure that you share the same perception.

What this proves is that you don’t have to be a big multinational to build a successful brand.

Here’s why: Boiled down to its basics, a brand is the essence of what makes your business unique. It combines your name, logo, and purpose into an identifiable whole. Are you the friendly lawyer, the holistic market, the geeky computer consultant, or what? Without a brand, you may find that instead of being all things to all people, you are nothing to no one. A brand is a hook to hang your hat on, so that people remember you, which is probably more important to a small business than anyone else.

You begin to create a brand by carefully thinking about what your business is, what makes it unique, who your customers are, and what it is they want. Deciding upon a brand is vital because many other decisions will hinge on this one. Your name, logo, slogan, even the location you choose and your pricing structure depend on the brand you are trying to create. A discount motorcycle warehouse will put things together far differently than a Harley showroom.

You want to create a consistent theme through your ads, pricing, logo, etc. which reinforces the image you intend to create.

But branding goes even beyond that. Since your brand is based both on how you want to be perceived, and how you are in fact perceived, it follows that the other half of brand building is creating positive perceptions based on substance as well as style. How?

1. Discover what you do best and do it, again, and again, and again: A brand is a promise which essentially boils down to: ‘If you buy from us, and you know what you will be getting’ e.g., Volvos are safe or Atkins helps you lose weight. The key is consistency.

2. Offer superior customer service: All your hard work creating that cool brand will be a waste of time and money if it isn’t reinforced by happy customers. Customers should find it easy to work with you or buy from you.

3. Be a good guy: If your business practices good ethics, your brand grows. While good looks may get you a date, being a good guy will get you a mate. Pay invoices on time. Do more than asked of you. Do things when not asked. Help out in the community. That also builds your brand.

Remember, the two keys to establishing a strong brand are developing a specific identity, and then communicating that identity consistently. Do that, and your small business will have a hook that is memorable.

In today’s world when plastics are now perceived universally as being harmful, using a reusable cotton or a canvas bag to promote your brand immediately positions you as being a good company that cares about its environment.

Wouldn’t that be expensive? Stop by at and see how economical they can be.

Remember that bags have been proven to be the best bang for your promotional buck. Read this research to know what great value they can deliver.

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