Brand Interview: Paula Mottshaw Communication & Design
How long has your company been in business? Please tell us a bit about your company, its mission, goals…
I have been a solopreneur for about a year now. Prior to that, I worked for a few different non-profit healthcare organizations, including the quality improvement organization for Rhode Island, providing marketing communications support for different project teams. The support included assisting with marketing strategies, graphic design and writing/editing/proofreading for marketing collateral (brochures, annual reports, magazines), as well as web site support and a bit of public relations. After losing my full time gig, I decided to take more control of my destiny and became an entrepreneur. Think of me as a virtual marketing department.
I have two specialties:
Healthcare, including hospital systems, quality improvement, home health care and physician offices.
Gardening, especially small scale vegetable growing.
My goal? Providing clients with superior customer service while providing marketing support to accomplish identified business goals. I strive to keep my work process with clients streamlined and simple. I have a deep understanding of the industries I serve, and really care about the success of my clients.
Do you donate to charities? Tell us about that also and why.
I sometimes donate to charities but my focus is on volunteer work. Why? I feel strongly about giving back to my local community. I sit on the Zoning Board in my town (Foster, RI) and serve as secretary; and, I volunteer with URI’s (University of Rhode Island) Master Gardener Program.
Tell us about your brand.
How did you know what typeface (font) would be right for your company wordmark or logo? If your logo has an illustration, describe why that art was the right thing, animal, place, object, etc…
I actually created my logo during my last semester at RISD while completing the web design & development program. My motto is to keep it simple – that helped me to choose a very simple (and easy to read) font. As for the illustration in my logo… I included a hand-drawn pencil to represent the creative process.
How did you decide on the right color palette to fit your company look and feel?
Since I serve both men and women, I wanted to have color palette that included both masculine and a feminine colors. I stumbled onto the color combination – brown and pink – by accident. Each year I mail out a hand made Christmas card. The year I got my puppy, I created a card (a birth announcement that was disguised as a Christmas card) that was brown and pink, to coordinate with her brown & white markings. I really liked the color combo and have used it on various projects since then, including my logo.
How did you decide which type of designer to work with, or did you design your own identity and web presence?
I designed my own.
In what order did you present your company to the world? Did you start with marketing and products, or website, blog and social media?
I started with a web site, so I would have a way to show my portfolio online. With the explosion of social media, having an online presence has never been easier, especially since much of the options are free!
How long after the launch of your company did you start pitching in social media?
I’ve been active on social media for the past couple of years. Professionally, I use LinkedIn to connect with individuals and groups. In addition to being a place to connect, LinkedIn is a great place to learn. I look for a variety of groups, including groups that may include potential clients. I look at social media maybe about an hour a day, just enough so I can participate in any interesting discussions and click on links to valuable information to read later.
Did you do research or study any software, take webinars, teleclasses, before approaching any area of your marketing or web presence?
Yes. Part of my service line includes graphic design and web development, so I studied for years and took lots of classes and tutorials. Continuing education is important to me, and I dedicate time each month to learn something new. One of my favorite on-line tools is Lynda.com.
Do you advertise locally in newspapers and/or nationally in magazines? Are they effective?
No, not to date.
Do you advertise online using Google, Facebook or on other company sites? Are they effective?
I don’t do any paid advertising at the present time. I focus more on email marketing and making professional connections (building relationships). I also do a guest blog for Small Business Centr, writing on topics of interest to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Maybe at some point I’ll try advertising and see if it’s beneficial.
Which social media site to spend the most time on and how does it help marketing your business?
LinkedIn, definitely. I scan the questions posted in the groups I follow that relate to my business – I try to post helpful responses that are actionable that can be used by the person posting the question. I think this approach helps to demonstrates expertise and helps to further connect with other professionals.
Do you belong to community sharing websites? Which ones and how effective are they in building your audience? What are the best features that help your business?
When you printed your products, packaging, business cards and other print marketing did you choose an online printer or visit a local vendor?
The one piece of marketing material I have is a business card. I tend to print in small quantities because I’m always tweaking the design for a particular use. For example, I recently started attending in-person networking events and wanted to create a card that said something more about me than my name and number. I sent my design to Moo.com for printing. They provide top notch customer service and a terrific product.
Did you know anything about different types of papers, when you wanted to print your marketing materials?
Yes, I did. I enjoy looking at all different options.
Have you ever used “green” technology in printing, using FSC certified papers or recycled paper and if not, how likely are you at trying this on a next project?
I am very open to using green technology in printing, but have not used it to date. This technology supports my personal principle of sustainable living.
Do you speak at events? If so tell us about that.
I haven’t, but that’s on my list of things to do. In addition to being a communications & design entrepreneur, I also co-authored a how-to gardening book for beginners – Growing Vegetables Made Easy. The plan was to approach local garden centers and offer talks about how to grow more of your own food.
What is coming up in the year or two we should watch for?
My next book. How to grow the perfect tomato. It should be published in 2013.
Is there anything you haven’t yet tackled, but will want to do soon?
This year is all about getting out of my comfort zone – getting out there and shaking hands and meeting some nice people (getting out of my home office more) and continuing to learn to enable me to continue adding tools and resources to my toolbox.
To Learn more about Paula Mottshaw, visit the links below:
- SEO and Google: 4 Successful Tips for Brand Visibility in the New Year
- Brand Interview: David Leonhardt, The Happy Guy Marketing