by Paul Schindel

Communicating the virtues of a brand is a bit like spinning plates. Everything changes. Constant vigilance is required. And it’s easy to lose focus on the mission — maintaining the stability of all of the plates— when one or more starts teetering toward a fall.

For small businesses, the challenge is often complicated by a shortage of time, talent and resources to attend to all of the “plates.” It’s my hope that this series of brief posts will offer some guidance and support to entrepreneurial teams.

While the specifics of your company’s mission, markets, and messages will differ from others’, all organizations should abide by these foundational communications principles:

  1. Your audience is everything
  2. Your messages are the embodiment of your brand
  3. Frequency is paramount

With that said, let’s return to ground level for some practical suggestions that should help keep your company and your messages on point.

Once you have identified WHO your prospects, customers, and influencers are, turn on the empathy.

  • Are you easing some sort of pain they experience? Make the conversation about understanding them and helping to resolve their challenges. “You’ve got issues? Help is here!”
  • Are you saving them time, money or effort? Make the conversation about their return on investment. “Your situation can be so much better. Here’s how!” Try always to focus your messages on them, not you. They have needs; your job is to show how they can benefit, thanks to your products or services.

For most small businesses, the lures of inbound marketing should be balanced with outbound outreach. Using SEO, blogging and social channels, your inbound communications should establish and reinforce your company’s expertise, quality and service. Use both facts and anecdotes to leave prospects with a positive impression of a business that is the best at what it offers.

Your outbound communications should be more aggressive. Outbound should introduce your brand to prospects and bring them into the fold. That means standing out from the clutter, delivering a clear and concise benefit-oriented message, and closing with a strong call to action. Tell them what you want them to do, and make it easy for them to do it. This is an area where powerful creative – both copy and design – can turn apathy to engagement, or ignorance to awareness, and inaction to commitment.

Paul Schindel is President and Chief Creative Officer at Three Bears LLC in Princeton NJ – serving small business with a comprehensive array of marketing communications services. He can be reached at 609-688-1400 or

Want to learn more? Read Part 2 and Part 3 of this blog series.