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This time of year, I love all things pumpkin. I can’t get my fill of pumpkin muffins, pumpkin lattes and my favorite treat – pumpkin butter. It’s really Fall on a spoon! I use it on my yogurt and granola, in smoothies, on toast and pancakes for an extra special breakfast treat. Sometimes, when no one’s around, I just eat it with a spoon right out of the jar. This yummy treat makes wonderful gifts and freezes well. Unfortunately, it’s not advised to actually “can” pumpkin butter, due to it’s low acidity and the viscosity of the squash, but it keeps well in the fridge for … well, I’m not really sure how long it will last – not more than a week or so, in my house.

Many thanks to Gina at skinnytaste.com,  one of my most favorite food bloggers, for this recipe. She also has lots of links to other Fall favorites using this treat as an ingredient. (http://www.skinnytaste.com/2007/07/skinny-pumpkin-madness.html)

Pumpkin Butter
Gina's Skinny Recipes
Servings: 30 • Serving Size: 2 tbsp • Old Points: 1 pts • Points+: 1 pts
Calories: 32 • Fat: 0.1 g • Protein: 0.5 g • Carb: 9.5 g • Fiber: 1.3 g • Sugar: 8 g 
Sodium: 3.5 g 

Ingredients:
  • 3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, or 1 (29 ounce) can (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup apple cider or juice
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (to taste)
Directions:
Combine pureed pumpkin, vanilla, apple juice, spices, cinnamon sticks and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to your taste. Makes 3 3/4 cups.

 
 
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We all know how important it is to market your business - whether you are providing a service, tangible products, or both.  You want your consumer to see what you have to offer and USE it! You have invested time, energy and money in finding out who your ideal customer is, what their biggest ache is, and how you will uniquely fill that need, now it’s time to let them know you’re there.

Communication is key. Crossing all modes of communication to reach your customer and letting them know you’re available is imperative. Some businesses see huge response from brochures, posters, direct mail, and outdoor marketing. Some businesses perform best through social media, online marketing, and email lists. And LOTS of businesses use ALL these platforms to reach their ideal customer. One very important thing remains the same for a successful marketing campaign: Cohesiveness.

Cohesiveness means well-integrated; unified. Your marketing materials must clearly and immediately be recognizable as YOUR brand. YOU have what they want, YOU can help fill their ache, YOU are the go-to person for their need.

Some basic elements would include your logo on all marketing materials. You need a way for them to know that it’s you speaking to them and your logo should visually represent your business across all platforms. You should have a consistent color palette that is recognizable. Part of our Branding process includes a color analysis. We look to industry standards, business demographics, and other design standards to represent our clients with a color palette that fits well with their brand and consumer. You should also have a family of fonts that you use on all marketing materials and everywhere your brand is represented. These should include headline fonts, body copy fonts and accent fonts. They should remain consistent. Your image use and potential photography choices should be cohesive as well. Do you use black and white photography on your website? Then use black and white photography in your brochures, on flyers and social media marketing. Do you have a quirky style of illustration that you love for a brochure? Incorporate it into your website, your Facebook cover photo, your next ad campaign. You want your ideal customer to know exactly who you are and a consistent visual representation of your business every time they come into contact with you, will accomplish it.

OzzCare is a fantastic example of consistency in marketing. Their website uses several important visual elements: black and white photography with opaque color overlay, their unique family of fonts, a strong color palette, and a logo that is easily identifiable. Here are some examples of how they maintain a visually strong and cohesive look:

Do you need help with creating cohesiveness in the marketing of your business? Let the Lori Murray help you communicate clearly and consistently to your ideal customer.

 
 
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Color is an integral part of marketing. It evokes a mood from your consumer, it helps you stand out amongst other companies, and it can define your industry. The color of your logo and marketing materials is as important as your logo and marketing materials. If you have chosen a color just because you like it, without thinking of the impact that color has, it may be time to consider some changes.

1. There are generally industry standards for color.
For example, green has become the industry standard for health and nutrition. “Green” has even become the term for eco-friendly. At the same time, you may also want to look at colors that are typically NOT used in your industry. For example, one large bank recently changed their logo, store signage, ATMs, etc from their red and black logo to a new logo featuring the colors blue and green. In the financial industry, being “in the red” is undesirable, while blue communicates trustworthiness. Thinking about typical colors for your industry and colors that may have a negative connotation are good practices when creating your identity and color palette.

2. Some colors help to evoke a mood. Peaceful colors are generally blue, green, or turquoise. Corporate colors are black or navy. Exciting colors are red or magenta. I generally hear clients say they’d like their logo and color palette to be bright and cheerful to evoke an uplifting mood, as in Denise Mock’s color palette. She wanted to reinforce a positive, cheerful outlook, so we decided to create her logo in several bright colors that can be used interchangeably in her marketing materials.

3. Who is your ideal customer? There tends to be some general guidelines when marketing to certain targets. For example, men tend to prefer the color blue or gray to red. Women tend to prefer red to blue. The age range of your ideal customer also will need to be a consideration. Babies tend to cry more in a yellow room (I have personal experience with this) and respond better to visuals that are high contrast. Pre-adolescent children tend to gravitate more to primary colors, where teens and young adults start showing a preference for more complex colors.

4. Colors can also create a sense of urgency. Yellow, red and orange have a tendency to be attention grabbing and therefore can cause a sense of urgency. In fact, in 1999, research from Pantone revealed that a yellow background with black type was the best color combination for printed material*. It stated that this combination scored highest in memory retention and legibility. Ever wonder why all those school flyers and postings on telephone poles are printed on neon paper?

5. Color can help you stand out. We’ve already talked about industry standards, that green usually is related to healthy, eco-friendly, or natural, but by choosing a different color than the industry norm, you can stand out. For instance, if you are the only purple label in the natural shampoo aisle, you’re label will be most likely to stand out. Sometimes, it’s about being different.

6. You need to be versatile. Don’t “paint yourself into a corner” with color. Make sure you have a color palette. Choose colors that work together as a family. Make certain they can be used to compliment each other and facilitate the type of instant communication we’ve talked about.

7. Lastly, break the rules. Use colors that appeal to you. You want to love your logo and branding, so be sure to choose what speaks to you, as well.  There is always more than one option when it comes to color in business. You don’t have to choose anything that you don’t like or that doesn’t resonate with you.

* The Costco Connection, December, 1999
Photo credit: Steve Snodgrass