Going from zero to hero rarely ever happens overnight. It’s usually the result of many years of hard work and persistence. Overnight success stories glamorize the end of a long winding road to validation.
This week I was able to take a shortcut in my personal musical journey. I went from being an unknown artist to being multi-platinum. Here’s how it happened:
My new instrumental guitar album is almost finished and I thought it would be cool to get a logo to include on my album and for my studio. I knew the style I wanted and could even envision it myself. I have done a lot of graphic design but I wanted a “real” artist to design something so I took to Google.
A quick search will get you over 700 million results for “custom logo”. I never click advertisements but after being disappointed with the organic results I figured what the heck.
After a few tries I found a really slick site that seemed very established and even had a trendy and stylish chat for customer service. The chat popped up and since I knew what I wanted I got right to the point.
The guy on the other end, “Chad”, was nice and seemed to understand exactly what I wanted. He told me they had 70 in-house designers for graphic and web design.
He convinced me and I ordered. He promised I would have 4 logo options in 48 hours. I paid with Paypal. No problem.
Everything was going according to plan or so I thought.
Besides being a terrible generic templated design, they SPELLED MY NAME WRONG!!! This always happens to me.
I signed up with my email address @CraigKelley.com. My response was short and to the point.
They never responded. Where are your manners son?
A day later I still hadn’t heard from them. I emailed them and asked when I could expect the next revision.
They responded a few hours later with “We will send you a new set of samples first thing Monday morning.”
Okay, they’ll work on the weekend.
Later I got the same email with this added to it. “Do send us some any additional guideline that crosses your mind that would assist us to come up with a better design.”
This was my response. I sent them some logos I liked (Steve Vai, Prince, etc) and some more instructions to make it as easy as possible for them not to screw up again.
I enjoyed the weekend and waited for a new design. Here’s what I got.
I still laugh out loud when I see these. They spelled my name wrong AGAIN and now I’m Prince.
Sorry Prince, I guess they haven’t heard of you in outsource land yet. You have a billion new people to sell your music to!
I got a good laugh and promptly requested my money back.
Warnings I missed (or ignored)
1. 70 in-house designers for a cheap logo design company.
How many agencies have SEVENTY in-house designers? I doubt this one does. They claimed to be in California. That would be a payroll of close to SEVEN million bucks. Sorry but you aren’t making bank like that selling logos for $49 or even the $89 package I got. If you do the math that comes to 40 orders per week per designer. Each customer gets multiple designs so that would be 160 logo variations per designer per week. That doesn’t even include revisions.
2. A nice flashy website makes them legit.
It wasn’t until the 2nd terrible revision that I became suspicious. Their website was really awesome and everything seemed in order. I started digging deeper and found that they just registered the domain in December 2015. Two months ago! This egg just hatched..
4. Their address was some generic place in California.
This wouldn’t really be a big deal in the scheme of things if they did a good job but since their work was so ridiculous it leads you to believe they lied about everything.
What business lessons can we learn from this?
First and foremost, your website appearance is vitally important. You only get one chance to make a first impression. These guys had a site that was only 2 months old but, it made them look like they had been in business for years. They had all of the call to action buttons in the right place.
Don’t underestimate the power of the chat. Without the chat I would have probably checked a few more places before ordering. They made me feel good and safe so I ordered with the link they provided in the chat. Almost no friction.
Before I even considered ordering I checked the testimonials on their website. They really seemed legit at the time. Now I’m pretty sure they are all fake. Linking out to past customers is a great way to strengthen your testimonials. Their testimonials were pretty much just work samples and had no links out. Don’t be deceiving and state them as testimonials but rather list them as case studies or work examples outright.
Testimonials have the power to turn a “maybe” into a “yes”. Use them!
No worries, Prince, I’m not stealing your symbol or platinum records but I will be a bit more cautious when ordering online again from unknown sources that only show up under paid ads. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but don’t underestimate the look of your own website.
PPS. Check out Growing Our Company By 10,000% in 2016.
Thanks for reading!