Not All Designs Should Be Created Equal (and Other Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Your Flyer as an Instagram Post)

We could throw out a million jokes about why size matters, but let’s cut to the chase: All designs don’t work with all social media platform sizing requirements. If you drop the ball with your target market because of subpar posts, a competitor will be there with crisp, professional marketing to get their attention. Not to use fear tactics to drive you into hypervigilance or anything, but in the fast-paced world that is today’s marketing you need to be ready to strike while the iron is hot. And that means delivering not only some great content, but stuff that LOOKS good too.  

Your designs need to have the right sizing to make the right impact 

It’s tempting to make one graphic (or hire someone to make one graphic) and cut corners by posting it to every outlet. Believe me, we have been there (and, admittedly, done that). It is a mistake everyone makes at some point on their social media journey. And, as with all mistakes, it is important to continuously learn better ways of doing things.  

Resizing your graphics to fit specifications for different social media platforms is a much better way to offer crisp, professional looking content to your target market. 

Not only that, it will also make you more searchable for those fancy algorithms, which prioritize optimized images over those that are not correctly sized. Increasing your reach in this way is simpler than it seems and it will make your entire social profile appear more credible to your future customers. No more pixelated images or truncated text for you! 

Why working with a professional graphic designer helps 

Graphic designers are in the know about sizing (which can change often for various platforms) and they understand the importance of crisp visuals in grabbing attention from your scrolling target market. You will also need to take into account the differing sizes for videos versus static posts, stories, reels and more. Graphic designers will often create multiple versions of one image or video so it can be shared across various platforms with correct sizing. Remember, this doesn’t just help the visual appeal of your brand, it also helps your reach! 

The magic of hiring a professional graphic designer lies in their ability to build unique, creative and on-brand designs married with the knowledge of which imagery to use where and at what sizing. 

Now, think about combining THAT with professional content creators, digital marketing wizards, PR mavens and more. Did someone say growth? Brand recognition? An increase in customers and sales? That is the magic of the P&A Team. 

Can you do it in house? Yes. Can you do it yourself? Yes. You can do whatever you set your mind to. You are a business owner after all! But we do find that many entrepreneurs who are overwhelmed with all it takes to run a business benefit from outsourcing their graphic design and other strategic marketing to companies like us, who can give them a lot more bang for their buck than hiring in-house. (And the measureable results to back it up.) 

Want to know more? Chat with us about our Entrepreneurial Pathway Program!  

Why Should You Use a Graphic Designer?

When you think of graphic design, you probably think of well-thought-out visuals found in ads, on social media, at events and more. Even if your company has only one employee, you know the importance of capturing customer attention through visual graphics. Especially in today’s world, where your brand can get lost in an oversaturated market, having a graphic designer on your support team can help you stand out. 

A graphic designer can help your brand’s consistency! 

Every business owner is also a customer for some other business. When you think like a customer, what drives you to choose a certain brand over and over? In general, customer loyalty, what most businesses strive for, is won through maintaining consistency in service and product. Those are your unique brand promises (your mission, values and voice) that are articulated through graphic design visuals. 

Good graphic design will help you to make a great first impression as well, the sure path to increased retention and sales. Something that is visually pleasing will deliver a stronger message, draw people in to learn more about who you are, and build your credibility. 

Not all graphic design is equal 

Here at P&A we have seen our fair share of graphic design gone wrong. Just because someone claims to be a graphic designer does not mean you should throw your whole budget over to them. It is always important to take your goals and your brand into consideration. Working with someone who “gets it” is ever important in helping you to streamline your team so everyone is on the same page.  

Your message matters now more than ever.  A good graphic designer will not just do their own thing with no regard to the identity you are building (or have built). They will be able to be a huge part of your strategic marketing team … TEAM being the keyword. That is why outsourcing to a team like P&A, with professional graphic designers on hand, can be so beneficial. We are already used to working together to align ourselves with our clients and their brands. And our communication skills rock when it comes to staying on the same page because we have all the strategies and technologies already in place. No building a team from the ground up here! 

A word about creativity 

Now we are finally getting into the meat of what you think graphic design entails … and that is a whole bunch of creativity! And you aren’t wrong. Professional graphic designers need to be able to think outside of the box while also following quite a few rules of composition. In the end, if you’ve got a good match, you will have something that could blow your competition out of the water. That is because creativity means uniqueness, a breath of fresh air when your customers see your marketing compared to the others they have scrolled past a million times.  

So, just to review, graphic design is something every company should invest in, regardless of size. That is because it can:

  • Increase brand awareness and exposure 
  • Portray a clear and concise visual message 
  • Build your credibility 
  • Help you stand out 

For entrepreneurs and business owners at every stage, graphic design matters. But you need to make sure it is in line with your goals and your brand. Head over to our website to learn more about our creative offerings as well as our Entrepreneurial Pathways to help your brand get established and expand! 

How to Rank Higher on Google

Google is a beast, but one that we need to work with in order to be successful in gaining access to our target markets. Most consumers, after all, will use a search engine to look up what they are trying to find, whether it be advice, local products, or services. But how can you make sure that your web page will rank higher on Google search results pages?  

Let’s rank higher on Google and get in front of more potential customers! 

Search engine results pages (or SERPs for short) are notoriously tricky. They contain ads, sidebars, a list of search results and a few other tricks. Although you can purchase ads, which you will see rank toward the top of the page with the word “sponsored” in bold, we want to try to get you there organically … meaning without spending your hard-earned bucks.  

But how can you do it? Isn’t that, like, the Holy Grail of marketing or something? 

Actually, it is quite doable, especially with a seasoned seo pro behind you. Here is what we suggest: 


In our first blog of the month, we broke down the importance of SEO (or search engine optimization) and how to make it work for you. SEO is all about choosing the right keywords. You need to do background research to understand the phrases and words your target market might be plugging into their search engine. The more on-point you are, the more likely your page will show up in the first page of search results.  

We can’t stress enough how important this step is. It should, in fact, take you some time. But, in the end it is time well spent when you have a good handle on what your target market is looking for, their intention behind their searching and key phrases they may be typing into that Google search bar. We always recommend Search Engine Optimization go hand-in-hand with website development. Retrofitting your SEO is frustrating, costly and … unnecessary. (IF your Web designer says “SEO isn’t in their bandwidth or we’ll do that later” STOP, DROP & ROLL. Please find someone who puts it all together with UX and your brand strategy!) 

Optimize your pages 

Once you have your keywords, you will want to make sure to optimize the pages on your website, including copy, blogs and more. In general, plugging keywords into certain areas will help your content to rank higher on a Google search. This includes: 

  • Page title 
  • Header tags 
  • URL structures 
  • Meta description 

This is where things can get tricky because, although you want to add your keywords in, it must be done with finesse. Otherwise, your content won’t make sense and probably won’t sound very good to the reader. Having the help of a strategic marketing firm who knows their stuff can come in super handy. (Wink, wink) 

Create quality content 

That brings us to our next step, creating quality content. Not only do you need to use keywords in just the right places, but you also need to make sure your content is interesting. Is your article, blog, or webpage copy relevant and engaging? Is it useful to your audience and providing a good user experience? Google will use certain methods to determine content quality as part of the search results they return to the user.  

Make it mobile-friendly

Optimize your website so it is mobile-friendly (responsive!) if you want to rank higher on Google searches. Why? Because we all carry a supercomputer around in our pocket and, even when people are at home, they are most likely searching on their handheld device instead of a laptop or desktop. Your website is mobile-friendly if users can read the content well, view any images and navigate without trouble.  (This is not the same as viewing a teeny-tiny mini website; photos should automatically stack and text adjusts.) 

There are a plethora of other, more advanced, ways to get your foot in the door of Google. But, by starting with these tips, you will find yourself crawling up the search results in no time!  

Need some help? Feel free to contact us, sign up for our newsletter or follow us on social to learn more about the expertise advice we offer! 

How to Prioritize Your Keywords and Optimization Goals

Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is something most of us know exists, but we don’t always know how to make it work for us or our brand. In fact, it can be downright confusing! Instead of falling apart when it’s time to actually figure out which keywords *might* work to grab you some eyeballs, stick with us for the next few minutes and we will give you our short but sweet lesson in SEO for beginners… 

Keywords are more than just something that grabs your audience’s attention

Let’s forget everything we know about keywords in the analog world, because the web is a completely different beast. Search engines have things down to a science, and one that runs efficiently (and a little bit cut-throat if we are being honest). In order to find your place in the gauntlet of entrepreneurs (especially within your industry) you will need to start with the basics: 


Isn’t it funny how things always circle back to research? That is because, aside from everything else we could throw at you, knowing your brand and consumers well is the key to success in just about everything business related. Keyword research isn’t as tough as it seems, especially if you know your brand’s mission, voice and target audience. When you know your audience, you can define the questions in their search … and that, my friends, are your keywords. 

Find relevant keywords 

First, take some time to brainstorm some topics that are related to your business or industry. Then, using a keyword planning tool such as Ahrefs, input these topics one at a time to see relevant keywords. You are looking for a keyword that doesn’t have too much competition, but still has search volume potential. Still confused? Let us take the work out of it for you. 

Double check your work 

Evaluating the relevance of your keywords is crucial. In this step, make sure that you understand why you are using certain keywords, what connotations they may have, and double check to ensure they align with your brand. Do the keywords you have found align with the message you want to send to your audience? Do they resonate with you as a business owner or employee? Are they closely related to your industry?  

Check out the competition 

Jump on websites of your competitors. Follow them on social. Read their blogs. What keywords are they using? Who are they reaching that you aren’t? While you are at it, spend some time checking in on your target market. They may be using terms that you aren’t familiar with.  

Use your keywords wisely 

Relevant keywords should be used on your website, in your blogs, in copy you share and more, but that doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-fall. Too many keywords is just as bad as too few. (We call it “keyword soup” … and Google will actually punish you for that.) Make sure your messaging and content make sense to your audience so when they find your brand (thanks to your amazing SEO) they will jive with what you are dishing out.  

Need more help? SEO can be tricky, but we are experts! Whether you are an entrepreneur, small business, or already-established brand, let’s chat 

Public Relations: It’s Not Dead Yet

In today’s digital-heavy environment, you would be hard-pressed to find a successful business, even a small one, that doesn’t have some type of online presence. From social media to websites, newsletters and blogs, companies are connecting with their customers nearly 24-hours a day. As important as these highly targeted efforts are, don’t take the place of a strong public relations effort. In a world of constant messaging that begins to all sound the same, PR may be a leg up on the competition. 

Public Relations is the secret sauce 

Companies generally use PR services to create a strategic communications plan and develop a trusting relationship with their customers. According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”  

And in this climate in which consumers are being inundated by information, messaging and marketing, being succinct and on point is vital.  

Think of brands you trust and consider yourself loyal to. What do they all have in common? Do they deliver on their promises? Maintain the same message on all platforms and marketing? Hold themselves with integrity when things get uncertain or go south? That is because they have all worked diligently to have flawless and intentional PR. 

Long live PR 

It may be a challenge to translate a major brand’s public relations efforts to your business. Does your company warrant a public relations plan? Absolutely. Check out some of the reasons your company should start focusing more energy on PR this year: 

Build credibility 

Building credibility with your customer goes right along with everything we have already discussed. We can’t stress enough how important that is right now, as consumer attention becomes scarce. With so many things to look at, why would they pay attention to your brand? Because they are loyal to you, your message fits in with what they like, and you have gained their trust through consistent communication. 

Build more brand awareness 

With social media, there are plenty of ways to get your brand in front of more people. PR makes use of these platforms while not missing a beat with other tactics like media outreach, events, and sponsorships. Creating sustainable brand loyalty requires more than an online presence. Being entrenched in and engaged with your community — regardless of the size of your business — is key. When you have a consistent message and brand that is repeatedly and consistently delivered, you are making a powerful impression. 

Grow through partnerships 

Instead of focusing on ways you can generate revenue through paid media (advertising), PR (sometimes referred to as earned media) helps you reach further into the community and make use of influencers, sponsorships and other industry organizations. Leveraging partnerships is also a great way to get in front of an audience, grow your brand following and get the word out that you care about your community!  

It’s a beautiful time to focus on PR 

A funny thing is happening in our culture right now. While many people are tuned in to social media, there is also a bit of an exodus; as users are exiting various platforms citing “overload,” they focus attention to the connections and relationships in their communities. What a great time to get your message out on multiple platforms! 

Since launching in 2010, our clients have appeared on front pages, in national magazines, television and radio news segments, talk shows, podcasts, and videos. We’ve represented companies in their most shining moments and their darkest hours; we’ve worked on grand openings and painful closings; celebrated high-profile accolades and managed high-profile legal challenges. The common thread: A consistent message, based on truth and transparency. That is public relations … a valuable asset in 2024.  

Think an experienced public relations expert is the missing link in your marketing efforts? Learn more about P&A’s PR efforts, and if you’d like to chat about putting our public relations expertise to work for your business, send me an email at 

Red Shoe Diaries and the Power of First Impressions

Your Biz Squad Professional: Stephanie Grabow

👠Lucky Dorothy. Her homemade blue gingham dress got a glow-up when she put on glittery ruby pumps. 

Those shoes had superpowers that transported her to where she most wanted to be, into the circle of the people that she most wanted to be with.

When she clicked those shiny shoes together, they helped her shortcut out on the flying monkeys, the creepy guy, and the perils of a witchy-witch.

Am I advocating for you to wear gingham and glitter together? Not unless you’re doing a whole cosplay thing and that’s another conversation.

I AM telling you that shoes can change your life.

🙈Or at the very least, they can speed you forward toward your goals and avoid tangling with pesky flying monkeys.

There’s solid research that documents that we really are judged from the ground up.

🤯In the Mid-South, where I grew up, you’re taught from an early age that you can determine whether someone is worth your time by looking at the heels of their shoes. 

Scuffed-up heels, frayed shoelaces, and, worst of all BORING SHOES? Those are clear signs that the other person is not serious about your time.


  • she lacks self-awareness about the vibe that she is sending off.
  • she doesn’t pay attention to details.
  • she doesn’t care what people think about her.

Actions taken on first impressions are real and you can use them to your benefit or your detriment. You get to choose.

Sitting at your desk, looking down at your feet and thinking, 

“Huh. I wonder what these turquoise rubber flip-flops I bought at Whole Foods say about my professional capabilities?”

Maybe you’re also making this face? 😳

Am I advocating for this outdated system of judging each other?

Hard no. 

But what you and I both know is that business interactions can move so quickly that snap judgments are made, and in that quick second you want every detail you can control to be working in your favor. 

Your client has 21,000 unread emails and a text notification bubble that’s on fire.

Make their job of choosing YOU easier.

You’ve heard a thousand times that a large part of communication is nonverbal. 

If your prospect sees you as not pulled together, or worse yet, someone who doesn’t care about perceptions?  They’re probably not going to feel confident trusting you to come into their inner circle and help solve their business problems.

Why make connecting with clients or co-workers harder than it has to be?

Put on a pair of shoes that will get you in the door using these 4 guidelines:

Opt for color. An outfit built from neutrals gets a punch of excitement when you finish your look with shoes in one of your ideal colors. Wearing dark denim and a neutral top? Grab a pair of flats in your best green or pink. Your outfit will look more intentional and great shoes are an easy conversation starter.

Choose a modern silhouette. Those round-toe ballet flats from 2015 have seen better days. Choose an almond-shaped or square-toed version to look more current.

Choose comfort. I promise that you’ve never had the best day of your life in shoes that hurt your feet. Make sure that you can walk a city block in your shoes without getting a blister.

If sustainability is your thing, choose a brand that uses recycled materials. Every season, there are more great choices that check this box, so you’ve got lots of options.

Dorothy’s red shoes changed her life. Maybe your next pair of shoes will too!

Always cheering you on!


Stephanie 💋

Stephanie Grabow is the Founder and CEO of Stephanie Grabow Style+ and SG Style Collective. She is a style coach for female entrepreneurs and leaders, a speaker and a curator of beautiful things. It is her goal to make nailing your look the easiest 10 minutes of your day. Follow her at

Brand Refresh Versus a Rebrand: Which One Do You Need?

This month, we are talking about branding. If you missed our first blog about the foundations of a cohesive brand, make sure to check it out. Now, we are going to dive into something a bit more nuanced … a brand refresh versus a rebrand. At some point in the life of a business, one or the other is necessary. How to choose? 

What is a brand refresh versus a rebrand? 

When clients come to us as an established business, but they have shifted their offerings, we consider rebranding or refreshing the brand. Research into the evolution of their specific business as well as changes among competition begin the process. Ensuring their brand message, promise and pillars align with these new developments is a second step that leads to a revised visual brand. A new logo will often be prescribed, especially if they are hoping to capture a different market segment. A new brand messaging guide as well as a style guide will help them to disseminate information to their team, so they can begin to send out the new, cohesive message to consumers.  

While a rebrand can feel like wiping things clean and starting from scratch, a refresh is more of an invigorating breeze that brings a tad bit of newness to a brand. We won’t overhaul anything, but we may help a client tweak pillars or messaging to ensure everything is streamlined. Sometimes, refreshing also requires a tweak to the original logo, colors or fonts … and sometimes it doesn’t. A refresh takes quite a bit less time than a full rebrand, obviously, but the payoff is big in repositioning the brand and ensuing growth. 

Times, they are a changin’ 

As much as some of our clients would love to hold onto their logo and brand message for dear life, the reality is that we live in a rapidly changing world. Regardless of the industry, you are sure to see change taking place right before your eyes. A rebrand or a refresh helps our clients to keep up with the flow of their industry so they don’t get left behind. Customers may love the security blanket that is predictability, but they also love when a business delivers on its promises. If your brand promises and pillars don’t align with your capacity or business strategy, you will need to revisit the drawing board.  

How do you know when you need a rebrand or refresh?

You may need a REBRAND if: Your core values are now out of line with the values of your target market, your company’s branding is outdated, or your brand messaging and logo provide no competitive edge. 

You may need a REFRESH if: You want to maintain your core brand messaging and pillars, but you want to enter into new markets or attract new audiences. You may also want to update your messaging and logo or need support to remain a recognizable brand in today’s world.  

We are here to support you!

Check out our website for more information about what we do, including client case studies in branding. Then, head over to our Entrepreneurial Path page to see if you need to launch, refresh or expand your brand. And follow us on social for more marketing fun! 

So, What’s the Deal With Branding?

If you think that branding is all about pretty colors and cool logos, this blog is for you. The importance of strategic branding gets lost in the dazzle of starting a new business, but it is one of the key components to ensuring successful communication with your target market. And without customers, well, you can pretty much call your business dead on arrival. 

Branding is everything 

A strong brand is built around a coherent and consistent message. This will be captured through your brand message and promise as well as your pillars and will be heard by your consumers through everything you do, including services, products, marketing campaigns, social media interactions and more. The three components of a strong brand include: 

Brand message: The way your brand communicates its unique value and personality through both verbal and nonverbal messaging. It is the reason why your brand has a relationship to its consumers. 

Brand promise: This is the unique value or experience a consumer can expect to receive every time they interact with your brand. 

Brand pillars: These combine your message and promise to create the foundation on which your brand is built.  

We call them “pillars” for a reason 

Your brand’s pillars act as a support for your brand message and promise, therefore guiding all of your decisions. When you aren’t sure what to say, for example, all you need to do is consult your pillars, which are everything that make your brand tick. And when you are trying to align your customer service with your values, consult those pillars to make sure you are delivering! 

Perhaps you are beginning to see why establishing a cohesive message is important before creating that show-stopping logo? Because everything, even your logo, will need to report to your brand’s message and the pillars on which you have built your business. And, best of all, your brand’s message will tell your consumers why they should choose your business over others. (All the more reason to make it a strategic one, you see.) 

So, how do we find your brand message, promise and pillars?

Here at P&A, we believe in a hefty amount of research. We offer our clients a full spectrum of strategic marketing practices that will help them to build the brand message, promise and pillars they need to create a cohesive message. We collaboratively deep dive with clients to define the target persona of customers — not just a label or one-liner, but specifically identifying their lives, from hobbies to social media habits to daily routines. We meet clients where they are on this entrepreneurial path and help build the scaffolding that will support the growth of their business.  

Once we have a clear understanding of a client’s messaging, we create a Brand Message Guide, a document for internal reference that is to be the starting point for everything, from graphics to news releases. With marketing support staff working from the same guide, it creates a common voice that consumers can begin to see easily when interacting with that brand. And then, yes, logos, colors, fonts, and other visuals are developed to support the brand voice.  

Consumers trust brands with consistent messaging 

With today’s throngs of new businesses, marketing, campaigns, scams and more, consumers are weary of anything that seems confusing. In fact, they want ease and some predictability. By doing the research and then creating a cohesive message, promise and pillars for your brand, you will be able to relate better to your target market and they will, in turn, become important long-term customers! 

From our new Entrepreneurial Path to our Biz Squad, we are here to help ensure the success of your brand (and answer all of your burning questions)! Contact us to find out more.  

5 Tools for DIY Video Marketing

Your Biz Squad Professional: Carolyn Case

You don’t have to be a professional in videography to create fun, enticing and engaging videos for your business or organization. Telling your story through videography is crucial in the social media realm today. There are many tools that most of us already have access to that can help to create compelling videos. Here are five tools that will help you on your video journey:

Smart Phone

Most of us have access to a smart phone on a regular basis and most smart phones have incredible cameras and video capabilities today. You can use your phone to shoot amazing videos and download many different apps to aid in editing and coloring your footage.

Tripod or Stabilizer

You will need a tripod or stabilizer for your phone or video camera so that your footage will be usable and not too shaky and blurry. You can purchase small tripods specifically for smart phones or use objects around you to stabilize your phone as you shoot.

Wireless Microphone

Find a wireless microphone that will work with your smart phone or video camera. This will usually take form in something small and inconspicuous that will attach to the person speaking in the video and the other part will be plugged into the phone or camera. It is important to have clear, usable and understandable audio in your videos.

Ring Light or Light Panel

Have a ring light or light panel to help your subject look soft and beautiful as is appropriate for your subject matter. This will help to avoid intense shadows and underlit subjects or spaces.

Editing Software/App

Download a video editing software or app to use to create beautiful videos. You can download Adobe Premiere pro both on mobile or as a desktop app, or utilize other apps such as Capcut, Final Cut Pro, and Splice.

Carolyn Case is a multimedia production professional and owner of Media 37 Indy with over 15 years of professional experience. Media 37 Indy is a full-service media house that seeks to serve the needs of small businesses, entrepreneurs, non-profits, and companies throughout Central Indiana. Media 37 Indy offers a variety of videography, photography, editing, and multimedia marketing services. Learn more at

5 Things to Know About Video for Business (With a Professional)

Your Biz Squad Professional: Carolyn Case

You are ready to hire a videographer to help grow your business or organization. You are excited about all the opportunities that may spring from this investment. So, what steps can you take to make the most of your time working with a videographer to market your business? And what can you expect? Check out these five things to know about video for your business: before, during and after the process!

Know Your “Why”

Before the videographer and/or crew make their first appearance, it is important to know your business “why:” Why do you do what you do, why do you provide these goods or services, why is this important to you? An experienced videographer wants to guide you through the process of telling your story and having some thoughts and notes prepared before any shoots begin is a great way to kick things off in an organized and prepared, professional manner.

Storyboard or Shot List

Work with your videography team to create a storyboard or shot list for the story you want to tell with your video project. Creating a shot list of the visuals that would appeal to you in your video and story will help guide the videography team to create desired outcomes in the final product.

Talk & Trust

On the day(s) of your video shoot, communicate your opinions to the videography team and don’t be afraid to let them know if there is something you are not happy with or that you would like to change. At the same time, you hired a professional who you believe will provide you with the services you desired, so try to trust the process and the professional as much as possible.

Video Delivery Formats

Request that final video products be delivered to you in the formats that you need. Do you want your video products to be for your website, for television, for social media? All of these platforms require a different format, size, dimensions, and files sizes, so make sure that you request your final video products be delivered to you in the format(s) that meet your needs. Be sure to let your videography team know up front which platforms you plan to use the videos on so they can shoot them accordingly.

Make the Most of Your Investment

Share your final videos everywhere and make the most of your investment. Let the videos help to tell your story and establish your brand or mission. If you would like to have some of the raw footage from the shoot to use for social media reels or stories, be sure to ask your videographer for those clips and for permission to use them. 


Carolyn Case is a multimedia production professional and owner of Media 37 Indy with over 15 years of professional experience. Media 37 Indy is a full-service media house that seeks to serve the needs of small businesses, entrepreneurs, non-profits, and companies throughout Central Indiana. Media 37 Indy offers a variety of videography, photography, editing, and multimedia marketing services. Learn more at