By Parsons Team

Seattle locals know the magic of summers in the Pacific Northwest. Perfect temperatures, blue skies, boats scattered across Lake Union, friends enjoying a drink at their favorite brewery, families walking their dogs around Green Lake…the list is endless.

Whether you’re planning a trip to Seattle or you’re a long-time local, take some ideas from the Parsons team on a perfect Seattle summer day:

Maddy: A walk along the waterfront at Gas Works Park, followed by coffee at Miir. Spend the afternoon at the Fremont Sunday Market scouring vintage finds and delicious food trucks. End the night with a boat ride on Lake Union and fish and chips at Ivars!

Joanie: For a fun evening or for out-of-town guests, I love taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island for dinner, followed by a ride back around sunset. My favorite spots on the island are Harbour Public House and Café Nola.

Sarah: Kayaking by Golden Gardens beach at sunset. And, more often than not, catch crab to bring home for dinner!

Eric: Morning bike ride to Alki Beach followed by a Top Pot maple bar and tea on a bench with a view of the Sound. Take in the beach volleyball, designer dogs, peacocking rollerbladers and circus bike rentals in all their glory. Return through the Locks, then hit the Ballard Farmers Market and finish with a pint at one of the many breweries in Ballard. All the best of Seattle in one ride!

Kelly: Take a day trip from Seattle to Vashon Island, Port Orchard or the San Juans! Explore a fun new town for the day – they are full of beaches, boardwalks, friendly people, cute shops, amazing seafood and great coffee.

Photo Credit: Jan Ekof

Maggy: For me, a perfect Seattle summer day consists of paddle boarding on the lake, scouring local boutiques and galleries and attending an outdoor concert at Marymoor Park. No summer is complete without visiting the San Juan Islands and grabbing ice cream in Friday Harbor. Favorite Seattle eateries: Bakery Nouveau and The Pink Door.

Lilah: Here’s one of many awesome summer days we love: First, hiking with my daughter at Cougar Mountain or another beautiful nearby spot, then heading back to the city for a picnic, followed by a sunset dinner and swimming with family or friends at Alki Beach or Lincoln Park. If I’m lucky, I might even be able to catch a late show or performance. Seattle is the best!

Natalie: Camping anywhere in the beautiful PNW with a pack of dogs, gaggle of kids and hilarious friends. Enjoying sunset cruises on our old boat. Cooking delicious meals for my family with the harvest from my urban garden.

Pam: For me, summer is all about creating magic and happiness from my local farmers market in Edmonds, and then getting outside to work off the calories! Wild King Salmon, organically grown vegetables and locally baked bread come home every week, and then I invite a lucky friend over to join me for my favorite dinner, paired with a delicious bottle of crisp white wine. Perfection!




By Kelly Jacka

Images have been used to convey concepts and experiences for a large part of human history. Our minds look for patterns and symbols to easily process information and make decisions.

With an overwhelming number of options in today’s world, it’s becoming more important to visually differentiate your brand and make it memorable. Achieving this is only possible through brand identity design, which requires elements to work together to form a distinct image of a company in our minds.

When developing a design, it is important to remember that people are visual. Our brains don’t read first; they search for shapes, colors and other elements that grab our attention. The logo is the image that captures the essence of the brand and allows consumers to make that connection.

Here are a few important aspects to consider when designing your brand’s logo:

  1. Keep it simple and easily recognizable.
    Consumers are looking for quick recognition and recall. Too much clutter in a logo makes it difficult for someone to process, reducing the chances that they’ll remember your brand. For example, when you see an apple with a bite taken out of it, chances are the multinational tech company is the first brand to come to mind.
  2. Make sure the logo is visually appealing.
    Bold colors and geometric shapes are visually pleasing to the eye and draw attention to a logo, whether the consumer is aware of it or not. Also a well-balanced and proportionate logo make sense in the viewers mind aesthetically and also are easy to enlarge or size down while remaining recognizable.
  3. All the pieces should work together.
    Most logos include both an image and written type, which is why it’s important to pay attention to the way the two balance and flow together. Both the type and imagery should work on their own, but not outshine each other when combined, which is why it’s crucial that they have the same look and feel.
  4. Hidden meanings and symbolism can strengthen a logo.
    Some of the most recognizable logos maintain hidden meanings. For example, Amazon’s logo has an arrow pointing from A to Z, symbolizing the company’s ability to ship any product, anywhere. Hidden symbols give consumers that “Aha!” moment, which allows for another level of consumer recall.

*Examples of logos done by Parsons + Co below




 



By Eric Knudson

In Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare writes, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”

While I don’t want to bicker with The Bard, when it comes to marketing, names definitely do matter. Names are an important way for brands to set themselves apart and can play different roles when it comes to positioning.

Names can be descriptive.
Holds Tight Glue, Easy Off Oven Cleaner, Hamburger Helper – names like this tell you what the product is or does.

Names can set expectations.
If Nordstrom were called “John and Blake’s Discount Shoe Outlet” you wouldn’t figure on a piano player, restaurant or much in the way of customer service.

Names can target a specific audience or customer.
Most 14-year old boys can’t tell you what’s in a Monster Energy Drink, but it definitely sounds like something pretty cool that their moms would hate.

There are some more practical considerations as well. When PARSONS + CO does a naming project for a client, we start with a simple list of Must Haves for any name we’re considering:

Easy to say and spell.
There’s a reason Dr. Azpilicueta calls his practice “Green Lake Dentistry.” If people regularly struggle to say or spell it, it’s not a good name.

A reasonable version of the name is available as a URL.
Come up with a great name for your business or product? Chances are someone else has the same idea. Finding a workable URL can be a real challenge as so many of the obvious names are already taken.

The name reads well as a URL.
Occasionally names sound great, but don’t work when pushed together without any spaces in a URL. Sometimes URLs can be misread; sometimes they just look bad due to weird letter combinations. It’s hard to explain, but you’ll know it when you see it.

No direct industry competition.
If you’re starting a rental car company, don’t call it “Hurtz,” or “Ayvis.” You want a name that stands out from your competition, not one that confuses people about who you are.

No similarities to well-known national or local brands.
Starting a building supply company in Seattle? Resist the temptation to call it “Starbricks.” It might seem clever to pick a name similar to a well-known company, but it’s not a good option in the long run. (And you might get a grumpy letter from their lawyers.)

Keep the lawyers happy.
A few minutes of online sleuthing can usually tell you whether the name you’re considering has any obvious red flags. But once you have a couple of finalists, it’s worth it to hire an attorney to research the name more thoroughly. It’s money well spent – and much cheaper than getting sued by someone with the same or similar name.

The last piece of advice we always give clients who are considering names is that while a good name can be a big benefit to a brand, it’s usually more important to avoid picking a bad name.

And just be glad Shakespeare didn’t call Romeo and Juliet something like “Rocky and Julie.”



By Maggy Lehmicke

Puget Sound Business Journal’s Corporate Citizenship and Healthy Community Champion Awards honors local corporate philanthropists and companies that have made significant contributions to the Northwest. Following this afternoon’s luncheon, PARSONS + CO is proud to announce the company’s selection as a 2018 Healthy Community Corporate Champion in the Environment category.

PARSONS + CO was honored on-stage, alongside seven other honorees and 77 list-makers recognized for their philanthropic donations.

“I’m so honored to be recognized among this incredible group of companies,” says Joanie Parsons, founder of PARSONS + CO. “Our primary mission is to create change through our clients and our Parsons Goodworks program. Every single one of us is determined to leave a positive impact on our environment and the community.”

Congratulations to all the honorees and list-makers at this year’s event!

Honorees:

Arts & Culture | Delta Dental of Washington

Basic Needs | Campbell Auto Group

Economic Opportunity | JPMorgan Chase Co. 

Education | Laird Norton Company

Environment | Parsons + Co. 

Global Giving | Starbucks

Health & Wellness | Sugar Mountain – Beecher’s Handmade Cheese 

Neighborhoods & Communities | Windermere Real Estate



By Natalie Cheel

When most people think of branding they typically think of something visual, such as a logo or corporate colors or advertising campaign. But branding is not always just about companies. One area of branding that is frequently overlooked is the man, or woman, in the mirror. (Cue the Michael Jackson)

When people think about you, what is the first thing that comes to mind? What imprint do you leave after meeting someone for the first time? Those impressions are what shapes your personal brand.

Every individual has a personal brand. It’s how people remember you and how you make them feel. It’s what you are known for and what people seek you out for. It’s about being authentic to who you are as an individual but also curating it to be your best self.

Take for example, our friend, Kim Kardashian. (Stay with me. I can see your eyes rolling.) Kim has built an empire on her personal brand. She’s been criticized for being famous for no talent, but one thing she executes beautifully is curating her image. She’s become the queen of social media by carefully selecting what images she shares and what products she endorses. Whether you love her or hate her, you can’t argue with the success of her personal branding.

If the Kardashians are not your thing, take a look at our State Senator Patty Murray. She’s been in office since 1993 and has fully embraced the ‘just another mother in tennis shoes’ perception. She’s won the trust of hundreds of thousands of voters by intentionally shaping her personal brand as a relatable person. Her annual fundraiser, fittingly named the Golden Tennis Shoe Awards, always drives her brand as a leader who authentically understands her constituents.

From what stories you share to the clothes you wear, a strong personal brand is about putting your best self forward. How you interact with people, your loyalty, and your demeanor are types of imprints that you have the opportunity to shape. With just a little intention, you can impact the perception people have of you.

So the question is, do you choose to guide and cultivate your personal brand or let others define it for you?



Spud Hilton from the San Francisco Chronicle speaking at the Travel and Words Conference in Yakima.

By Maggy Lehmicke

On behalf of PARSONS + CO and the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, I was lucky enough to attend the Travel and Words Conference in Yakima last month. Below are my key takeaways from the two-day event:

1. The press release is not dead.

Subject to much debate, the press release is actually not dead. According to some of the region’s top travel editors, they still often use press releases as a resource for generating new stories. The key is in the content. Who are you trying to reach? What message are you trying to convey? Every press release must have a story worth telling, and the less work that editors have to do with your release, the more likely they are to use it.

2. When it comes to pitching, make sure you know what each outlet covers.

A travel magazine focused on experiential, narrative pieces isn’t any more likely to write a product review than Martha Stewart Living is to run an article on the Indy 500. When you’re sending a targeted pitch, make sure you’re familiar with the different categories and sections within a publication. If you’re pitching a travel product, pay attention to the blogs that publish product reviews and the magazines that have gear editors.

3. Every story needs a specific angle.

An event announcement alone is not an angle. When you’re building pitches, make sure that you’ve thought through your specific angle in advance. Think about your niche and why your idea is relevant. For example, a list of the Northwest’s top distilleries is a story that has probably been done before, but what about a roundup of the women behind Northwest’s whiskey distilleries? Not only does the female-owned angle make it more newsworthy, but it also targets a specific niche.

4. Engagement matters more than followers.

Forming a partnership with an Instagram influencer will only benefit you if they have a loyal following. Note that I said loyal – not large. That’s because the number of followers doesn’t matter if the audience isn’t consuming the content. Engagement not only influences the visibility of your content, but it also gauges how well the content resonates with a specific audience.

5. Know your target audience.

While getting an article published in O, The Oprah Magazine may be a dream for some, it’s not going to do much good if your primary target audience is millennials. Knowing your target audience gives you clarity on where you should be pitching and how you should be engaging. For example, millennial-oriented brands are much more likely to be active on Instagram and Twitter than their boomer-focused counterparts.

 

So what’s the moral of the story? Do your homework first. Take the time to develop strong story angles, read articles written by the people you’re pitching and research what your audience is reading. The extra time it takes will pay off in the long run!




By Maddy McAlpine

Brand positioning is key to staying relevant in today’s world of information overload. With the never-ending stream of resources available, it’s easy to be misinformed or be overwhelmed by the number of paths your brand could take.

We recommend starting with these three steps to effectively define your brand and position it for your targeted audience.

1. Embrace your competition.

There’s almost always going to be a Pepsi to your Coca-cola. A BMW to your Mercedes. It’s a hard one to accept, but almost no one offers a completely unique product or service. No matter what you are selling or offering, chances are good that you have competition.

Instead of focusing on your product, take the opportunity to focus on your competition and your audience. How are you different from your competition? And if you aren’t that different from your competition, how can you position yourself to stand out? What you learn from asking these questions can sometimes make all the difference.

2. Avoid clichés like the plague.

It’s impossible to position yourself as different or better if you are using the same tired language that everyone has heard a million times before. This includes:

  • Great customer service
  • Exceeding customer expectations
  • One-stop shop
  • Hidden gem

Vague, clichéd phrases mean virtually nothing, causing people to shut down and not be receptive to your message. The best way to gain a fresh perspective and develop strong copy is simply to hire a professional copywriter. It’s money well spent and will make your messaging clear, concise and cliché free.

3. Information is just as important as inspiration.

It’s important for your messaging to have facts mixed in with the bits and pieces of your brand that get you fired up. However, not all your potential clients will want to know the same things. And the facts that you find interesting or the things that get you fired up may not be what your clients care about.

It’s most important to look at who your clients are. What do they care about and what pieces of information are key when making the decision to choose your product or service?



By Sara Blanchard

Is drinking coffee on an empty stomach bad for you? And is 300-400 mg a reasonable recommended limit for caffeine consumed per day?

Leading health and wellness experts weigh in on The Today Show regarding what is considered ‘safe’ coffee consumption.

“Each person must decide if the early morning coffee on an empty stomach works for them,” NBC News Health and Nutrition Editor Madelyn Fernstrom tells The Today Show. “It works for some people, and not others. What’s most important is to know your own body.”

What about when it comes to low-acid coffee?

Fernstrom says the issue is two-fold. Acid is naturally found in coffee and can trigger the production of acid in your stomach, while people who suffer from reflux and heartburn are already vulnerable.

For those of you who are sensitive to caffeine, The Today Show acknowledges the benefits of drinking trücup low-acid coffee and how it may be a better option to fuel you for the day. Read more about what the industry’s leading nutrition experts have to say about healthy coffee consumption here.



By Maggy Lehmicke

One of the daily benefits of working at PARSONS + CO (aside from a witty team and spontaneous dog visits) is the clients who are set on being game-changers in their industry. One of our newest clients, GRAYL, is doing just that – working to create a world where people no longer rely on plastic.

“It’s not just about selling bottles,” says Travis Merrigan, one of GRAYL’s co-founders. “We’re not trying to get people to stop using plastic water bottles…we’re looking to get people to stop using single-use plastic.”

Haven’t yet heard of GRAYL? Here are our top three reasons the GRAYL Ultralight Bottle should be your go-to travel companion and is the perfect gift for the adventurer in your life:

  1. A safer (and simpler) way to see the world.

For many world travelers and outdoor adventurers, clean water often becomes a concern. Whether it’s drinking from a backwoods stream or filling up at a sketchy hotel sink, GRAYL can easily (and safely!) satisfy the needs of a thirsty traveler through its patented, purification process. GRAYL’s full-spectrum purification and filtration removes 99.9% of all viruses, bacteria and protozoa. Oh…and did we mention it only takes 15 seconds?

  1. A sustainable culture and concern for the environment.

One GRAYL purifier cartridge displaces 300 single-use water bottles, helping contribute to the reduction of plastic waste in our environment and making it easier for globetrotters to travel sustainably.

The team at GRAYL is also committed to giving back, particularly when it comes to the environment. The company recently joined 1% for the Planet, contributing a portion of their sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.

  1. GRAYL-purified water actually tastes good.

Unlike a lot of water purifiers that produce safe drinking water, GRAYL adds filtration into the process, helping to get rid of some of the unnecessary (and frankly, gross) flavors that may be present in the water. GRAYL makes it possible to drink out of a garbage-infested stream without your water tasting like actual garbage.

At Parsons, we couldn’t be more excited to partner with such a forward-thinking client and continue to spread the word about the environmental impact of plastic! Hit us up to learn more about the work we’re doing with GRAYL or about how you can reduce your plastic footprint when you travel.



Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce is home to an abundance of natural beauty, whether it’s the rugged mountain peaks, Ohme Gardens or the Columbia River Known for its distinctive landscape and adventurous spirit, the Valley incites the interest of explorers with its variety of unique activities that promote a connection with nature, provide invigorating experiences and forge lasting memories. Here are a few of our favorites:

Stand-Up-Paddleboard Yoga and Tours:

Paddleboard Yoga

A yoga class testing their skills on the water. (Photo credit: ILA Yoga)

Stand-up-paddleboard (SUP) Yoga? Yup, you heard us right.

Conducted by ILA Yoga studio in Wenatchee, SUP Yoga classes are taught on a paddleboard instead of a yoga mat, making them much more dynamic. The classes challenge your core strength and help build your balance – all while enjoying a peaceful setting. The connection to nature is just another way to help you take your practice to new heights!

ILA Yoga also provides paddleboard tours, a great way to explore Wenatchee’s local waterways. Practice your balance and paddling while immersing yourself in the wildlife and natural wonders the estuary has to offer. You might even catch a glimpse of rare birds, otters and deer. Worried about falling in? Nothing feels better than soaking in the Columbia River on a hot summer day.

Art on the Avenues Sculpture Walk:

The Perennial Heart by Sabah Al Dharer

The Perennial Heart by Sabah Al-Dharer. (Photo Credit: Art on the Avenues)

Spread along the Loop Trail and throughout Wenatchee, the sculptures of Art on the Avenues provide a way for visitors to immerse themselves in the works of nationally and internationally renowned artists.

Art on the Avenues (AOTA) began in 1994 with only 24 sculptures. Today, the nonprofit exhibits 88 pieces. A majority are permanent and owned by the city or AOTA while the rest are either privately owned or for sale. The visiting collection rotates approximately every two years, providing tourists and locals with a whole new collection of art to admire.

Looking for a fun activity to do in November? AOTA’s teaching program, called “Beauty of the Bronze,” helps spread artistic awareness to future generations.

A resident artist provides instruction combined with art tours, sketching and sculpting. Over 600 students will be in the program and their pieces will be on display in the Wenatchee Museum for two weeks in November.

Rocky Reach Dam:

Rocky Reach Dam

The fish ladder at Rocky Reach Dam. (Photo credit: Gord McKenna)

For a more relaxing summer afternoon, head to the Rocky Reach Dam Museum and Visitor Center on the west side of the dam. Complete with a quaint café and panoramic views of the dam and grounds, the visitor center has a lot to offer locals and tourists alike.

Tour the museum exhibits or explore the 30 acres of manicured lawns and gardens, which are perfect for an afternoon picnic. If you’d prefer to stay indoors, the visitor center has a 90-seat theater that shows films throughout the day and upon request.

Rocky Reach Dam also boasts a fish ladder viewing room that allows visitors to observe salmon and steelhead as they make their migration upstream. Between the fish bypass system, Columbia River and Lake Entiat reservoir, there is plenty to interest outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife gurus alike.



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