Clearly understanding who you are and what your needs are is essential in developing a design strategy. We’ve worked with start-ups as well as corporate giants and not one of them has had the same problems, nor the same solutions. Below is a list of questions that you may need to step outside of your business to answer. These initial questions help identify, at sky-level: What is the perceived value of my product or service? How is my product unique? What can I offer that my competitors can’t (or don’t)? How much time and resources can I realistically commit to my needs? Once these questions are answered, you’ll have a baseline to start from.

What space do you currently fill?

Stepping back and analyzing your current space provides you with a foundation needed for planning.
Answer these basic questions:

  • Who are your customers and where are they?
  • What are their needs and what are their wants?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Who are your major competitors?
  • What are your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • What short-term/long-term changes or trends do you foresee in your industry?

What unique selling propositions do you possess?

These are often your most hidden and possibly your most effective attributes that consumers are attracted to everyday. They are what your product or service has to offer. It’s not enough to say that your products are “fresher” or “better”. . . rather “Why” your products are “fresher” or “better”. They answer the question “Why”. This sometimes requires some in-depth review of a company’s operation areas.

What’s your objective?

The objective defines “what” the web site, campaign or design will be built to accomplish. Advertising helps communicate and accomplish marketing objectives by increasing awareness, acceptance and preference. Examples of Marketing Objectives could be, but are definitely not limited to:

  • stimulate trial by non-customers.
  • convert secondary customers to primary customers.
  • mitigate image issues.
  • reinforce positive attributes (cleanliness, convenience, service, etc.)
  • proactively answer common questions taking the mystery out of a product of service.

Define Your Current Strategy

An advertising strategy is defined as the course of action, expressed in a plan to accomplish your company’s advertising objectives. This strategy must be formulated into a message that will favorably impress the potential buyers of your product or service as well as those who can influence conversion.  Select a strategy or a combination of strategies that:

  • will best acheive your objectives.
  • is within your capabilities, both financially and operationally.
  • is based on your market and defined target audience.

Define Your Target Audience

As defined the Target Audience is the desired or intended audience for advertising as described or determined by the advertiser. Usually defined in terms of specific demographics purchase or ownership characteristics (age, income, sex, etc). In short, the Target Audience defines “Who” we are trying to reach.

What’s Going On Now?

If you’re an existing business, my hope is that you’ve currently got something going that’s working. I don’t feel the need to have my client’s on my total creation. If what you have has been working, let’s build on top of that and see how we can improve it, lean it out or streamline it. If you feel like you really have no bones to work with or if you’re just starting, let’s start from scratch and create a foundation that you can build on for the future.

Be Prepared to Commit?

“Advertising” and “Branding” are very different things. You can advertise daily or weekly to sell your products and be successful. Advertising usually shows short-term, noticeable, quick profit. Branding refers more to your company’s or product’s “perceived value” by it’s customers and/or community. Branding involves long-term, if not life-time commitment. Be prepared to realistic commit to each option as you put your campaigns together. For instance, most of the customers I work with want to start a blog or monthly newsletter which is a great way to gain interest, build SEO, etc. (this is usually done to stabilize brand awareness and instill legitimacy). Rarely do those clients follow through after the 2nd or 3rd iteration. The time we put into building those assets is not only wasted money for the client, but leaves a negative impact on those potential customers who expected to get more later. Realistic, how much time, interest and financial availability do you have now and in the future?

“Lane built a great looking, affordable website with the functionality & design we were looking for and has been proactive & responsive in hosting & maintaining our site. We could not be more pleased & highly recommend!”

Keri Johnson
Owner – Creative Housing Group, llc

“Lane has been fantastic to work with. All expectations have been met on schedule. The correct balance of art, skill and business acumen. Thank you for the new web page and the occasional updates.”

-Henry Suarez
Henry Suarez and Associates

“Working with Lane was great. We had struggled through a website redesign with another company for over ten months. Lane was able to quickly jump in and not only deliver a professionally looking site but  re-engineer the structure with modern functionality. It’s great having someone who knows what they are doing but even better when you have someone who communicates throughout the process. He’s part of our team now.”

-John “Rain” Waters
Director of Marketing – Hangar 24 Brewing

“One of the most important attributes of a great designer is their ability to innovate when given minimal direction. Lane has not only been a valued design partner, but also an important part of my creative process, lending his expertise and direction to improve each design project.”

-Jamie C. Smith
Foreword Marketing

“A heartfelt thank you to Lane Butz for his exceptional work on our website.  It’s important to work with someone who can elevate your ideas into something eye-catching and special, while staying true to your brand.  Lane is not only a talented designer, but also incredibly wonderful to work with.  He is warm, patient, professional, and detail oriented.  As a new nonprofit, we had a lot of questions and changes.  Lane rolled with it all and gave as an incredible product.  Thank you Lane! We love it!”

Alison Crowley (C-IAYT) – Co-Founder and Creative Director –Bolster & Bridge


Paso Robles, CA  93446

Irvine, CA  92620

Phone: (626) 298-5992