Deep Thoughts

Design Agency vs. Marketing Communications Firm

June 29th, 2016 by Geoffrey
Often, the folks we talk to don't really understand what we do as a marketing communications firm. Specifically, they don't really understand the difference between what we do and what a design agency does. [caption id="attachment_126" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Image from"][/caption] And then Digital Synopsis published an article that unknowingly and perfectly illustrates the point. The title? "27 Funny Posters and Charts that Graphic Designers Will Relate To." According to the compiler (not really an author), a graphic designer will relate to the image to the right, presumably the use of the Comic Sans typeface. Is this what makes a design firm cringe? What about a marketing communications firm? Sure, we dislike Comic Sans, too. But we look at the entire message. Our approach is to comprehensively elevate and advance our clients' brands in everything they do, whether the audiences are external or internal.
"Our approach is to comprehensively elevate and advance our clients' brands in everything they do . . . "
First and foremost, if you're a Fortune 500 company, you shouldn't be using copier paper to create signage for your office. Or for the passive-aggressive response to poor signage. Instead have a placard produced advising occupants to keep the door closed. The placard should be consistent with other signage in the building, and if possible, should be consistent with any graphic identity standards the company has adopted. Next, promote the proper use of the English language, including spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. Empower an appropriate employee to be the brand protector. This Fortune 500 company likely has a marketing communications director, brand manager, or similar position; that individual should see to it that the brand—and everything it represents—is only represented in ways that elevate it. This should be the case not just for external matters, but even internal matters like signage, apparel, and that company coffee mug everyone carries around in the morning. Pride in the brand begins on the individual employee level and creates a culture within any organization. Fostering a culture that values the brand is critical in increasing brand perception by others outside of the organization, including customers, potential customers, industry partners . . . and the competition! So no, your company is not a lemonade stand. Be aware that your brand is an investment and requires care accordingly. You have to consider it. You have to pay for it. You have to protect it. And you have to foster its growth. And the proper care requires someone to look at the brand from all angles. Is a marketing communications firm a good fit for your brand? Can a marketing communications firm provide broader perspective than you already have? Give us a call and let's talk about it!

News from the Exciting World of Fonts

November 13th, 2014 by Geoffrey

We love fonts.

Maybe not as much as ABC’s The Middle character Brick Heck, who created his very own podcast devoted to fonts (or should we say, “fontcast”). But when we saw that fonts were in the news, actual real mainstream news, we couldn’t help but notice that our heart rate increased ever so slightly and our palms started to get clammy. Yes, we became excited.

In case you missed it, Christian Boer, a 33 year old Dutch designer and a graduate of Utrecht Art academy in the Netherlands, has introduced a “Dyslexie,” a font designed to help those who suffer from dyslexia, a condition he himself has.

Those with dyslexia often subconsciously mirror, switch, or rotate letters and numbers when they read. The International Dyslexia Association believes that up to ten percent of the global population suffers from dyslexia. Interestingly enough, the Cass Business School in London conducted a study and discovered that a significantly higher cross section of entrepreneurs, 35%, show signs of dyslexia.

Dyslexia certainly makes reading a challenging task, especially when traditional typefaces base letter designs for an entire alphabet on only a handful of shapes. So Boer created his alphabet in a way that helps prevent errors. For instance, he varied the width of strokes, making them thicker at the bottom and narrower at the top. He discarded traditional curves and “pinched” them to prevent readers from mistaking the letter “b” for the letter “d.” Capital letters at the beginning of sentences and punctuation marks are bolder when compared to other characters to more obviously flag pauses in reading.

And the font works. According to the Dyslexie website, two studies conducted by the University of Amsterdam show that 84.3% of Dyslexie users report they can read faster and 77.8% report making fewer errors when using the font.

The question becomes, will business adopt Dyslexie to make print and digital collateral more easily read by those who are affected by such a common disorder (especially considering the increased incidences among entrepreneurs)? If so, will we see the rise of additional typefaces that also enhance readability for dyslexics to provide more variety to designers?

We’re interested to see what the future holds for Dyslexie and how it might be integrated with traditional typefaces in the design world. But remember, in the words of fontanista Brick Heck: “any more than three fonts in the same document, you’re just showing off.”

Keeping the Conversation Going, Tell a Story

June 3rd, 2014 by Dale

A few days ago I mentioned an article an AdAge/BtoB article ( telling of comments delivered by Beth Comstock, GE CMO, at the annual Business Marketing Association meeting this week in Chicago. The report was a thumbnail, and I'm sure CMO Comstock elaborated more fully in her address. I'll use a few of her comments here to springboard into some of my own thinking as I serve my clients.

Among her remarks reported in the article were, "Business marketing can and should have emotion, and connect with people first." This is something GE does well, I think. They talk about how their products and services address issues that people, whether it is GE customers or the end beneficiaries, care about.

Rather than simply showing the product I think it's far more powerful to include images of people in print ads or brochures, or on websites to communicate how they enjoy the benefits of a technology, product, or service, or to communicate the features or benefits themselves. For example, the featured image in an ad for wall coatings (paint) intended for healthcare facility interiors subjected to aggressive cleaning and disinfectants could be a hospital room freshly painted in an attractive, appealing color, and the headline, "Our Wall Coatings Are Durable Enough to Look This Good for Years." Or it could be the same freshly painted hospital room but with beaming young parents holding a newborn baby girl, and the headline, "She'll Be Getting Her Driver's License by the Time This Room Needs Re-Painted." The parents and their newborn certainly benefitted by the attractive, clean, well-kept surroundings of their healthcare facility. But their presence in the ad told a story and made a connection with readers.

[caption id="attachment_102" align="alignright" width="225" caption="'Nuf said."][/caption]

Which do you think has a better chance of breaking through the clutter and connecting?

Another point CMO Comstock made was, "It's important to have a strong brand and communicate who you are."

I'd suggest communicating who you are by what you can do for your customers. That's what GE did for years with their advertising slogan, "We Bring Good Things to Life." The overarching message ("We Bring Good Things to Life") was constant and the content of their ads, collateral, and website told how. They told a story.

The last point Ad Age/BtoB  mentioned among Beth Comstock's remarks was ". . . companies anxious to establish or re-establish their identity with customers can benefit from thinking of marketing and how to use it in the right way, regardless of their size."

I'll substitute the word "brand" for "identity," and here's the baseline for doing it:

The keys to effective branding are message, frequency, and consistency: message in that you must tell your customers and prospects about you and your products in ways that connect with what they need and want, and what they know about how you and your products provide the benefits that can satisfy them; frequency in that customers and prospects will come to know your brand by repetitive exposure to it and the messages associated with it; and consistency in that the brand is presented to the customer always the same. Lack of frequency will result in failure to build cumulative impressions that leads to familiarity. Lack of consistency will lead to confusion and a lack of understanding of who you are, what you do, and why they should buy from you. The role of marketing communications is to provide the means to expose a marketer and its products to customers and prospects frequently and consistently. While each item created for a marketer’s marketing communications mix will have its own objectives, it should also fulfill the broader purpose of reinforcing the marketers brand. Every word of text and every design element is a building block for the brand. That is why all materials created and produced for a marketer should portray a consistent verbal and visual representation of the brand’s personality.  

Are Computers Causing Us to Lose Our Peripheral Vision?

May 29th, 2014 by Dale

There's an article in the latest edition of AdAge/BtoB ( admonishing B2B marketers that they can't sell if they can't tell a story. Looks interesting. I'll read it and maybe share a comment here.

But seeing the title and scanning the story's content, it seems to be a basic concept that sometimes gets lost in the early 21st century, gee-wow technology and new channels available to us in marketing communications.

Another is losing our peripheral vision when it comes to creating print ads and print collateral.

By that I mean, we all use computers. We all peer into that illuminated rectangle, and that's the world we're living in as we write copy and prepare layouts. Do we step back and evaluate what we're doing? Where we are?

Walk into a room, and the sense of where you are is affected by everything around your field of vision. You orient yourself not only by what's in front of you visually, but also by what's to your left, what's to your right, what's above you, and what's at your feet. Your focus is on what's just in front of you, but your vision is actually about 180 degrees. In fact, your sense of where you are is more than 180 degrees. Most of us appreciate our orientation by moving our heads (and our gaze) left and right, up and down. We might even move our bodies to look over our left or right shoulder.

We're taking it all in.

So what does this have to do with writing copy and preparing layouts for print ads and print collateral?

Come back in a couple of days and I'll close the loop on my thesis.

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May 26th, 2011 by Geoffrey

Buy Lorazepam Without Prescription, This post is part one in a series outlining both common problems that can pop up when you engage multimedia technology in your marcom program, and brief solutions to help correct these issues or to prevent them altogether.

It was one of those phone calls I dread receiving. Buy Lorazepam no prescription, You know the kind: your heart sinks, your palms start to sweat, Lorazepam steet value, Lorazepam dangers, and you begin to analyze how you produced the project, second-guessing every little thing you’ve done:

“Hey, is Lorazepam safe, Lorazepam schedule, I’m on the trade show floor, and the DVDs you created don’t work.”


After spending some time troubleshooting with the client, Lorazepam alternatives, Lorazepam over the counter, I realized that the issue was with the client’s DVD player, not the DVDs, Lorazepam results. Online buying Lorazepam, Once we made the determination, the issue was quickly resolved and the client was able to display their video, Lorazepam treatment, Cheap Lorazepam no rx, just as planned.

You see, the problem was that the client had replaced their old DVD players with new DVD players, Lorazepam canada, mexico, india, Where to buy Lorazepam, unaware that not all DVD players accept the same disc media. And not knowing that they had purchased new units, Lorazepam from canada, Rx free Lorazepam, we burned the video project to “DVD-R” discs, which we had positively tested on the older DVD players, is Lorazepam addictive. What is Lorazepam, As luck would have it, the new DVD players only read “DVD+R” discs, no prescription Lorazepam online, Lorazepam recreational, rendering our DVD-R discs utterly useless and leaving the client in a lurch as their trade show exhibit was about to open.

That’s right: there is more than one format for DVD media, and for the most part, Lorazepam online cod, Lorazepam from mexico, different types of DVDs don’t play nice with each other. There are “DVD-R” and “DVD+R,” formats “DVD-RW” and “DVD+RW,” formats, Blu-Ray DVDs, dual-layer DVDs, and now even a “DVD-R+” format, Buy Lorazepam Without Prescription. (And that’s not even taking into account whether the data on the disc was encoded as PAL or NTSC!) Each type of disc has different capabilities and functionality, Lorazepam description, Buy cheap Lorazepam, and different brands of DVD players will only play certain types of DVD media. It’s like the Wild West, after Lorazepam, Lorazepam dosage, folks, and it can be mind boggling.

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April 26th, 2010 by Geoffrey

Buy Xanax Without Prescription, Every day I come across more articles touting the rise of digital marketing and social media . Xanax without prescription, . , buy Xanax from mexico. Xanax brand name, and likewise, the decline of print ad revenue, Xanax pictures, Buy Xanax without a prescription, the need for printed collateral, etc, order Xanax from United States pharmacy. Buy Xanax online cod, Marketing departments are turning to the Internet to reach their customers because they believe that they can get the best “bang for their buck” in an age when budgets are all but disappearing. B-to-b and consumer product companies alike are using sites like YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and blogs just like this one to build awareness, create preferences, and yes, even have conversations with their markets within these social media channels that are ostensibly free to use!

But hang on just a minute, Buy Xanax Without Prescription. In my daily travels I still see a lot of printed business cards, order Xanax from mexican pharmacy, Xanax duration, brochures, flyers, Xanax interactions, Xanax dose, direct mailers, data sheets, my Xanax experience, Xanax used for, journals, and yes, australia, uk, us, usa, Where can i find Xanax online, even newspapers. If we continue to spend money to produce more traditional print pieces, doses Xanax work, Xanax gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release, then there must still be demand for print. Perhaps it’s a desire to have something you can hold, real brand Xanax online, Get Xanax, feel, and flip through leisurely, purchase Xanax for sale. Purchase Xanax online, Perhaps there are those who avoid Twitter in their professional lives because they prefer to use social media for just that--private socialization. Buy Xanax Without Prescription, And, of course, perhaps there are still some people out there who don't have Twitter and Facebook accounts and just can’t stand reading paragraphs of text on a computer screen.

The issue becomes one of integration: we know that we need to you maintain consistent, relevant brand identities, so how can we create a realm in which we incorporate our web channels into our print channels, and vice-versa?

I’ve listed three general, common-sense guidelines that you can build on in such diverse channels to ensure a consistent presence to support your marketing communications program:

  • Graphic Identity: You want people to know they're looking at your company’s Twitter account, print ad, or blog just by virtue of the consistent use of the corporate graphic identity—that brand new Twitter account shouldn't look altogether different from everything else you’re doing to reach the marketplace just because it's a new channel. Where possible, comprar en línea Xanax, comprar Xanax baratos, Xanax samples, logo size and placement, use of corporate colors, buy Xanax without prescription, Xanax pharmacy, and image selection should all be consistent. Graphic identity programs address printed materials and perhaps even basic web identities, herbal Xanax, Xanax use, so take cues from your program’s standards and translate them to Facebook, Twitter, Xanax trusted pharmacy reviews, Xanax natural, blogs, etc.

  • Message: Your brand message shouldn't change just because your MarCom channel does, buying Xanax online over the counter. Xanax no rx, If your brand message is "first," "best, ordering Xanax online, Canada, mexico, india, " "lowest cost," or "most helpful, Xanax from canadian pharmacy, Xanax no prescription, " that message should permeate from broadcast to print to web. Case-in-point, for insurance giant Geico, "fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance" on TV, in magazines, and on the web.

  • Interconnection: Drive your audience to cross the print-digital divide and check out additional channels. For instance, include your Twitter or LinkedIn account on your print ads and business cards, Buy Xanax Without Prescription. Include an exclusive "online-only" offer as part of a direct mailing. Announce and promote your new print ad campaign on your Twitter account. Be creative, and you’ll certainly come up with a solid set of ideas on how to bridge this gap. (To get you started, take a look at the innovative and effective ways some companies are doing it in this b-to-b article.)

Now it’s time to get started. Take a look at your marketing communications program and see if everything meshes together. If not, perhaps it’s time to make a plan to develop a more consistent (and therefore stronger) brand message that encompasses every MarCom channel you choose to use.


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September 30th, 2009 by Geoffrey

According to a recent study conducted by marketing company Alterian Xanax For Sale, , half of the marketers polled believe that social media is the crux of customer engagement. Whether or not you agree with those marketers, buy Xanax online no prescription, Xanax class, communicating with your customers and the marketplace in an engaging way is nevertheless an excellent strategy for capturing attention, gaining interest, Xanax wiki, Buy generic Xanax, and setting your company and your products apart from the competition. So if you’re hesitant to dive head-first into Twitter, low dose Xanax, About Xanax, Facebook, and blogging, purchase Xanax, Taking Xanax, what else is there?

What about video?

Believe it or not, decent video footage is not too expensive to produce, order Xanax no prescription. Purchase Xanax online no prescription, With the increasing popularity of vodcasts, most customers will accept footage that isn’t the most polished, online buying Xanax hcl. Japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, In fact, it may be more attractive to your customers if they have a look at your company that is more “real” than scripted.

GE, Xanax maximum dosage, Where can i buy Xanax online, one of the most pervasive brands in the world, understands the value of producing video that is not perfectly staged, where can i buy cheapest Xanax online. I visited their vodcast page, “GE on Demand,” this summer while I was researching corporate use of social media, Xanax For Sale. Xanax overnight, One of the first things I noticed was a vodcast interview of one of their vice presidents regarding innovation. What caught my attention wasn’t the “meat” of the interview, Xanax photos, Generic Xanax, but rather the setting in which it was conducted: the executive’s office. It wasn’t some impeccably clean executive suite with a stuffy VP sitting behind a huge mahogany monolith; rather, Xanax coupon, Xanax without a prescription, it was a regular guy sitting among piles of papers and books. It was real, online buy Xanax without a prescription. Xanax For Sale, It gave the video a more genuine quality, and I was able to relate to him as a regular guy having a conversation.

Since then, that particular vodcast has been replaced by more recent vodcasts. Kjøpe Xanax på nett, köpa Xanax online, For the most part, they are all well-done, Xanax blogs, Xanax pics, presentable videos. But there are little nuances that show a slightly more “real, Xanax reviews, Order Xanax online overnight delivery no prescription, ” less scripted side of GE: employees walking back and forth in a hallway behind the speaker, scientists and engineers wearing bulky safety goggles that create glare into the camera, Xanax price, Buy Xanax from canada, slightly shaky videography, etc, Xanax long term. Discount Xanax, If anything, these details add to the viewer’s engagement and genuine quality of the message, online Xanax without a prescription, Discount Xanax, just like the VP’s office clutter.

While your video project doesn’t require the most sophisticated equipment and technique, it does require some forethought, doses Xanax work. Xanax schedule, What is the story you wish to tell. How is that story best captured by video, Xanax without a prescription. Remember to stick to the topic at hand and keep the video to a reasonable length.

So start thinking about telling your story with video. Invite your customers into your business and show them what you’re all about. You don’t have to create the next Hollywood blockbuster, but you can certainly create video that engages your customers and shows them the real you.


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September 15th, 2009 by Dale

Ambien For Sale, Websites have become a key hub for B-to-B marketing communications. Where to buy Ambien, They can serve as an important nexus for each marcom channel a business uses to reach and communicate with its customers and the greater MarCom Channel Relationshipsmarketplace. The dynamics of a website have become even more robust with the introduction and popularity of social media channels.

But crucial to realizing the best results (top-of-mind awareness, is Ambien addictive, Ambien use, thought leadership, market leadership) is frequent, Ambien results, Ambien forum, constant updating.

Become inattentive to your website, and visitors stop coming around, buy Ambien no prescription. Ambien dangers, Go to sleep, and search engine web crawlers won’t find you, buy no prescription Ambien online. Japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, Let cobwebs and dust bunnies accumulate, and you’ll encourage speculation on the health of the corpse (pardon the oxymoron).

Bottom line: If you lose interest in your web site, Ambien recreational, Online buying Ambien hcl, why would you expect your customers to remain interested?

Creating your website is just your first cost. Like buying a car, you’ve got to check and change the oil, replace worn tires, Ambien For Sale. , taking Ambien. Ambien wiki, . even wash it and vacuum the interior occasionally, real brand Ambien online. Get Ambien, (After all, if your web site starts taking on the look--and smell--of Uncle Buck’s car, order Ambien no prescription, Buy generic Ambien, analogically speaking of course, why would you expect anyone to join you for a ride?)

I’m not suggesting that your website needs a complete overhaul, buy Ambien online no prescription. Just show some energy and enthusiasm for your brand and your products and services.

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September 3rd, 2009 by Geoffrey

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Think about it. If you’re the only house on the street lit up like the Griswolds at Christmastime, where can i find Ambien online, Ambien samples, even during the day, you’ll be much easier to locate in a situation when seconds count, is Ambien safe. Online Ambien without a prescription, Instead of letting the ambulance wander up and down the street, slowing in front of each residence to check the address, kjøpe Ambien på nett, köpa Ambien online, Ambien long term, your lights send a loud, clear, buy cheap Ambien no rx, Buy Ambien online cod, unmistakable message that screams “Here we are!” to draw attention to your address. So you can be doing other things like providing chest compressions, applying direct pressure to a wound, or even just remaining calm while help comes for you, Buy Ambien Without Prescription. And in the meantime you can be sure that help won’t pass by.

Should the same be true for your marketing communications program?

During this economic downturn, Ambien images, Ambien class, I’ve heard lots of talk about companies large and small “going dark.” Money becomes tight, budgets get cut, about Ambien, Order Ambien online overnight delivery no prescription, and one of the areas on the chopping block is marketing communications. So as a result, purchase Ambien for sale, Generic Ambien, marketing and marcom groups reduce or even eliminate programs. The danger is becoming invisible to customers and losing top-of-mind awareness, Ambien cost, Ambien dose, and remaining invisible to potential customers who may pass you by altogether.

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Turn on all of your “outside lights.” Send a loud, clear, Ambien reviews, Where can i cheapest Ambien online, unmistakable message that screams “Here we are!” Maintain a robust advertising schedule. Engage in direct mail campaigns, no prescription Ambien online. Be actively visible to your customer base so you can’t be passed up. Do this, and you can actually increase sales and profits during the downturn.


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