Sparks April 2006 -

Sparks April 2006

In the News

Build your brand through co-production
Customer experiences are the foundation of brand-building. While we recommend emotional branding as often the most effective way for small businesses to create positive customer experiences, other forms of brand-building exist.

One form is “co-production,” where customers are active co-creators in the brand-building process. Examples include the Build-a-Bear workshops, where participants create their own stuffed animal, or Nike’s, which allows visitors to customize a wide range of shoes, apparel, and fitness accessories.

While not suitable for every business, co-production is an exciting way to build customer loyalty. When the experience is well designed, customers feel empowered, delighted, and important. Which really brings us back to emotional branding, doesn’t it?
Learn more about co-production branding (free registration req’d)

Bottom Line Design Awards
The second annual Bottom Line Design Awards, given by Business 2.0 and Silicon Valley’s Frog Design, show how design makes a difference to a business’s bottom line. But design is only one criterion; entries are judged on user experience, brand strategy, sustainability, innovation, risk taking, corporate strategy, business impact, cultural impact, and the element of surprise. The Bottom Line Design Awards show the integrated approach to brand development that corporate American is beginning to recognize; that all aspects of a product, service, and experience go into the bottom line.
See the winners

Mills featured speaker at area classes
Cairril Mills, principal of Design & Marketing, was the featured speaker at a number of recent events.

Mills taught the Marketing 101 class for SEED Corp.’s Small Business Planning Course, offered in partnership with the Small Business Development Center. The class introduces start-up and existing businesses to basic marketing principles. Participants then share real-world examples to put the principles into action.

Mills spoke on branding and utilizing the Internet to connect with customers at The Business of Art, an Indiana University Continuing Studies Course taught by local artist Ned Shaw. She fielded questions on site content, copyright protections, search engine rankings, and how to define one’s target market.

Want to hear Mills speak on branding, marketing, or design? Contact us at 812.331.1045.




This month’s winner: Marne Potter!
Marne wins a digital print featuring this one-of-a-kind design. Have a favorite quote or saying? Send it in! If your quote is chosen, you’ll receive a T-shirt with a custom design! Check out your competition here.

Client Spotlight

Mary McCarty is one of those rare people who just makes you want to smile. She also happens to be Creative Strategies Consultant for Sequel, a firm specializing in licensing, brand management/support, and product development.

As a “matchmaker” for projects and creative resources, she approached us to develop concepts for a line of greeting cards which have song lyrics as their main component. The concepts are being presented to investors who may back a test launch of cards to be placed in high-end retail outlets.

Mary was inspired by our VisoVerbo designs, our deep love of music, and the fact that we were colleagues at a greeting card company for many years. We were equally inspired by the challenge of taking time-honored classics and communicating the essence of each song through very simple means.

Because music touches such deep emotional chords, we wanted to create a strong graphic statement but not cross the line too far into storytelling. Our goal was to create cards which are visually compelling so that the consumer picks them up off the rack, but then gives space to the consumer to relive their memories, feel the rush of emotions associated with the song, and (if we’re lucky) even start singing the song in the store!

Keep your fingers crossed that the investors will pick up the concepts and develop the whole line.