Sparks January 2004 -

Sparks January 2004

In the News

Happy New Year!
Welcome back to Sparks! We took December off to recharge our creative batteries and now return with news, our client spolight, and this month’s VisoVerbo!

Employees as brand evangelists
Our last issue of Sparks introduced the concept of branding and how it’s about building relationships with your clients/ customers. While branding may be embraced by key decision-makers within a company, it’s your employees who make or break your brand, since they have the most constant contact with your customers. When your employees are psyched about your product or service, that enthusiasm and commitment gets communicated to your customers, which gives them a more positive brand experience.

How do you turn employees into evangelists for your brand? Start by listening to their feedback on what’s working with your brand and where gaps exist between what’s written on paper and what’s put into action. Keep two-way communication strong through events, recognition programs for brand stewards, and contests. Learn more about employees as brand evangelists in Talk the Talk from

The buzz about blogs
In the last six months, businesses and organizations have been jumping on the blog bandwagon. Blogs (short for Web logs) originated as personal online journals. But once the blogs of Howard Dean’s presidential campaign started mobilizing thousands of people to take collective action, businesses started paying attention. When it became known that blogs rank higher in some search engines than static pages, the rush was on.

Businesses and organizations are using blogs as a way to communicate regular product, service, or informational updates to their audiences in an informal, personalized way. The hallmarks of blogs are an immediate, personal style; the use of in-copy links to related sites; regularly updated content; and the ability of visitors to post replies. It’s the fresh content and links to related sites that help blogs outperform static pages in search engines. Learn more about the benefits of blogs in Internet Marketing and Blogs from SitePro News.

Jack Brubaker Designs featured
in local paper

Our client Jack Brubaker Designs was featured in the Homes section issueof the Herald-Times in November. Jack’s beautiful metalwork candleholders and wine racks are often given as holiday or wedding gifts. However, Jack is equally skilled in creating distinctive, custom-made architectural works and furniture. Learn more about Jack’s work at his Web site, designed by Design.



This month’s winner: Richard Bruck!
In addition to the envy of people everywhere, Richard wins a T-shirt 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

City of Bloomington
As part of a strategy to deliver online services and information more easily to constituents, the City of Bloomington hired us to completely overhaul their government Website. Bloomington’s old site was built by hand, with each department responsible for publishing individual pages of content. With no overall design or navigation strategy, the site suffered from poor usability and did not give citizens easy access to its wealth of information. Partnering with the ineffable Gregory Volan (Chief Information Officer) and eGov Strategies, we rebuilt the site from the ground up.

Using focus groups, extensive research, and targeted strategy sessions, we developed a plan for the site which organized content around visitors’ needs rather than departmental organization. Integrating our visitor-focused strategy with eGov’s expertise in building back-end tools for governments, we created a site which serves both citizens and City staff.

Our new design reflects Bloomington’s fresh and progressive culture while meeting federal accessibility guidelines and making the site extremely easy to use. Consistency in design helps visitors find what they need fast, while the attractive and streamlined interface reflects City departments’ professionalism. We’ll be continuing to make improvements to the site as more content and services come on-line.

Government Websites are notoriously poorly designed (visually and structurally); the new City of Bloomington site positions our city as the progressive and technologically savvy community that it is.

See the new City site designed by Design.