Sparks January 2006 -

Sparks January 2006

In the News

Four trends that will impact your brand
Ever wish you had a crystal ball to know how to position your business for the future? Here are four trends from MarketingProfs that impact your brand’s future.

Customers are creators. “Customization” has long been a buzzword on the Web, where allows consumers to construct their own shoes and view them from five angles. How can you allow your customers to have more control over their experience of your brand?

Everyone’s a cynic. People are very cynical about brand promises. Deliver on yours consistently to build trust. Use third-party testimonials to build credibility.

Don’t waste time. A variety of polls show that people value time more than money. Your brand will thrive when it allows customers to get what they want, when they want it. Bonus points if you help customers save time.

360º channel experience. Media are converging. Phone, TV, web, and radio are morphing into a seamless information system where customers can interact with your brand anytime, anywhere. Prep for the future like JC Penney: Enter your zip code on and download coupons for your local store; browse a catalogue in print or online; purchase or return any item through any channel. Businesses who still think of their website as separate from their print campaigns or who haven’t considered a wireless future are already falling behind.

Want web traffic? Keep it fresh
Many businesses are rightly concerned with ranking high in search engine results for keywords related to their offerings. But too many businesses think that if they just build a website, high rankings will come.

Over 100 factors influence how Google decides to rank your site; fresh content is near the top. The “googlebot” is a program that automatically spiders your website on a regular basis, noting what pages are included and what topics they cover. It then updates Google’s database of over 8 billion web pages.

But guess what? The googlebot also notes how old your pages are, how frequently they’re changed, and how frequently you add new pages or content. If the refresh rate is slow, the googlebot visits your site less frequently, and your rankings can drop.

The googlebot loves sites that serve fresh, relevant content. At the very least, your site should stay up-to-date with regular simple press releases, product update announcements, or coupons and specials. Even 15 minutes once a month to update your site will help keep it fresh and in the googlebot’s sights.




This month’s winner: Mike Christoff!
Three-time VisoVerbo champ Mike Christoff 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

Canine Companions
We featured Canine Companions in our September issue to share the work we’d done to develop their new logo. Brand development continued through the creation of a new four-color brochure and a redesigned website.

Canine Companions’ old website was cute and amateurish, not reflecting the new direction of the brand. We started from scratch, developing new site architecture, design elements, and functionality.

Our design stakes out new territory for a pet care provider. The vast majority of websites in the industry are amateurish and rely heavily on cute cartoon figures. Our approach is to focus on the brand feel of upscale, caring, fun services. Warm colors, rounded corners, and soft drop shadows give the site a welcoming feel.

The home page features a large, friendly ad that changes with each visit. Each ad incorporates a high-quality photo and brief text to highlight a particular product or service. Buttons on the left side of the page give visitors one-click access to the most-used pages of the site: reservations, customer survey, and the ever-popular Doggy Cam.

Site content is divided into 4 main categories, with drop-down menus allowing visitors to click through to their desired page immediately. Interactive forms allow visitors to sign up for classes, vet care, grooming, and boarding. Site copy is optimized for search engines, zipping Canine Companions to among the top 3 search results in all the major search engines.

Positive reaction to the redesigned site was immediate and overwhelming, with sign-up forms submitted the same day the site was launched! The new site has raised Canine Companions’ profile and contributed to increased up-selling and cross-selling. It’s also added to customers’ convenience and helped build the brand.

View the site designed by