Sparks January 2009 -

Sparks January 2009

In the News

Happy New Year!
Sparks is back with more great tips to keep your business in the know.

Sign up for hands-on marketing workshop!
In cooperation with the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, we’ll be presenting a hands-on workshop at the upcoming “Growth, Profits, & Solutions” event on February 12th at 10:30AM.

Our session will focus on you—bring your marketing materials (brochures, business cards, ads, etc) or even your intangibles like your tagline or elevator pitch. We’ll analyze the piece and give you expert advice on how to make it more effective!

The workshop takes place at Holiday Inn Express in Bloomington and includes lunch. Other marketing workshops will run throughout the morning.

This is one workshop you’re sure to get something valuable out of! Sign up now to get discounted admission.
Get full information (pdf)

Choosing a cause to sponsor
Many of our clients sponsor events and social causes in the community. This is often due to the values the company holds. But sponsoring causes also reflects your brand.

According to Joe and Christine Ray, principals of Estudio Ray, a firm specializing in marketing to Latinos, advertisers tend to stereotype when marketing to Latinos.

  • Choose a cause in line with your goals. A real estate developer may choose to support a land trust, for instance.
  • Choose a cause with wide appeal. The more popular the cause, the more people will see your brand associated with it.
  • Make sure the cause reaches your target market. A bizarre example of what not to do: Wal-Mart underwrites NPR. Suffice it to say, these two organizations have very different target markets.
  • Don’t think sponsoring a cause will help fix your bad image. As in the previous example, research shows that people will actually think worse of you. Focus instead on improving your brand from the inside out.

Bottom line: sponsorship is an extension of your brand, not a replacement for it.

Source: “Does Corporate Sponsorship of a Socially-Oriented Message Make a Difference? An Investigation of the Effects of Sponsorship Identity on Responses to an Anti-Drinking and Driving Message” by Lisa R. Szykman, Paul N. Bloom and Jennifer Blazing. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2004.

Mix marketing to get Google
Many of our clients are concerned with getting high rankings on Google. Rather than invest in only one approach, use a variety of means to drive site rankings.

  • Optimize your site. Make sure your site is optimized to perform well.
  • Build a network of links back to your site. Make sure these links come from related companies.
  • Invest in social marketing. Blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and more can drive traffic, which helps your rankings.
  • Go YouTube. Share fun or (very) informative vids at the Web’s premiere online video site.
  • Stay engaged. Google and other search engines are constantly changing. Stay engaged with searh marketing trends to improve rankings.


VisoVerbo racism

This month’s winner: Bridget O’Keefe!
Our long-time VisoVerbo champ 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 digital print of your custom design suitable for framing! Check out your competition here.

Client Spotlight

WFIU Directions In Sound
WFIU is the public radio station broadcasting from Indiana University and reaching much of south-central Indiana. They approached us in November to design the cover of Directions In Sound, their monthly print newsletter.

WFIU has a lovely tradition of featuring a local illustrator’s interpretation of a peace dove for each December’s issue. Our challenge was to fit within this tradition and yet come up with something fresh.

We chose a stock image of a dove that looked like it actually believed peace was possible! (Many peace doves aren’t quite so cheery.) We wanted to capture the feeling of soaring hope that’s so intrinsic to the conceptof peace.

We then selected classic, decorative typefaces that complemented the imagery and added a touch of elegance. The rich purple background conveys spirituality without being tied to any one religious tradition.


Our clients Christina Kuzmych and Adam Schwartz were delighted with the results. We also received independent compliments from readers. We’re honored to have contributed to WFIU’s continuing success.