Sparks July 2007 -

Sparks July 2007

In the News

Make your newsletters work
Many businesses publish newsletters (print or email) to keep in touch with customers. Many rely on general interest stories that don’t leverage the power of the medium. Try this instead:

Write for readers who are familiar with your brand. If they open your communications, they already care. Respect their trust in you.

Validate that your brand was the right choice. Why do people sign up for newsletters if they already purchased your product? They want to validate that purchase. Present deep evidence that validates their choice of selecting you. People love to be right! Advance their understanding of why your brand is the right choice.

Dish the dirt. Tell interesting stories about your process or key people who bring the brand to market. It creates an emotional connection that helps build brand loyalty.

Inspire! Be positive in your communications so that people look forward to hearing from you.

Of course, all communications should maintain your brand tone. The 4 elements above reinforce your brand and lead to more committed customers!

5 new musts of email marketing
Right Now Technologies, a customer relations management firm, has published a free whitepaper: Busting Out of the Inbox: Five New Rules of 1to1® Email Marketing. It details strategies for getting your emails delivered, opened, and acted upon.

The paper tells the story of how The Right Start, the largest national specialty retailer of juvenile products for infants and young children, uses targeted email campaigns to reach untapped prospects, fortify its brand, and get results, including a 20% lift in in-store promotions.
Download Busting Out of the Inbox

Avant-nerds going mainstream
According to The Zandl Group, a trendspotting firm, “avant-nerdism” will hit the mainstream in 2009.

An avant-nerd is a cool/social person who appropriates nerd culture and makes it into a retro style with European sensibilities.

Avant-nerds are “the new creative class” according to principal Irma Zandl, and possess a “compact, eco-friendly, quirky, and smart” aesthetic. They embrace the weird and turn it into fun. Some examples include pitched lightsaber battles or taking over Staten Island dressed as pirates!

The trend is already affecting fashion, industrial design, and interior design. Bloomington certainly has a healthy population of avant-nerds. Loosen up and embrace it with your marketing materials if you want to reach this sector!
Learn more about avant-nerds



This month’s winner: Norman Mills!
Norm 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 print of your custom design suitable for framing! Check out your competition here.

Client Spotlight

Monroe County Bar Association
Janet Stavropoulos, president of the Monroe County Bar Association (MCBA), hired us to establish a more professional, useful Web presence for the association. The MCBA had started a website a few years ago but it had never been completed. Janet wanted a professional, trustworthy look and an easy-to-use searchable database that would allow attorneys to be listed by specialty.

Our design features the classic elements of marble and parchment to reflect the prestige of the association. Colors are warm and welcoming, and typefaces are clear, classic, and easy to read. We incorporated decorative 19th century ornaments on navigation buttons to highlight the main content areas of the site.

Working with Janet, we fleshed out the copy so the site would be more search engine-friendly in addition to providing visitors with useful information. We also were possibly the first site in Monroe County to feature a photo of the beautiful new copper courthouse dome!

Our main focus was creating the searchable directory of attorneys. Using a simple process, members can enter their contact information and areas of practice. Visitors to the site can then search for attorneys by practice area or view all attorneys. When attorney listings are displayed by practice areas, each listing is displayed in random order rather than alphabetically. That ensures attorney listings are rotated fairly instead of those with last names beginning with A or B always achieving top rankings.

The site is easy for the MCBA to maintain. Feedback to its release has been very positive. The MCBA now has an Internet presence which reflects the professionalism and prestige of the organization.

View the site designed by