Sparks July 2011 -

Sparks July 2011

In the News

5 questions your designer should ask you
In order to understand your brand and be able to produce effective marketing materials, your designer should be engaged in understanding more about your business. Design is not decoration! It is communication.

In order to get to the level of knowledge necessary to create results-driven work, here are five questions your designer should be asking you:

  1. Why are you in business? This gets to the core of your brand. It goes beyond the exterior shell we create for our companies and asks the real question.
  2. Given your resources, what should the business focus on? No one has infinite resources. Knowing your focus helps your designer zero in on the most effective communications strategy.
  3. Who is your most valuable customer? This is a tough question for many businesses to answer. Too often we think “everyone.” But you have a specific target market that is of the highest value to your brand. What is that?
  4. What unique value do you provide your most valuable customer? This is where the rubber meets the road. Exactly what differentiates you from your competitors to perfectly meet the needs of your highest-value target market?
  5. What does the big picture look like? Too often designers focus on simply creating the end product. But if you share your vision with them, they can more effectively produce not just a product but a strategy for the best launch of that product.

Want more effective marketing materials? Make sure you’re working with a designer who asks the right kinds of questions. Learn about how we work.

How coupons/Groupon hurt your brand
During tough times, it’s easy to be tempted to offer discounts on your products and services in the hopes of attracting business. But this may undermine your brand in the long run.

Laura Ries compares coupons to cocaine: The first time you use a coupon, you’re excited at the great deal you get. Over time that excitement decreases and you need more and more of a discount to even shop at that store.

Bed Bath & Beyond regularly sends out 20% off coupons in direct mail. Regularly. Why is the world would anyone shop there without one? Doesn’t it make you wonder why they are charging a price and then immediately discounting? It positions their brand as a commodity.

Once a brand is a commodity, it can only compete on price. And that’s a losing strategy for the long term, because there’s always someone willing to sell it for less. Only one business can sell based on lowest price. Everybody else has to offer something else.

So even though you may feel an irresistable urge to offer discounts through Groupon and other services, take a hard look at what message that says about your company and what you offer. Take the long-term view and do what’s best for your brand.

What you’ve missed on Facebook
Here are some of our recent Facebook posts. “Like” us to get in on the goodness.

  • Before-and-after logo redesigns
  • How to have an idea
  • Hitler as art director
  • Hyperphotos that will blow you away
  • 25 abandoned Yugoslavian monuments that look like they’re from the future
  • Evangelical frenzy over Apple




This month’s winner: Debra Huron!
Our 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.

More News

Pomegranate is a treasure trove of pieces for interior designers and design enthusiasts. They approached us to design their ad for the upcoming issue of Bloom magazine.

It’s a pleasure to work on marketing materials when the supplied imagery is so stunning! Our client contact Danna Harbstreit immediately decided on an exquisite chair as the ad’s main focus.

The Pomegranate logo combines a script face with delicate ornaments. But the accompanying type was set in Times New Roman, a commonplace typeface designed for newspapers. It’s overused and lacks character. We wanted to bring some of the taste of the Pomegranate brand to the logo, so we changed the type to Bernhard Modern. It complements the script nicely and adds a graceful touch in keeping with the brand.

We kept the ad simple to keep the focus on the key elements. Because Pomegranate is a web-based business, we focused on the web address as the only contact element. This is accented by two additional ornaments.

Our clients are very happy with the final design and we look forward to seeing it in the August/September Bloom!

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