Sparks June 2005 -

Sparks June 2005

In the News

Are Marketers Liars?
This is an excerpt from a new article on our site. 

In his recent book, All Marketers are Liars, Seth Godin contends that consumers prefer fantasy to the truth, and that consequently marketers should “live the lie, fully and completely.” Stopping short of endorsing marketing methods which might kill people (!), Godin’s view is that marketers should “give people what they want,” regardless of its relation to reality.

Godin’s ideas are shaped by the fallout of large businesses trying to compete in a global marketplace. With media saturation at almost 100%, it’s getting harder and harder to catch people’s attention.

But there’s another reality out there, and that reality is the world of small and medium-size businesses. Particularly for those businesses whose target market is local or regional, the situation is different. Reputations are built less on flashy marketing campaigns and more on the actual experiences of the people using the product or service.

In that environment, what’s most effective is to tell the truth, clearly and consistently. Successful brands tell stories, but those stories are rooted in the authentic experience of the person buying the product or service.

Telling the truth in an engaging, creative, authentic fashion builds trust with your audience. It builds goodwill and encourages repeat business. Authentic marketing begins with defining what makes your offering unique and then telling a great story about that unique advantage. Truthfully, clearly, and consistently. And that goes not just for small or regional businesses, but for big business as well. Rooting your brand in the truth is not only ethically sound but essential for long-term success.

What Makes Logos Work
One of our favorite sites,, recently published an excellent two-part article on What Makes Logos Work. We wish we’d wrote it ourselves! Check it out to learn what a logo is, why size matters, and how to protect your rights. (Free registration required to read article)

Mills attends design conference
Cairril Mills, principal of Design & Marketing, recently attended the HOW Design Conference in Chicago. Useful sessions covered creativity, cultural trends, copywriting and design, and branding. Mills also cruised the extensive trade show area, gathering information about the latest in papers (recycled papers are finally a significant presence in all producers’ line-ups), software, stock photography, and materials.




This month’s winner: Stacy Weeks!
In addition to the awe of friends and foes, Stacy 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

Parker Real Estate Management, Inc
Parker Real Estate Management is Monroe County’s largest property management company, with over 400 residential properties and a number of commercial spaces as well. Founded in 1986, its logo hadn’t evolved with the times. Parker came to us to create a logo that more accurately reflects its brand.

Working with the power trio of Debbie Parker-Hawkins, Phyllis Bond, and Stacy Weeks, we began by clearly articulating what makes Parker unique. Its existing logo was an illustration of a Victorian rooftop paired with nondescript typography. The fact that Parker offers the widest range of options for renters was not communicated. We zeroed in on that element and then articulated how Parker’s culture emphasizes professionalism and excellent rapport with both college students (its primary market) and property owners.

We turned to illustrator Peg Eiya to develop a new image for the logo: a fun and energetic rendering of multiple housing types. Rather than break all connection with the old logo, we simply freshened Parker’s existing color palette with a more contemporary shade of red, splashing it on rooftops and the swash beneath to increase the dynamism of the mark. Pairing the illustration with a distinctive and funky typeface, we kept the logo from getting too far “out there” by stacking the type in a compact shape.

Parker is excited about the new look and will be debuting it with a T-shirt design (also created by to be released in July. It will begin implementing the new logo throughout the rest of its marketing materials shortly thereafter.