Sparks June 2006 -

Sparks June 2006

In the News

Jump-start business with Opinion Leaders
“Marketing is no longer simply about trying to identify the 20% of your customers who represent 80% of your revenue, then keeping this group loyal and trying to acquire more who fit their profile. Having happy, enthusiastic brand advocates or evangelists is an asset. But it is not enough to drive business growth.”

In a global marketplace saturated with advertising, consumers rely increasingly on word-of-mouth (WOM) to make decisions (recent studies showed 92% of Americans prefer WOM as their primary source of information. Yet how can you reach your target market through such an amorphous medium?

Enter the Opinion Leader (or Influencer). They are the 10% of society that, while not necessarily the people spending the most money with you, are the ones who can most amplify and accelerate positive WOM about your brand, influencing the majority of purchasing decisions.

Identify the people in your community who hold influence large numbers of people. Local critics (art, food, film, etc) are often key influencers, able to reach a broad audience interested in your particular offering.

Once you’ve identified your Opinion Leaders, establish an ongoing relationships with them. It can start with something as simple as offering a free sample or something as complex as involving them in the development of a new product or service.

The key to success, however, is creating an outstanding experience for them. Always exceed their expectations and you cannot fail. The goodwill and brand evangelism you engender will jump-start a broader, positive WOM campaign. Of course, wrap that up by offering your customers that same level of outstanding performance in order to create brand loyalty!
Learn more about Opinion Leaders (free registration req’d)

Writing effective customer surveys
Many of our clients know the importance of getting valuable customer feedback in a systematic way. Whether it’s a simple one-sheet handout or a more complex online questionnaire, customer surveys must be structured and written effectively in order to return relevant results.
Some key issues to keep in mind:

      • Self-administered questionnaires must be simple, straightforward, and logical. Run a draft by several different types of people first before going public in order to catch areas of confusion.
      • Group questions by theme so the respondent can maintain one mindset for the duration of that section.
      • Ask the easy questions first. This creates trust and momentum.
      • Place essay questions toward the middle of the survey, after trust has been established.
      • Be extremely mindful of how questions are worded. Language is critical to success; biased questions will lead only to the answers you want to hear.
      • Keep your survey as short as possible, offering some kind of reward commensurate with the survey’s length and complexity.

Learn more about writing effective customer surveys (free registration req’d)




This month’s winner: Jill Adler!
Jill 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

Jennifer Garant Studios
Jennifer Garant is an internationally known artist, with an extensive line of licensed products featured in such outlets as Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, and Mervyn’s. Originally from Canada, she has made her home in Bloomington, Indiana, along with husband Tadd Loucks, also an artist.

We were approached by Susan Loucks, Jennifer’s business manager, to redesign Jennifer’s website. The old site did not capture the whimsical, sophisticated feel of Jennifer’s artwork and was non-existent in search rankings. It also was difficult to update and lacked critical content.

Working with the power trio of Jennifer, Susan, and Tadd, we redesigned the site to establish a strong brand feel for Jennifer Garant Studios. Our job was made easier by Jennifer’s whimsical and sophisticated artwork! We focused on recognizable characters from her repertoire, associating one character with each main area of the site. Rather than try to reach each of her target markets on every page, we divided the site into sections for Licensing, Collectors, and Art Galleries. Content and artwork was tailored for each area. Rich colors and textures from Jennifer’s work saturate the visitor’s eye and give a feeling of warm welcome. French Art Nouveau typefaces pick up on the “café society” feel of much of Jennifer’s work. We also consulted on developing a quarterly e-mail newsletter and shared some PR tips.

The site was launched in time for the SURTEX show in May (one of the top international shows of artwork for licensing), to rave reviews. It also rocketed to number three on search engine results within days of launch, making it far easier for Jennifer to connect with her thousands of collectors and any potential licensees and gallery clients.

Visit the Jennifer Garant Studios site designed by