Sparks June 2007 -

Sparks June 2007

In the News

7 musts for a product launch
Launching a new product or service? Don’t get lost in the information sea: stand out using these 7 steps:

1. Get a great name. Memorable, easy to spell, easy to say. Most importantly, something your customers will like, not just something internal staff thinks is cool.
2. Define what you’re selling. In one sentence. Harder than it appears.
3. Create a strong visual identity. Logo, color scheme, layout, imagery, etc. Tailor it to your brand and then implement consistently throughout all media.
4. Insist on break-through launch ideas. For all the effort you’ve put into prep, you can’t afford to have a ho-hum launch. Make it memorable.
5. Promote across multiple channels. Word of mouth, print, web, email, broadcast, etc. Use layers so your message is experienced multiple times.
6. Prioritize your messages. Start with what intrigues people, then inform them, then influence them. Don’t try all at once.
7. Collaborate from the start. Get a gregarious, creative, decisive team together at least 6 months before launch and start planning. Well-laid plans give you confidence and make for clear execution. They also make it easier to be flexible when changes inevitably crop up because you have a shared overall vision of where you’re going.

Get attention, hold it, and create a desire for more. Make your next launch memorable and reap the rewards.
Read more on product launches

Get attention with brand spaces
Whether your business is brick-and-mortar, online, or a professional service that can happen anywhere, you can benefit from creating brand spaces for your customers.

Brand spaces are physical environments dedicated to enhancing customers’ relationship with your brand. They are not necessarily about selling products; some exist solely to create a positive experience with consumers.

Some examples:

Proctor & Gamble operates hair salons with no products on sale. Why? To provide a pressure-free zone for customers to experience “pure brand.” It’s working: people keep coming back for more.

Swatch creates “pop-up” stores that disappear just as soon as the masses find out about them. This keeps the brand associated with people who are “in the know.” For those not in the know, it creates heightened awareness of Swatch so they can catch the next pop-up opportunity.

HSBC, a well-known bank, went far beyond the “store” concept and created branded taxis. They then gave free rides home to anyone who could prove they were a member of the bank.

What do these examples have in common? They focus on generating positive emotional responses (gratitude, curiosity, delight) that customers associate with the brand. They break outside the conventions of traditional sales techniques, which measures the success of any endeavor by its direct impact on sales.

What these and many other companies realize is that a strong brand relationship will lead to stronger sales. Consumers are savvy, jaded, and skeptical when it comes to traditional advertising anymore. Companies who can provide them with outstanding experiences will prevail in the end.
Learn more about brand spaces



This month’s winner: Rayat Cabot!
Rayat 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

Rubicon Custom Homes
Rubicon Construction is a Bloomington-based residential and commercial builder focused on high-quality construction. Their business has grown and diversified, and they wanted their website to reflect that.

After reviewing company history and goals with Business Officer Michael Eaton and Operations Officer Kevin Powell, we recommended Rubicon split into two companies: residential and commercial. It was simply too difficult for them to reach two such diverse audiences under one name and one marketing message.

After settling on Rubicon Custom Homes for the name of the residential side, we developed a new website to establish the brand. Unlike many builders, Rubicon is known for developing accurate estimates for both schedule and budget. They also are one of only a handful of Energy Star® partners in Indiana.

These were specific marketing points we wanted to communicate, but we wanted to embed them in a larger brand context. That brand reflects both Kevin and Mike’s business approach and their personal styles. With backgrounds in healthcare and business management, their values of personal care and thoughtful attention to detail are reflected throughout the brand. They’re also committed to ongoing education to ensure they stay ahead of the curve for the industry.

Our design reflects this combination of warmth, stability, and quality, along with a touch of dynamism and movement that expresses Rubicon’s continual drive for improvement. The color scheme of warm greens and blues reflects not only Rubicon’s Earth-friendly building techniques, but tips its hat to the origin of the Rubicon brand name: the commitment reflected in the phrase “crossing the Rubicon.”

The wide composition gives a feeling of expansiveness, while vertical columns of type and photography anchor the layout to give it a sense of solidity. Linotype Zapfino adds a splash of elegance to connect with the upscale market that comprises much of Rubicon’s customer base.
We also worked extensively on copywriting to reinforce the key elements of the brand and ensure consistent delivery of the Rubicon message. While we were at it, we designed new business cards, too!

All this was accomplished in the flurry of activity leading up to the annual Parade of Homes. We were thrilled when Rubicon won both Best of Show and Realtors’ Choice awards for their outstanding custom home in Quarry Estates!

Check out the Rubicon Custom Homes site designed by