Sparks November 2005 -

Sparks November 2005

In the News

Three tips to prove your value
Every business is challenged by proving their value to prospective and existing customers and clients. While entire brand strategies are built around this challenge (including language, design, customer experience, etc), we’re focusing today on the power of words.

Speak the language of your target market. This point cannot be emphasized enough. Trying to reach the youth market? Time to pick up some hip lingo and use short, energetic sentences. The less educated your target market is, the simpler your sentence structure and word choices need to be. Highly educated people prefer more abstraction. And, while it seems obvious, if you’re trying to reach Latinos, make sure your copy is in fluent Spanish, with the tone and nuance appropriate to the segment you’re trying to reach (Latinos are just as diverse as other ethnic groups).

Back up your pitch. Every company promises great service and a great product. Can you prove it? Use customer testimonials that explain how your offering made a difference to them. Include stats or other data that show how your offerings save time, add value, or perform against the competition.

Stay true to your brand. Every brand has a tone, both visually and verbally. The tone of text for an upscale retreat center needs to be totally different from that of an amusement park. Too many companies consider the language of their marketing materials as the least important aspect; on the contrary, it is just as important as design and information architecture in connecting with your target market.

Remember, it’s not enough to use words that you or your colleagues like. Use language that mirrors the way your target market thinks, speaks, and writes. When the verbal, visual, and experiential aspects of your brand are in harmony, you’ll prove you can walk the talk.

Recent speaking engagements
Cairril Mills, principal of Design & Marketing, recently was the featured speaker at a variety of area classes. She taught the marketing segment of SEED Corp.’s Small Business Planning course earlier this month. She was the guest speaker for Indiana University’s L577 course, Design of Information Systems, discussing the career paths and opportunities in web development. Cairril also spoke on a panel of entrepreneurs for Indiana University’s Entrepreneur Night, offered through the Career Development Office. Joining seven other area business owners, she shared her experiences both inside and outside the corporate world.

To invite Cairril to speak on branding, marketing principles, print and web design, or how to integrate online and offline marketing efforts, please contact us!

Sparks goes on holiday until January
Sparks will be taking its usual break in December for the holidays, but will be back in January with more news, tips, projects, and the next VisoVerbo winner! We wish all our readers a joyous and peaceful holiday season.



This month’s winner: Meryl K. Evans!
In addition to the rapture of her second VisoVerbo win, Meryl 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

Our October 2004 issue spotlighted the website we designed for Renwick, an exciting new residential concept developed by Wininger/Stolberg Group (WSG). Because ground hadn’t even been broken when we launched the site, our challenge at the time was to create buzz about the project and make potential buyers willing to wait to purchase based on the strength of the website alone.

The site has been a smash success. To encourage visitors to express interest, we developed “Renwick Select.” This began as a list of people who receive first choice of lots when they become available. Response was so high that Renwick Select evolved into a ready-made focus group where WSG could try out new concepts and features in order to tailor development to their target market’s needs.

Development of Renwick moved ahead and WSG returned to us to take the website to “Phase II.” We now had specific lot numbers and availability information, street and park names, and lot specs for each neighborhood. Because Phase I was so successful, our challenge was to maintain the strong brand feel while delivering a wide array of “nuts and bolts” information.

To do so, we revamped site architecture so visitors easily find the new information. We created a variety of maps to indicate clearly the many neighborhoods and features of Renwick. Our design maintained the clean, sophisticated look of Phase I, offset with the lovely illustrations that grace most pages.

Lastly, we revised all text on the site in order to balance the emotional impact of Renwick with the technical information visitors want. We maintained the emphasis on green space and Renwick’s history to continue the strong brand feel of “place.”

The result is a site that’s still clean and easy to use, with greater depth of information delivered in a way that doesn’t sacrifice the emotional impact of the brand. It’s also very easy to maintain, so lot availability information can be updated regularly without hassle. Renwick lots and villas are being reserved very quickly, due to the comprehensive brand development strategy of which the Renwick website is an important part.

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