Sparks November 2006 -

Sparks November 2006

In the News

Dump the drone!
So much of what we read in marketing or instructional copy is clichéd, overly complex jargon. Our long-time colleague, collaborator, client, and writer extraordinaire, Cathy Moore, has developed a presentation targeting this problem: Dump the Drone.

Delivered to a rapt audience at the eLearning Producer Conference in April, Dump the Drone’s PowerPoint component has become a viral marketing piece and is traveling the Web.

Dump the Drone deflates business babble and shows how to create readable, enjoyable copy that leads to better comprehension and retention. All delivered with Cathy’s trademark playfully wry humor. Check it out! Not only will you learn something, you’ll have a laugh while you’re at it!

Mills featured at IU Networking Nights principal Cairril Mills was recently a featured speaker on a panel of successful entrepreneurs at Indiana University’s Networking Nights.

Sponsored by the Career Development Center and Student Alumni Association, last year’s series (in which Mills was also featured) won the Outstanding Program by District V of the Association for Student Advancement Programs.

Mills joined panelists Jo Throckmorton of Blue Ace Media, Vicki Temple Davison of Bloomington Hardware, Pat Bailey of social butterfly, and Nancy Hiller of Nancy Hiller Design. After a brief discussion, panelists retired to the refreshment room for an hour of direct networking with interested students.

Topics included education (both formal and informal) required to be successful in one’s career, what panelists love about being entrepreneurs, and challenges that most entrepreneurs face—as well as how to overcome them.

We’re moving!
After long years of searching, principal Cairril Mills has finally found a house! We’re in the process of moving into the new space and setting up the office. We’ll be in place by 30 November.

While not a “storefront” office space (it remains part of our private residence), our new home office will feature much more space, and state-of-the-art equipment, software, networking, broadband, and more. We look forward to this step up in technology as a way to serve our clients more efficiently.

Our new address? Just across the street from the old one! 518 N Lincoln. Feel free to update your address books; all clients will receive address change notices with upcoming correspondence.

Sparks goes on holiday until January
Sparks is taking its annual 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: Elizabeth Barrette!
In addition to the rapture of her second VisoVerbo win, Elizabeth 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

The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce
In late 2004 we were approached by the local Chamber of Commerce to discuss re-vamping their website. Over the course of our conversations, staff and then-president Steve Howard expressed interest in revising their logo, then their positioning, and finally just about everything else! We recommended the Chamber undergo a re-branding process, and in early 2005 we began the journey.

Our early work consisted largely of research. We conducted market research, interviewed a number of members and stakeholders, reviewed brands of other Chambers around the world, and analyzed all the Chamber’s current offerings. Our findings were presented in an extensive presentation that addressed where the Chamber was at that time, what key concerns members and stakeholders expressed, and where the Chamber might go in the future.

The Chamber underwent a number of leadership changes, both at the board level and when long-time president Steve Howard announced his resignation. The branding project was put on hold while new leadership was brought in and gotten up to speed. We re-started the project last spring with new president Christy Steele and a reshuffled and invigorated staff.

Due to budget constraints, we took a unique approach to the implementation side of the project. Normally on a branding project, our firm works closely with the client on operations issues and every customer touchpoint to ensure all is in line with the brand. In this case, we chose a creative solution where we trained Chamber staff in the rudiments of branding in order to give them the tools to create the brand themselves. This solution allowed branding to move ahead but within the time and budget parameters of the client.

We delivered the new Chamber brand identity, consisting of market analysis, brand values, brand personality, and a core brand message summing up the Chamber’s positioning. That message, “Better Business. Better Community.”, shows the connection between a healthy business climate and an energized, healthy community. The Chamber is a key player in the region’s economy and its quality of life; the core brand message sums up its role.

We also delivered over 200 specific recommendations on every aspect of Chamber functioning, from staff operations to publications to events to member relations to advocacy and coalition-building! We provided ongoing consulting to help with mission-critical events as the transition began. We provided resources for Chamber personnel to learn more and implement change more effectively.

Re-branding any organization is a long-term process. On average, it takes 18-24 months to turn a brand around, and that’s with professional consulting along the way. The Chamber staff are working to bring the new brand to life. We look forward to the results of their hard work and creativity!