Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Client Showcase—Pacific EP Business Suite

The Los Angeles-based Pacific Rim Electrophysiology Research Institute, under the direction of internationally renown Koonlawee Nademanee, MD, worked with us to developed a new visual brand identity that gave a fresh, sophisticated look to the institute.

This business suite won a 2010 Award of Merit in the 7th Annual Service Industry Advertising Awards.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Outdoor Advertising Offers More Than Traditional Billboards

Considering its cost, its effectiveness and the range of options, outdoor advertising can be an ideal supporting media for your ad campaign. Outdoor advertising can include:
  • Junior Posters—These are displays positioned close to street level and targeting pedestrian traffic on secondary arterials in urban areas.
  • Poster—Posters are good for new product campaigns, promotions, seasonal and special events.
  • Bulletins—The largest standard-sized form of out-of-home advertising, these are found on expressways and primary arteries and offer the benefit of heavy traffic.
  • Buses—These gain high exposure with pedestrians and vehicles, and carry your message to where the people are.
  • Transit Shelters—These are along busy bus routes, are backlit for night viewing, and are sometimes available where larger media are not permitted.
  • Bus Benches—These reach mobile customers and are located at eye-level within bus stops in high traffic area.
  • Digital Displays—These are the future of out-of-home advertising. Using an LED technology, these rotate messages every 10-12 seconds, don't involve production fees, and can be put up within hours. Messages can be changed easily, so these can accommodate time-sensitive material well.
With more people spending time on the go, outdoor advertising can be an effective way to build brand awareness.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Client Showcase—Avista Historic Ad

We developed this print ad for Avista Adventist Hospital in Colorado. As it was to run in a publication that featured the 150-year anniversary of Boulder, Colorado, we wanted to give it some historical perspective. Using archival images of the hospital and staff, juxtaposed with modern-day ones, we were able to create the message that although everything is different, nothing has changed.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Word Doctor—Excise Idle Words

Some words are known for contributing little to a sentence. A good example is "there is." See how excising this improves these sentences:

Before: There is something terrible happening here today!
After: Something terrible is happening!

Losing the dead wood in your writing will make your copy easier to read and punchier.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Marketing Makeover—Will your direct mail piece be read?

Good design can make the difference in whether a reader will pick up your direct mail piece and read it—or not. Here's an example of a direct mail piece from My Postcard Company that could benefit from a Marketing Makeover. Here's what we'd recommend:
  • Use fewer, but higher impact, photos. Photographs and images are what draw us into a piece. It's tempting to want to deliver too many messages via too many images, which results in reducing the piece's impact.
  • Create contrast. Using dark blue and black together like this is both hard to read and uninteresting visually.
  • Make a stronger promise, that speaks to something the reader cares about.
  • Avoid vague, cliche' taglines that don't intrigue or connect with the reader.

Because we all suffer from viewer fatigue, we dismiss anything that doesn't immediately catch our eye or speak to our interests. Effective communicators break through this by presenting a message the reader cares about and can grasp with minimal effort.

Send us a piece you'd like critiqued. It might be featured in our next Marketing Makeover.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Anatomy of a Good Photo

A picture truly depicts more in an instant than a page of copy. That's why we encourage our clients to use the very best photography their budgets will allow. While stock images have their place, it's hard to beat the impact of a custom image, where even seemingly unimportant details are the result of careful thought. Here's just some of the background that went into making this image work for an Emergency Department campaign we developed recently.
  • Photographer selection. Photographers each have their own artistic interpretations, abilities and talents. Once you're clear about what you want in the picture, matching that to the right photographer is crucial.
  • Setting. Where will the shot be taken? Will it be on location, or in a studio? We opted for a studio shot for this because we could control the environment--and didn't have to interrupt the client's flow of business. We then had to make decisions like what color the walls would be, what kind of and how many chairs would be needed, and what type of props would contribute to the message. We contemplated using three chairs or five, thinking about how that would impact context and visual balance.
  • Talent. Should the waiting room be full of people, or show just mother and child? We explored both, but the decision to select mother and child won out because it allowed the reader to focus on the subject without distraction. We wanted the reader to relate to the frustration of waiting, which they can best do when all of their attention is on the person shown. Then, of course, we needed to determine age, gender, and general appearance. How old should the girl be—an infant or a child?
  • Wardrobe. What kind of clothes, haircut, accessories, and props would help tell the story? These needed to mirror the demographics of the community where the ad was running.
  • Props. Are other props necessary? Magazines on the chairs? A blanket or teddy bear for the child? How big? Old or new? Should we show a purse? And if so, on a chair or in front of a chair?
  • Composition. Should the mother be looking off camera, at the child, or into the camera? We tried several, but liked her looking off camera because it depicts restlessness.
Every detail is considered because it contributes to the desired impression. Eight people were involved in the creation of this emergency room image—which makes the job that much more fun. Imagine all that creative talent focused one picture!

I love this part of our work because creating strong images is not only a delightful ceative endeavor, but it also gives the client something unique that they can build a campaign around. In some applications, only a custom shot will do the job. But in every application, using a high quality image can nearly always separate you from the competition.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Client Showcase—Launching a Pain Center That Offers Hope

We've recently worked with Avista Adventist Hospital to launch a pain management program. In developing their new logo, business package and Web site, we used bold, vital colors to promote a fresh look for their brand that suggests hope and optimism—a much-needed message for those suffering from chronic and acute pain. Using the letter D from their name, the icon creates a flower image that evokes vitality and life.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Faster, Farther, Bigger

A week's worth of information found in the New York Times is believed to be more than what a person obtained in his/her entire lifetime in the 18th century. Our ability to send information globally at unprecedented speeds creates a world of opportunities—and challenges. This insightful video highlights the research done by Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod and Jeff Brenman on the explosion of connectivity, which has implications for how marketers and communicators do their work.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Client Showcase—Wisdom Cards

We've recently redesigned these Wisdom Cards cards for the Two Worlds Wisdom School, the brainchild of our friends the Kaisers, who are well known for their visioning work with corporations—particularly in healthcare. One of the most talented families I know, they are launching the first of a series of Wisdom Cards as part of their efforts to bring timeless wisdom into the world of business.

You'll be sure to find inspiration just by visiting their site. We found it in our design work with them as we brought together original silk artwork, commissioned by them just for this initiative, and timeless pearls of wisdom—to create cards that can be custom imprinted for corporations or individuals.

Copyright © 2009 CMBell Company, Inc.

Unless otherwise credited, all content copyrighted by CMBell Company.