Thursday, April 28, 2011

Client Showcase—WWU Work Study Ad Helps Students Find Jobs

Walla Walla University asked us to help promote the hiring of students through the work-study program, where the government pays a portion of their wages. This provides students with experience, and employers with a chance to “test drive” an employee at affordable hourly rates.

The headline gives an immediate relevant promise to a business (who wouldn't want to send part of their bills to someone else?), and the list of companies who have hired work-study students brings credibility to the program.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Use a Word Only When a Picture Won’t Do

Always reduce your message to its most simple and compelling form. We like to start a campaign by developing the creative concept for outdoor advertising, which is the most difficult because it’s read so quickly. In a matter of seconds, the ad must convey:
·   A message that gets the reader’s attention
·   A promise that’s relevant to the reader
·   What is being “sold”
·   Who is doing the selling
·   How the reader can “buy”

See if you can supplement words with images that help telegraph the message more quickly. For example, on the outdoor board shown here, we rely on the blue man image to make it clear that the headline is referring to back pain. We rely on the logo to identify the service as a hospital—and not a fitness center. This means we can use those last remaining delicious words to get the reader’s attention and make a promise.

When you’re writing, ask yourself whether a picture or a word is the most efficient way to convey an idea. Think visually while you write. You’ll find that by introducing an image, you can trim out excess words and make it easier for your reader to decide if this is a message he or she cares about.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Color Psychology—Brown Doesn't Have to be Boring

"There is, after all, safety in umbers." —Leatrice Eiseman

Historically, brown has been the color most identified with the earth and hard work. It was seen as pious, economical and industrious by religious and Puritan moralist groups. Brown has been seen as a benign and non-threatening color. Through the years, the color has taken on new meanings. Embraced by sporting enthusiasts, it has come to popularity with hunters, fishers, bikers, hikers and campers. But brown also has the ability to expand appetite—think cappucino, espresso, chocolate mousse, caramel and hot fudge. In addition, brown has captured the fashionable luxury goods market.

Don't be too quick to dismiss brown as boring!

  • Tans: rugged, outdoor, rustic, woodsy
  • Chocolate/Coffee Brown: delicious, rich, robust, appetizing
  • Earth Brown: earthy, grounded, steady, rooted, wholesome, warm, durable, natural, traditional

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

AirAsia Explores the Possibilities of Facebook

To watch video, click here
Kathleen Tan, Regional Head of Commercial for AirAsia, has tapped into the power of Facebook to reach customers. She says that Facebook is a powerful tool to encourage customers to engage with their brand. AirAsia recently used Facebook to advertise a sales event offering people discounted tickets for one day only. They posted teaser ads before the event, which people then shared on their friends' walls. On the day of the event they sold a record 589,000 seats in 24 hours.

When the recent eruption of volcanic ash was disrupting flights, AirAsia used Facebook to communicate with their fans about which flights were canceled or delayed. They provided live information so people could know the status of their flights. 

Additionally AirAsia uses Facebook as way to listen to their fans, encouraging fans to post comments on their wall about recent trips and their experiences. AirAsia also encourages suggestions from their fans and uses these to provide the client with the experience they want.

If you haven't yet, check out Facebook's Marketing Solutions page for more ideas.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Dog's Day

This was a busy week at CMBell Company—so busy that I recruited any and all the help I could find. This is Blitz, our resourceful Shitzhu, taking his turn at typing. Or was there a treat on the keyboard?

It was good week, and I'd like to end with a shout out for my staff. I really do have the best team one could hope to work with. They consistently exceed my expectations for creativity, resourcefulness, and thoughtful insights, inspiring me and teaching me in countless ways. Plus they're all just remarkable people—smart, kind, hard-working, honest and willing to tackle anything for our clients. I always say that one of the reasons we run our own business is because we get to pick the best people in the world to work with—and to work for.

So here's to you—Team CMBell. Yeah, and you too, Blitz. OK, you can go back to your rug now.

Client Showcase—Animation Can Fuel Web Traffic

We developed a promotional campaign for Dimensions Pain Management, a medical clinic in Colorado, and recommended the addition of kinetic typography to use in social media applications. We've not only found that the presence of an animation increases traffic on our own site, but in industries like health care and law, it's still fairly young and so is a way to get your message noticed. It provides a fresh way of conveying your message in a media that is versatile and can be used in many ways—from posting on one's site, YouTube and Facebook page to sending links via email.

The addition of motion and sound amps up a message and delivers it in a way that keeps the viewer's interest. Kinetic typography and other animations can be simple, like this one, or far more complex. They can be used for anything from a new service launch to infusing your Web page with new life. We've also applied them to seasonal e-cards like these: CMBell Company Holiday Animation, Gresham Savage 100 Year E-Card, Gresham Savage Holiday E-Card

We love working in this medium and think it holds a lot of promise for business—given the apparent appetite consumers have for productions like these.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Are customer service programs for you?

Over the years we've studied with interest what makes great customer service. Some companies, like Disney, have an extensive training program for employees that teach specific actions and attitudes required to deliver an exceptional customer experience. 

Others have attempted to imitate this, but have missed the mark by focusing on scripts instead of a mindset of service.

I recently experienced this at a national retailer. Having scoured the floor for someone to help, I finally found someone to let me into the dressing room. While the clerk had paid no attention to me whatsoever (though there were hardly any other clients to tend to), when I finally made my purchase, she was quick to recite the required script inviting me to go online and rate her service as excellent. I found it even more ridiculous to hear her answer the phone using the requisite (but unconvincing) script about the excellent service one could expect when shopping at this store.

Creating an exceptional customer experience requires considering every touchpoint a client has with a brand. Organizations that focus on syrupy scripts but who fail to train their workers on their products and on their service standards come across as shallow and disingenuous.

The more I study this topic, the more I'm convinced that while customer service training can have its place, the most important thing a business can do is to hire people who instinctively understand what service is aboutand who care about their work. Like common sense, people seem to either have this ability—or not.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On Location and Behind the Scenes

In the photo above, our Colorado-based video crew gets one of the interviewees ready for our shoot last week at St. Anthony Hospital North near Denver. The day-long shoot will result in a series of videos that will serve as part of a campaign to celebrate the hospital’s 40-year anniversary.

What happens behind the scenes is so important, and makes the difference between a quality production and an average production.

Here, our make-up artist is putting the finishing make-up touches on before the camera rolls. A good make-up artist plays two roles—creating a natural, healthy on-camera look, and helping the interviewees start to feel comfortable before their shoot. We look for experience, good interpersonal skills (our artist in Colorado has worked on everyone from President Obama to models), and the ability to work without becoming intrusive.

At this shoot, our videographer attends to the details that ensure quality, while our producer conducts the interviews. Both have decades of experience at this, and know exactly the elements required to capture real people in ways that are compelling, believable, and professional.

Conducting the interview is one of the most important roles, as this person plays part psychologist and part producer. It’s an art to get ordinary people to be not only believable, but real and professional on camera. For this kind of interview, we want to capture what the people most care about—so while we invite them to think about some specific questions before hand, we never want them to come prepared with a memorized script. It’s just too hard for people who don’t do this for a living to make it heart-felt and real.

Our producer is not only mindful of the message and emotional tone as he interviews, but is also coaching them on phrasing and thinking about how all of the strands of the interview will come together in the final edited piece—all the while keeping the shoot on schedule.

It's important to us that our crew always is attentive to the demands of the location and the industry—quiet, professional, and able to represent our client well.

We love working in this medium, and have introduced some new methods of making this kind of production much more affordable for our clients. We anticipate much of our work in the future to be in video, and have developed the internal framework to make this a central part of the services we offer.

Stay tuned for more on this campaign that launches in May.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wisdom for April Fool's Day

"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain—and most fools do."
—Benjamin Franklin

"Any intelligent fool can make things better and more complex... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
—Albert Einstein

"No man is so foolish but he may sometimes give another good counsel, and no man so wise that he may not easily err if he takes no other counsel than his own. He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master."
—Hunter Thompson

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