branding

More Than a Mission Statement: How a Mantra Can Build Your Brand and Culture

More Than a Mission Statement: How a Mantra Can Build Your Brand and Culture

Words and images are powerful tools for building a company’s culture. And yet they are too often underused in business.

While mission and values are at the center of an organization’s culture-building language, a mantra can flesh those out. If, for example, excellence is one of your values, a mantra can focus attention on how excellence occurs.

8 Kinds of Videos Your Viewers Will Love in 2017

Getting heard is getting harder. But creating good content continues to be a winning strategy for building strong brands.

Whether you want to build culture, increase employee engagement, or win customers, video outperforms all other media in getting viewed and remembered and should be part of your 2017 brand content strategy.

But don't get caught thinking only of traditional, high-cost video productions. Videos now come in all kinds of styles and price points—some less than you've paid for a traditional print ad. Here are eight popular types to consider:

1. The Mood Video

Pros: Evokes a feeling about your brand through the artful use of visuals and music without narration. This style is less about persuasion and more about connecting you emotionally to the brand. These work well as the hero video for your website's home page. 

2. Illustrated Animation

Pros: Brings your message to life with custom illustrations in almost any style—from casual and fun to sophisticated and stunning. Helps you avoid that moment when you realize that your competitor is using the same stock images that you are.

3. Whiteboard Explainer Video

Pros: Great tool to add humor and fun to a topic that might be complex or less than exciting. Can be produced quickly without the need for images or footage. These are ideal for explaining a process or an idea.

4. Interview

Pros: This unscripted style can make a leader's message more personal or bring to life a customer testimonial. Affordable to produce.

5. Microdocumentary

Pros: Lends the credibility of real people doing real life. And who doesn't love a story?

6. Text Animation

Pros: This is a fast, affordable way to bring simple messages to life using motion graphics and music. Great tool for adding impact to websites, digital ads, and e-letters. In its simplest form, this can make you look smart even if you don't have the time or the budget to get great photos. And it can be embellished with photos or illustrations.

7. Storytelling Hybrid

Pros: Nothing reveals the heart of your organization like a story. These can be built with interviews, narration, b-roll, still images, illustrations, and on-screen text using fresh production techniques and arresting music, but the key is often a good interview. This versatile style is the must-have piece in any company's video portfolio and works well for web, special events, fundraising galas, e-letter marketing, and digital marketing. 

8. Presentations

Pros: Put your old-school PowerPoint presentation on steroids by reinterpreting it as a video rich with visuals, music, and narration. Good for selling an idea, strategy or vision to employees, customers, and shareholders.

Wondering how video can help your brand get noticed? Let's talk.

Campaign Microsites Are a Must-Have to Increase Your Ad Results

We developed this campaign microsite for an urgent care opening. Within the first few months, visits exceeded projections by 400 patients per month.

We developed this campaign microsite for an urgent care opening. Within the first few months, visits exceeded projections by 400 patients per month.

Campaign-based microsites are websites with a custom URL that generally live outside of your corporate site and are created for one reason: to support a brand campaign.
 
They’re more effective at converting leads to sales for several reasons:

  1. The campaign promise is immediately obvious. Send users to your company website and you’re likely to lose them. Why? Because it’s too hard for them to find what the campaign promised. Even a few seconds looking for the item advertised will result in abandonment.
  2. Microsites often have far more design options than most corporate sites—which means they can often be more visually arresting. And good visuals help sell.
  3. Analytics for the campaign are easily viewed by agency and client, allowing the agency to make continual updates that improve SEO. This is faster, more efficient and effective than having a go-between.
  4. There’s just one call to action—and it’s the one that supports your ad campaign.

Don’t let your ad campaigns fall on deaf ears. Insist on a campaign microsite for any significant advertising campaign.

Great Design Is No Longer a Luxury

In some circles, great design is still considered a luxury. But more often than not, this idea is a fatal flaw for a brand.
 
Today’s consumer has sophisticated visual tastes created by the most creative communicators in the world. Their reference point for this is not just your competitors—it’s every message they get from any industry.
 
This is why great design is actually a brand differentiator. Great design provides instant visual cues about your brand that affiliate it with other brands familiar to the viewer—allowing them to decide in as little as a second if they want to further engage with you. The more oversaturated people are with information, the more they rely on these cues as short cuts for adjudicating a product or service. It’s simply an efficient way of navigating information.
 
Here are some common mistakes brands make when they don’t embrace this important truth:

  • Spend heavily on a media buy, but use so-so stock images and design that send the viewer packing after one look.
  • Spend millions on a new building and cheap out on photography. A top-drawer architectural photographer will bring a wow to your image that will pay off handsomely.
  • Invest in new technology or services, then depict them on a visually inferior website.

It’s better to go with less in other areas than to settle for also-ran design.

Why Shouldn’t Information Be Beautiful?

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A new mom has lots of questions about her delivery. To help her sort it through, this hospital has prepared some useful guides. But let’s admit it—new moms also like Pinterest. They’re more likely to read something that looks beautiful—in addition to being helpful content.
 
Are you giving your target audience reason to step into your content? Understanding what they already love to look at it can be a great first step.

A New Way of Thinking about Banking

When Baker Boyer, the state’s oldest bank, launched their rebranding effort, they called on us to help them introduce their team of D.S. Baker Advisors—a concept that represented an entirely new way of thinking about banking. We worked with them to produce this print piece and a video which explain how their elite team of financial consultants helps clients build financial legacies.

Six Ways to Know if Your Graphic Standards Are Working or Holding You Back

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Graphic standards are designed to create visual cohesiveness for your brand. But their  usefulness can vary widely depending on how old they are, how robust they are and how they have responded to changes in your world.
 
Here are six  questions to ask to see if your graphic standards are still serving you well—or need an update.
 
Is the logo practical?
Does it perform on a lapel pin and on the Web as well as it does on an outdoor board? In color or black and white?  Professional designers test their recommendations in these venues before making them, yet we still find logos out there that are difficult to deploy in different applications.
 
Is the logo footprint unwieldy?
Square, round or odd-shaped logos often get problematic because their footprint doesn’t integrate well into an application. A discrete, contained footprint is often the most practical one for a logo.
 
Do you have enough font options?
Different applications require different types of fonts. Fonts that work well on an outdoor board aren’t always the same ones that work well on the Web. So be sure you have enough font options for all of your applications.
 
Is there a standard font included for the non-designer?
Hundreds or thousands of people in your company will be trying to work with these standards from the comfort of their own laptops and desktop computers, all armed with the standard fonts that come with their computers. You should have at least one of these standard fonts as an option in your recommended fonts—or it could end up being very costly to purchase specialty fonts for every user.
 
Do you find yourself struggling with the colors?
Maybe the palette doesn’t translate well to Web applications. Or you find there isn’t enough contrast in the colors to provide readable print or outdoor creative. Or there aren’t enough colors to serve your needs. Or perhaps the colors are starting to feel dated. Colors do go out of style, particularly those that aren’t classic colors, so if yours aren’t looking fresh, add some new ones.
 
Can your logo be built in four-color vs. adding Pantone spot colors
?
A logo that requires Pantone spot color can add cost, because it requires adding another ink to a four-color process. Designing one that can be built using four-color process can save you printing costs.
 
If these are problems, you can update your standards—you don’t have to completely recreate them to keep them useful. Add colors, fonts and applications as you see the need.  While it’s important to have consistency across a brand, brands migrate visually with time and this isn’t necessarily bad.  Remember that while it’s important to preserve consistency, it is ultimately as important that your visual brand works for you. Tweaking it as your business needs change should be expected.
 
What problems are you having with your graphic standards that could be improved with a little tweaking?

How the Seven Most Common Story Types Can Inspire Your Brand Story

Once upon a time,” says the voice from our past, and our imagination swells.  
 
From our earliest childhood, we remember stories—even before we knew how they would form our own souls.
 
Although media has changed, the elements of a good story remain constant. To create your brand stories, consider these seven archetypes that have characterized stories throughout human history:
 
Overcoming the Monster
From Beowulf to modern films like Avatar, this is the story of heroism, triumph over evil and courage.
 
Rags to Riches
Overcoming the odds fuels hope in all of us, explaining this story line’s historic hold on the human heart.
 
The Quest
Think Iliad or Lord of the Rings for examples of humans seeking a goal—and overcoming obstacles on the way to victory.
 
Voyage and Return
Like the quest, the main character searches for something difficult to obtain and returns to tell the story.
 
Comedy
The hardest ones to execute well, comedies allow us to laugh at our foibles and connect us to our common humanity.
 
Tragedy
Although more difficult to execute as a brand story, tragedy can inspire an audience to action (think “text messaging” PSAs).
 
Rebirth
A threat, an about-face, and the hero becomes something more despite adversity.
 
What human yearnings does your brand story tap into?

CMBell Company and Clients Win Eight Awards for Creative Work

Creative work developed by CMBell Company and clients has received eight awards from the 32nd Annual Healthcare Marketing Advertising Awards competition.

We celebrate the hard work of our clients and our team in bringing together these creative projects.

LIttleton Adventist Hospital 25-year Anniversary Video

LIttleton Adventist Hospital 25-year Anniversary Elevator Wraps

Dignity Health Recruiting Display

Adventist Health Southern California Region Strategic Planning Video

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Print Ads

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Transit Shelter Poster

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Elevator Wrap

Use Your Company Anniversary as a Brand Refresh

Celebrating achievements are important, but corporate milestones represent an opportunity for more than just celebration. They’re a chance to roll-out your story in a fresh way—to revitalize your brand.
 
We worked with Simi Valley Hospital to pull together their signature messages about quality and growth, then developed a year-long plan to deliver those messages as part of their anniversary campaign—making the milestone work harder for them and getting more for their investment.

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Print Ad

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Print Ad

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Transit Shelter Ad

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Transit Shelter Ad

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Banner

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Banner

Bigger. Better. More.

Bigger. Better. More. That’s the theme we created to help Littleton Adventist Hospital leverage their 25-year anniversary to refresh their brand and show how they’ve grown to meet their community’s needs. In addition to direct mail and print ads, we worked with them to produce a video, Web content and elevator wraps.

Littleton Adventist Hospital 25-year Anniversary Video

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Littleton Adventist Hospital 25-year Anniversary Web Page

Littleton Adventist Hospital 25-year Anniversary Elevator Wraps

Persuade Shareholders

An annual report is one of a company’s most vital communication tools. The colors, design and images in your annual report should all support your key messages—and should inspire confidence among shareholders and readers alike.

Not sure if your annual report is living up to its full potential?

  • See how it compares visually to your top competitors’ annual reports.

  • Grade your photos. If that’s all the readers see, what would they think about your company?

  • Browse it. If you read only pictures, captions, subheads and headlines, what will you know about your organization?

Need some inspiration? >>  


Dress up your presentation in style to convey confidence and success, like this package we helped develop for a CEO’s presentation at their annual shareholder’s meeting. Energetic colors, bold design and a mix of media—to keep the presentation alive—tell the company’s story and build support.

Presentation Video

2013 Annual Report

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Investor Capacity Folder

Investor PowerPoint Presentation

10 Guidelines for Naming Your Business

Naming your new product, service or business is about so much more than whether you like the name. Each word in the name carries with it meanings—some of which are pervasive and others which are nuanced.

Here are 10 guidelines we use when working with clients looking for a name:

  1. In most cases, names that make it immediately clear what the business is will help your prospective customers engage sooner. If I’m looking for a florist and words like “flowers” or “florist” are in the name, I immediately see that this is the kind of business I’m searching for. There are exceptions, of course, but we know that when the brain spots a word it recognizes, the process of searching is made easier.

  2. The name should be distinctive and memorable.

  3. The name should import or evoke the desired brand attributes. If your business is competing in and industry known for fun, for example, then the name needs to evoke that.

  4. Take into consideration what its acronym spells (in any language).

  5. The name should be easy to pronounce, as sometimes it will be only heard and not seen (think audio-only ads).

  6. The name should both sound good and look good visually on an ad, billboard, website or in a logo.

  7. Check domain name availability and buy it quickly once you have consulted your legal counsel. And here’s a word of caution. Some domain sites actually buy-up names you search for as part of their business strategy, so you can look up their availability one day and later come back to find it is no longer available—except if you want to pay the higher price they’ve now attached to it.

  8. If it’s a made-up word—like OptiTru or XyPhil—you’ll need the budget to teach the public what it means. Made-up names don’t signal any reference point in the reader’s brain. This can be good, if you want to create the brand from ground up—but bad if you don’t have a lot of money to spend.

  9. If there will be multiple locations, make the name flexible to accommodate those.

  10. If it’s a sub-brand, think through the implications of its relationship—visually and otherwise—to the master brand.

Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s Top Health Care Marketers

The role of the health care marketer and communicator is changing—that’s not news. But what will it look like? In the Sept./Oct.  issue of Spectrum, the member newsletter of  Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD), we suggest the critical skills tomorrow’s pros will need to master. Which of these do you think will be most important?

CMBell Company and Clients Win Three Awards for Creative Work

Creative work developed by CMBell Company has received two gold and one silver award from the Aster Awards competition, an international health care marketing awards program.

A gold award was given for developing the online graphic identity guide (GIG) for Loma Linda University Health. The online GIG can be seen at lluhealth.org/gig.

A second gold award was given for a Colorado hospital’s brochure for expectant moms. It can be seen here on our blog.

The silver award went to White Memorial Medical Center, an LA-based hospital, for three videos we produced for their centennial celebration. One of the award-winning videos was produced for their 2013 Centennial Gala at the Beverly Hills Wilshire hotel.

Entries are judged by design and health care marketing professionals on creativity, design, typography, production, quality and overall effectiveness.

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Stop Wasting Time Managing Your Visual Brand

Tired of people inside the organization using the wrong logo? Or veering off the brand color recommendations? Wondering if you're pulling the most recent version of that new logo? Taking too much time to manage all of your digital assets?
 
You've invested in a visual brand guide, most likely, but if you're like many, you're finding that it's taking more staff time to manage than you like.
 
A simple, cost-effective solution is to create an online branding resource that is the single repository for your brand assets and guidelines—like this one we developed for Loma Linda University Health.
 
This online graphic identity guide helps them manage their visual brand by keeping everything in one location that is easily accessible by their users. It has:

  • All the logos, in various formats.
  • A guide for applying the visual brand—with examples.
  • Samples of their ad campaigns.
  • Policies.

An optional blog could also be part of the site and could provide updates for users on changes, new campaigns or education on how to deploy the brand.
 
This website was developed using our express website services, designed for rapid launch of a site. Get in contact with us to learn more about this service.
 
Time is money, and assets are an investment. A single repository website like this can save both—and preserve your branding investment by reducing waste and labor.