Use Your Communication Tools to Celebrate Successes

Every company has a story.
And as professional communicators, one of our most significant roles is to keep the purpose of our organization in front of employees, donors, supporters and customers—and to do it in ways that inspire them. We need to be intentional about seeing that messages about cost-control, quality and other business goals do not eclipse the stories that depict the grander purpose of our institution.
In this piece, our client took the time to celebrate the successes of a shared goal—a campaign to strengthen the future of their school. We worked with them to express their message visually in the design of a piece that honors the efforts of countless volunteers, donors and employees—and furthers the narrative of the school’s worth. Successes like these inspire and fuel other successes.
Let’s be proactive about tending our organization’s narrative. How are you using your communication tools to celebrate your successes and inspire employees, volunteers and donors to work on behalf of your purpose?

Why Shouldn’t Information Be Beautiful?


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.

Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges & Universities Campaign

The Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges & Universities is taking a proactive stance to show how private colleges benefit students, communities and their state. We’ve worked with them to make their case and bring their messages to a variety of media—from video and social media messaging to handouts and easy reference wallet-sized cards.


OAICU Infographic

OAICU Wallet Reference Card

OAICU Value Proposition Brochure

OAICU Facebook Graphics

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


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


Investor Capacity Folder

Investor PowerPoint Presentation

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

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.


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.

Great Design Matters to Women

Littleton Adventist Hospital wanted to create something that deployed design techniques that would be engaging to expecting moms. It needed to be fresh and to signal the level of quality and patient experience that the hospital delivers.
To deliver a distinctive suite of collateral, we paired illustration with photography to create a mood that evokes the tender, delicate beauty of a new life.
Whatever business you’re in, take your cues from Target and Apple. Both companies recognize that good design is a differentiating business strategy. Here's just one example from our portfolio.

Care to share others?

Littleton BirthPlace Booklet

Littleton BirthPlace Booklet

Littleton BirthPlace My Birth Day Wishes Booklet

Littleton BirthPlace My Birth Day Wishes Booklet

Littleton BirthPlace Folder

Littleton BirthPlace Folder

Littleton BirthPlace Family Education Templates

Littleton BirthPlace Family Education Templates

Create Content Readers Care About

If you want to build engagement with prospective clients, think more about creating content they can use—even when they’re not at the point of purchase.

Here’s an example. Walla Walla University worked with us to develop useful content on lowering college debt—in both print and video.

This is information that interests more than just prospective students. It reaches anyone who is thinking about sending their child to college—thus making it relevant to a much larger target audience. It also helps prospective students see that the university is working to keep costs affordable.

The video is short and mobile-friendly—so it’s suitable for all types of digital channels.

The companion print piece is used in applications where you don’t want to have to wait for the user to do an online search. You want to hand it to them at a seminar or on campus.

Despite that it’s sometimes easy to think that a longer piece will scare off the reader, we made this piece bigger than expected. While we’re proponents of brevity, we wanted to  devote a full page to each idea to make it easy to read. The words float on a sea of color or white space—and are paired with simple but attention-getting graphics.
 This minimalist approach to design provides visual relief for the reader. It invites the reader in, and gives assurance that he or she won’t have to work too hard to digest more words.
 Make your ideas go down easily. Video—and print pieces that draw you in—are just two tools to help you do that.


How to Dress a Shareholder Presentation for SuccessGT90ty

Want to inspire confidence? Create a compelling and clear vision? In this package, we’ve helped the client pay attention to these three critical factors:

  1. First impressions. Good design can help you create packaging that instantly conveys your message—without saying a word.

  2. Design. Great design is a strategic advantage. Regardless of your industry, clients expect it—and judge your company by it. Like any skill, great design is best achieved by someone who understands your business goals and who has spent a lifetime perfecting their skills. It rarely pays to risk your visual appearance to a novice.

  3. Attention span. As this gets shorter and shorter, presenters have to make it easier and easier to grasp a message. Variety can help here, too. In this package, we provide a short video to break up the in-person presentation. Video is a great way to add punch to any presentation, as it engages more of the senses with music and arresting images.

So whether your audience is a shareholder, customer or employee—use the tools of professional communicators to make you and your company more credible and successful.

Key Technology Video


2013 Annual Report


Investor Capacity Folder

Investor PowerPoint Presentation

How Entertaining Can Increase Readership

One of the biggest challenges of any communicator is getting the attention of their target audience.

As businesses, our messages arrive at the consumer’s eyes and ears but are allowed in only with their permission. Very often, they’re not seeking what we have to say.

The entertain-engage method of communication is one way to break through the sea of communications. Give your target audience something they’re hungry for—whether it’s entertainment, inspiration or a mental break—before you give them the message you want them to absorb.

We recommended this method for a university’s recruiting piece we helped develop targeting high school sophomores. We know that messages that carry entertainment value are more likely to be allowed in, and chose to pay an irreverent visit to age-old clichés that parents use to get the readers’ attention and build a platform for a deeper message.

Besides increasing the chance for engagement with this audience, its unexpected approach provides a fresh take on college recruiting material—much of which looks very similar.

Are there opportunities for you to tell your brand’s story using this method?

Client Showcase: Award-winning Annual Report Features Fresh Imagery

Key Annual Report 2011.jpg

For more than a decade we’ve partnered with Key Technology to produce their annual report. And for the second year in a row, their annual report has been listed in the Top 100 winners gallery in the 2010-2011 international LACP Visions Awards Annual Report Competition. Number 29 on the list, it was selected from more than 5,000 entries across all categories—and from 24 countries.

The Top 100 list included companies like Korean Air, Hyundai, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Walmart (Mexico/Central America), Qualcomm, Charles Schwab and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

The report also garnered the Platinum Award, the highest of four awards offered, for annual reports in its industry category. A panel of professional judges scored the project on eight aspects ranging from first impressions to message clarity.

This year’s report cover image suggests both the international nature of their company and how their technologies benefit the consumer by bringing us fresher, purer products. We love the power of the image and its utter simplicity—made more notable by generous use of white space and use of vibrant colors inside.

LACP is the League of American Communications Professionals that helps promote best-in-class practices in communications.

Client Showcase: Calendar to Promote Early Literacy

We were delighted to partner with Umatilla County Special Library District to develop a calendar to help promote literacy in young children, since this is a cause we care about.

We identified a local artist who agreed to develop custom illustrations that brought to life the client's desired monthly themes. Every spread features not only this colorful and playful artwork and calendar, but recommended authors and activities to promote literacy among children. The calendar will be used for parents, teachers and caregivers as they help children develop language skills.

One can still make the case for the practicality of a calendar—even in an age of technology—because of its ability to be present in a home or office over an entire year. What other printed piece has this longevity?

Not only does a calendar have duration and presence, it can offer the chance to inspire and teach while still fulfilling that work-horse role as a calendar.

Showcase: Scholarship Worksheet Keeps it Simple

Walla Walla University’s new scholarship program gives students instant feedback on what they’re eligible for—and has proven to be an important part of their marketing successes.

When they asked us to develop a simple piece to communicate this complicated message—we recommended an interactive visual piece that is available in print and on-line (click here to view the online version).

Very often, a visual is the best way to convey complex information quickly.

Color Counsel: A Monochromatic Scheme Can Be Chic

A  monochromatic color scheme uses shades (created by adding black to a  color) and tints (created by adding white) of a single color resulting  in a clean and elegant look. This color palette is soothing to the eyes  and works especially well with green or blue hues. It is easy to get  right and has a sense of authority to it. The primary color can also be  used with neutral colors like black, white or gray.

The only downfall to a monochromatic color scheme is that it lacks the  contrast of a complementary color scheme and is not as vibrant. But  don't be afraid to try this when you're wanting a sophisticated but  cost-effective look.

Client Showcase: St. Anthony North 40-Year Collateral Piece

This is the final piece in a campaign to promote St. Anthony North Hospital's achievements via its 40-year anniversary. This printed piece serves as both a direct mail and a brochure that tells the hospital's story and casts a vision for its future. The campaign theme, "We," celebrates the team's efforts in reaching this milestone, while creating enthusiasm for the hospital's future. It pairs well with the employee video, where we build on a reality-style production to show what "we" means. 

The campaign included transit, outdoor boards, mall displays, building banners, kinetic typograpy, Web content, videos and print ads.

The focus of the messaging was not just about their accomplishments and plans for the future, but was a way to celebrate the achievements of the team, which always infuses energy into an organization.

We can't wait to see what they do together in the next 40 years.

How are you celebrating the achievements of the people who make your business successful? What company do you know that does this well?

Sweat the Details and Get a Proof

Your creative project is finished, and now it's time to send it to the vendor for printing or production. But never assume that once it is out the door it doesn't need your attention anymore.

On the contrary, mistakes often occur in production. Here's an example of a recent problem we navigated.

The project below was for a mall display (featured last week on our blog).  As always, we include a printed proof along with the design files, so the production team can see how it should render—and this can often save mistakes in the final stages of a project.

Even then, it isn't uncommon for something to go wrong—which is why we insist on seeing proofs.  In this case, we went through three proofs before getting it right.

In the first, the outside vendor producing the actual display introduced those odd shadows around and across the bottom of the icon where there should have been a drop shadow instead. In the second, they corrected this problem but introduced a new one—the registration was off causing the type to appear blurred. We sent it back with instructions and finally got it resolved in the third round.

Sweating the details at every stage of the project is the only way to ensure that you receive the quality of work your firm aspires to.

Attempt 1: Drop shadow didn't print correctly

Attempt 2: Registration was slightly off resulting in blurred type

Client’s Annual Report Makes Top 50 List and Garners Platinum Award

Key Technology’s 2010 annual report has been listed in the top 50 winners gallery in the 2009-2010 international LACP Visions Awards Annual Report Competition.

Other winners included companies like Cisco Systems, Munich Airport, Monsanto India, Office Depot Foundation, Direct TV, Xerox and Whirlpool.

The report also garnered the Platinum Award—the highest of four awards offered in each category—for annual reports in its industry. A panel of professional judges scored the project on eight aspects ranging from first impressions to message clarity.

The photo of the executive team, above, appears inside the report and mirrors the cover theme that evokes freshness, purity and quality—all outcomes that Key's product line helps achieve.

We have worked with Key Technology on their annual reports for more than a decade, and must say that they know how to inspire good work. We love helping to tell the story of this innovative, forward-thinking international company.

More than 4,400 entries representing 25 countries were received. LACP is the League of American Communications Professionals that helps promote best-in-class practices in communications.