Client Showcase: Imaging Center Campaign

Los Angeles Advanced Imaging, L.A.’s newest diagnostic imaging center, pairs a spa-like environment with an array of advanced technology that enables physicians to provide more accurate diagnoses earlier, often resulting in better outcomes for patients.

We partnered with them to create a family of pieces that introduced the new facility, including invitations, a brochure and the design of a Web site. The carefully crafted language, combined with a design that reflects its spa-like environment, strikes the delicate balance of offering both a message of reassurance and a message of technical expertise.

This marketing campaign won a 2009 Aster Award Gold Award for Service Line Promotion, and the invitation won a Silver Award.

A Better Customer Experience: A Doctor Turns Patient

Bridget Duffy, physician and former Chief Experience Officer at Cleveland Clinic, asserts that most employees in health care today forget the sacred nature of their work. How we feel about our work determines how we treat our customers and colleagues. In this interesting video clip, she reflects on her six-month journey through the health care system as a patient. She calls us to be courageous leaders, purposeful professionals, and a voice for those who have none—and reminds us that simple human kindnesses cost nothing, but can mean everything. Her insights, while couched in health care, have implications for anyone in the workforce today.


Struggling to obtain adequate marketing budgets?

If so, consider these tips used by those who have mastered this function:

  1. Identify the budget decision-makers. Sometimes these include people without the official titles, but who have influence among decision makers. Make sure they understand the rationale for your request.
  2. Speak their language. If these individuals are left-brain thinkers, they'll respond well to logic supported by data. Here's an example of how you might make your case: "Market share has declined by 10% each year for the past two years. We have data to support the assumption that competitor X is offering a similar product at a lower price, and that the market for this service is growing nationally by 8% per year. We believe the following five-point plan will reverse that trend."
  3. Focus on the benefit to the institution. Instead of asking for funding, present a proposal that will provide a desired benefit. Marketing is never just an ad or a campaign, but a business strategy designed to produce value.
  4. Evaluate and report. Re-evaluate the data periodically, adjusting the strategy as needed and reporting results back to the budget decision-makers. As they see results, they will come to recognize that an investment in marketing can improve their image and drive revenues to the bottom line.

You will be surprised to see how funding can be found for projects that are deemed important to the company's future—even in budget-challenged times.

Should your company be using Twitter?

With all the interest in digital media, it's tempting to want to jump on the bandwagon and launch company initiatives that use this media. But will a Facebook page or a Twitter feed attract a loyal band of followers to your company?

That depends. According to a 2009 study by Razorfish, companies that attract a following are offering more than standard brand messaging. Consumers are following brands on Twitter because they want deals—not just dialogue. Starbucks' 5 million Facebook friends are lured with coupons for free pastries and ice cream. The 1.5 million who follow Whole Foods tweets get weekly specials.

Twitter works as a medium designed to send time-sensitive messages of value to consumers. It's well suited to retail sales, but its role is less clear in the service sector, where the buy cycle is unrelated to sales or give-aways. We're not ruling out its use in service industries, but we will be watching with interest to see how it plays out.

The full report is insightful and worth the read. You can find it here.

Client Showcase: Count on Memorial TV Ads

We worked with Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital to develop this 100 Reasons to Count on Memorial campaign, which included a series of television image ads to promote their hospital. This campaign proved to be both effective and versatile, as it allowed new services and initiatives to be pulled together under this umbrella tagline.

The ads use black and white still images and features real people, rather than actors, which puts a warm and personal face on the hospital. The still images not only work beautifully in the spot, but will be repurposed for other elements of the campaign—maximizing their investment. The first ad is shown here. Nothing is more inspiring in our work than seeing the power of words and beautiful images to deliver a well conceived strategic message. It's just plain fun.

Use Color to Evoke Consumer Response

All colors evoke distinctive responses—though often subliminally. In western culture, colors have come to depict a variety of attributes.

  • Red: Vigor, courage, innovation, energy, passion, emotion, authority, strength, power; the Pantone Color Preference Study lists this as the most exciting color
  • Purple: Some shades evoke playfulness and creativity, while others evoke luxury, extravagance, power and sophistication; purple is also the hardest color for the eye to discriminate
  • Blue: Most popular color; professionalism, conformity, calmness
  • Green: Healing, calm, peace, gentleness
  • Black: Sophistication, darkness, drama
  • Grey: Corporate, practical, formal, dutiful

Deep, dark shades tend to be more dignified, professional and serious. Brighter shades create excitement and can be festive and dynamic, while softer tones can be juvenile and playful.

Of course, color also takes on certain meanings based on the object with which it is associated. A red heart, for example, conveys love, while a black heart conveys treachery and a purple heart conveys courage.

Colors also take on different meanings in different cultures, too. So when selecting colors for your corporate identity or other communication materials, be mindful of all of the many attributes a color can evoke. Harness the power of color to work for your business.

What Conducting an Orchestra Tells Us About Leadership

Ben Zander, the flamboyant conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and the Youth Philharmonic, says he remembers the day it dawned on him that the conductor doesn't make a sound on his own. He simply uses his power to awaken possibilities in other people.

You can tell what is happening with a player by his shining eyes, explains Zander. As a leader, the question is this: Who am I being that results in my players' eyes not shining?

Zander's passion inspires us to lead in our organizations by the words we use and the fire in our heart. This lively talk will make you laugh, energize you and help you see new possibilities in yourself and others.

Five Simple Ways to Make Yourself Indispensible

Want to stand out from the rest of your co-workers? Here are five simple tips:

  1. Volunteer to take on a project that matters to your company—but is in need of leadership.
  2. Do more than is asked of you.
  3. Have a positive, can-do attitude. If you don't know how to do something, be willing to learn.
  4. Follow through on your promises.
  5. Communicate results. While others struggle to increase their budgets, you'll find funding more readily available when you can show the results of your previous efforts.

Client Showcase: 2008 Key Technology Annual Report

One of the pleasures of running this company is the wonderful long-standing relationships we have had with our clients. For a decade now, Key Technology has partnered with us to produce their annual report. With products at work on six continents, they're the world leader in developing equipment that processes, sorts and removes defects from food and pharmaceuticals—ensuring safer, fresher and purer products are supplied to people around the world. Each year we have the pleasure of working with this group of talented individuals to tell their corporate story. We love this project because it often allows us to showcase food, which is such a beautiful subject.

Their 2008 report features a custom die-cut cover and gloss spot UV finish that depicts the impact of Key's products on the food market. The shot of their executive team was taken in one of the beautiful vineyards of the Walla Walla valley just before dusk, when the light is warm and beautiful, making the background look as though it was painted.

Planning Ahead is Key to Managing a Crisis

Are you prepared for the critical first 24-48 hours of crisis when it happens? A crisis often hits without warning and demands a well-choreographed response to mitigate damages that can be far-reaching to one's business. An effective crisis communication effort can actually reduce or eliminate legal actions and protect your reputation and brand when facing angry customers or media backlash.

In a well-publicized case involving a hospital in California, our senior media consultant worked with the client to manage their messaging during the discovery of an employee who had been euthanizing patients. Throughout and in the aftermath of the crisis, no lawsuits were filed—largely thanks to decisive, consistent and well-managed crisis communications. The hospital maintained its reputation despite the potential for damage.

If you're interested in an audit of your organization's crisis plan, media training, or help creating a plan to handle a crisis, contact me at

Really Useful Gifts

As our thoughts turn to planning family dinners and exchanging gifts, a remarkable catalog arrives in the mail. ADRA's Original Really Useful Gift Catalog 2009 is brimming with gifts that will change lives. Gift options range from $1 that will send a Bulgarian Roma (Gypsy) child to school for a day to $1,000 that will fund the installation of a water pump in the arid flatlands of Afghanistan. If you can't find what you are looking for there, try the Heifer International gift catalog here. Who says one person can't make a difference?

Photo Credits




Gold Award: Annual Calendar Card

Our 2009 holiday card and calendar received a Gold Award from the Sixth Annual Service Industry Advertising Awards competition in which nearly 2,000 entries were evaluated by a national panel of judges. Our black-and-white themed calendar featured a desk display stand and a unique card for each month.

Are printed calendars passe'? We think not, if the design is fresh and the size well suited to the audience. After all, what else can you give to your friends that can be used 365 days of the year?

The Brain That Changes Itself

For 400 years, mainstream medicine and science believed that brain anatomy was fixed. The common wisdom was that after childhood the brain changed only when it began the long process of decline; that when brain cells failed to develop properly, or were injured, or died, they could not be replaced. Nor could the brain ever alter its structure and find a new way to function if part of it was damaged... [This] theory decreed that people who were born with brain or mental limitations, or who sustained brain damage, would be limited...for life.

We now know that the brain changes its structure with each different activity it performs, and that if certain parts fail, other parts sometimes take over. This process, called neuroplasticity, has been the most significant learning about the brain since its basic anatomy was first mapped.

The Brain That Changes Itself is a fascinating must-read that chronicles stories of how this theory is impacting people once labeled retarded, those with learning disabilities, stroke victims, those with OCD, and others whose brains have failed them in traditional ways.

Order this book by Norman Doidge, MD here.

Source: Paraphrased and quoted from the book's preface.

Is your outdoor advertising working?

If not, consider these tips:

  • Use high contrast colors. One study shows that high color contrast can improve out-of-home advertising recall by 38%.
  • Keep the message readable in four to five seconds—generally seven words or less.
  • Use big fonts. Always test your type either the old fashioned way, by printing out a sample line in actual size and viewing it from a distance, or by using on-line tools supplied by outdoor companies.
  • Select readable, bold fonts, and avoid ornate and serif fonts.
  • Allow enough kerning to keep the letters from streaming together.

Outdoor remains a very effective medium in many applications—one that is cost-effective and impossible to ignore. Just be sure to use your space wisely.


Honoring Our Heroes

Veteran's Day never passes without me pausing to think about the countless lives that have been given in the name of freedom. My dad is a veteran from the Korean War. When they ask the veterans to stand in church once a year to be recognized, it always brings tears to my eyes.

In honor of those who still stand, and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, I dedicate this moment to their lives and their memories. May we all live in a way deserving of their service.