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Marketing Communications

Yikes….!!! I got caught without an elevator pitch.

Me….the maven of all things marcom. Yes, it’s true. I didn’t have an elevator pitch prepared. (Notice the past tense here.) Imagine my shame when, of all things, an old family friend asked me what I did for a living. I mumbled something about working for myself and doing advertising and public relations, those kinds of things…..

LAME-O!!!

So. Today. I set about crafting my elevator speech. I’m currently practicing and editing it. I think it’s pretty good. But, suggestions are always welcome:

I’m a marketing communications professional with more than 20 years experience discovering key market advantages and translating those into successful marketing communications campaigns – including advertising, public relations, lead generation, trade show and digital media. Additionally, I have a penchant for automation, which allows me to keenly understand and deploy messaging for electronic (or digital) media — including social media.

Leveraging from a master.

JCI-System-350-Main-MediumI used DaVinci’s “Creation” as the inspiration for this campaign image. The Johnson Controls System 350 modular HVAC control system was a new concept for the North American market. Initially introduced in Europe as the System 27 (in a a slightly different configuration), the System 350 was the first HVAC control system that allowed users to add functionality as needed. Building owners and managers finally had a flexible, easy-to-use electronic HVAC control solution.

To illustrate how simple System 350 was to install and use , a clear, concise photograph of  the “hand of God” adding  a module to an already functioning system was employed.

Note the DIN rail. This was one of the first uses of the construction staple in the United States and, therefore, we needed to introduce the concept of using a DIN rail to organize and mount System 350.

The campaign and subsequent product launch were wildly successful. Additional functionality was engineered and introduced, each using the same concept to alert target audiences to the product’s availability.

I think Leonardo would approve.

JCI-System-350-Main-thumb
Brochure

 

JCI-System-350-I-Thumb
Print Ad

 

JCI-System-350-Stuffer-Thum
Envelope Stuffer

 

JCI-System-350-DM-Cover-Thumb
Trade Show Direct Mail

 

JCI-System-350-Main-thumb
Poster

 

JCI-System-350-POP-Thumb
Point-of-Purchase

 

JCI-System-350-II-Thumb
Print Ad II

 

JCI-System-350-III-Thumb
Print Ad III

 

With just a little effort, great things can happen.

badgerlogoWhen Badger Press, a small regional printer, asked GS Design to redesign their brand, I went one step further and developed a marketing plan around introducing the new look and feel as well as promote the printer’s offerings to a wider target audience. What followed was a teaser direct mail campaign with the pay-off delivered via visit from a Badger Press sales representative and an open house touting the company’s sizable storage and distribution capabilities and its new Müller Martini 1/2 web press.

The Result

The traditional sheet fed printer went from one shift five days per week to running three shifts 24/7 and keeping that Müller Martini 1/2 web up and running.

With a sleek new image, the company was re-invigorated from the top down. The printer and its customers no longer viewed Badger Press as just a small, local printer. They were now a top-notch printer with state-of-the art equipment sophisticated enough to handle almost any print job.

badgerlogo
Logo

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Corporate Stationary

 

BadgerGroup-WS
Website Template
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Direct Mail

 

Badger-Press-Martini-Thumb
Event – Invitation Cover & Poster Graphic

 

Badger Meter | Gas Utility Sales Support Suite

GasUtilityBrochure-MediumInformation is Power.

The Badger Meter Utility sales force needed materials to adequately sell meter reading equipment and software to North American natural gas utilities. Utilizing a simple headline to convey the Badger Meter key selling benefit – easy collection and use of meter data – an entire suite of sales tools were developed.

GasUtilityBrochure-Thumb

Brochure

 Gas-Utility-Web-Thumb

Website

 Gas-Ad-Thumb

Print Ad

 Gas-Utility-MM-Thumb

Multi-Media Presentation

Watch here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69F-oPspKg4

 Gas-Utility-MM-Thumb

PowerPoint Presentation

 GasUtilityBrochure-Thumb

Trade Show

Badger Meter | Corporate Branding

Corporate-Style GuideBegin at the beginning.

When I arrived at Badger Meter in August 2009, the only corporate standard pertained to the “flowing B” logo mark. Compiling and standardizing all aspects of branding began immediately.

With a lot of hard work and dedication from marketing communications, technical documentation and graphic design (not to mention a healthy dose of benchmarking from several branding sources), Badger Meter has a comprehensive set of living branding documents. These guides provide the road maps to consistency and brand strength across the enterprise and to vendors.

Four initial style guides were produced:

Corporate-Standard-Thumb Corporate and Marketing Standards Style Guide – Corporate brand standards, logo usage, company name use, corporate stationary and styles
Click for larger image. Controlled Vocabulary and Style Guide – Industry terms and definitions, standardized measurement annotations, and common grammatical guidelines
Click for larger image. Technical Documentation Style Guide – Technical documentation templates, uniform industry terminology, and standardized measurement annotations
Click for larger image. Trademark Usage Guidelines – Current company-owned trademarks, industry trademarks and owners, and trademark usage guidelines

An Answering “Lead” Shot…

Lead-free-Ad-8-11-mediumAll is fair in love and war.

Lead in drinking water. It’s a big deal; rather reducing and eliminating lead content in potable (drinking) water plumbing products is now a federally mandated big deal here in the United States.

A Badger Meter competitor had launched a full-out media campaign proclaiming that said competitor had the only lead-free water meter on the market. This is simply NOT true. Badger Meter has, in fact, several low-lead and lead-free products on the market.

The Answering Volley

Position Badger Meter as THE thought leader in lead-free initiatives.

The Campaign

Lead-Free White paper – Outlines current and pending lead-free legislation

Engineered Polymer Meter White paper – Examines superior design and durability aspects of the Badger Meter engineered polymer (plastic) meter

Utility quick reference guide – Highlights legislation, effective dates, and states effected

Press release – Announcing availability of white paper, quick reference guide and website

Trade advertising – Full page print ads and online display ads

Website section

Major industry conference technical session presentation – Conducted by the marketing manager/subject matter expert. Content was manufacturer agnostic. All session feedback praised the marketing manager for her objectivity and factual presentation.

Trade show branding – Major translights carried the campaign graphic/branding

Sales channel education and sales tools – Included white papers, quick reference guide, FAQ and a modified copy of the technical session PowerPoint

The Result

Except for a section on the competitor’s website, their guns went silent within three months of launching the Badger Meter campaign.

Capers-Island-mediumWe should be so lucky to experience the wind and sun on our faces, the sand beneath our feet, and the sound of the ocean. We all need a gentle reminder to stop and enjoy the things life gives us for free.

I have a passion for my work that makes almost any branding endeavor successful — and a pleasure to create and maintain.

In essence, I offer freedom. Rest easy knowing your marketing or digital branding projects are in good hands and are delivering the results you expect.

Why did I select this image for the home page of my professional website?

The answer is twofold.

  1. Hands down, these two are the most complicated, trying, and, conversely, rewarding projects I’ve ever worked on. My daughters. Nothing or no one puts things into perspective like your own offspring. They instill humility by the bucketfuls. If I can successfully wrangle these two, I can handle most things you throw my way.
  2. Look at how carefree and unencumbered they are. I try to bring that kind of joy to my work and to my client’s work everyday. If we don’t love what we are doing, why are we doing it at all?

Altruistic? You bet. Karma. It’s a good thing.

Day One

Decided to put my money where my mouth is…and what an epiphany….

What are my fellow marketing communications and information architect freelancers NOT doing.

They have virtually no SOCIAL or ONLINE presence.

I needed a website, Twitter feed, LinkedIn profile and sigh…Facebook page…PRONTO.

But where to start? Where to start?

Website. I needed to build one and build one fast. And it needed to be cheap.

WordPress! I had a blog and WordPress is listed as one of the easiest open-source CMS programs around. Surely I would find something there.

I went to my blog, backed out and perused their themes. Hmmmmm…I should be able to find something suitable here. Then on to pricing. After thoroughly reviewing functionality vs. pricing, I decided on a Premium upgrade for 1 year. It would allow me to point my existing (and now dormant) URL to my WordPress site, there would be no advertising and I could upload videos.

What I didn’t realize was that my URL registration was somewhat outdated and that I couldn’t immediately point my URL at the WordPress servers. Sigh.

Well, there was nothing stopping me from getting my webstie started.

WordPress.com offers over 200 themes to choose from. There was bound to be something that would fit the bill, right? Reviewing proved to be quite the chore in itself. The thumbnails are set up way more complicated than they need. Without looking under the skirts, it appears someone didn’t do their visual optimization either. Without applying a filter, the themes were excessively slow to load. Only once I actually clicked on a theme, did I experience some normal browsing times.

Interesting to note, there are both free themes and premium themes ranging in price from $58 – $150. However, it appeared that only several free themes were built in responsive design. If I was going to tout myself as a digital guru I figured I’d better be using a responsive design. However, there was no filter for responsive design.  In fact, the filters seemed to be rather un-intelligently designated for my tastes. for a company wanting to tout it’s CMS capabilities, there were no descriptions of each genre of filter and then odd sub-filters.

Responsive Design (from Wikipedia):
Responsive web design (RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).[1][2][3]
A site designed with RWD[1][4] adapts the layout to the viewing environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids,[5] flexible images,[6][7][8][9] and CSS3 media queries,[3][10][11] an extension of the @media rule.[12]

After doing some side research into white versus black pages or backgrounds, I decided on white. Interestingly there is no conclusive research on which is more readable. For all the other bells and whistles Information Architectects and Web Designers have developed to ply their wares, it’s interesting they still haven’t done the most basic of HMI tasks. But I digress.

Responsive design. Check. White background. Check. Serif or Sans serif typeface? Again, some vague references and mumbo jumbo on size, type color vs. type background…but no concrete and hard and fast rules of thumb. Hmmmmmm.

So I visited both Razorfish.com and Organic.com to see what those two giants of web design were using. Razorfish was using a black background with serif type. Organic also uses a black background but with mixed serif and san serif type. I wanted to not here that the sites I use the most are all san serif type with white backgrounds…

Because I want to showcase my overall capabilities and not just design, I opted for a white background. However, to give it some punch, I also opted for a theme that featured by san serif and serif typeface.  WordPress does allow you to go in an modify CSS at will. However, because I want to get this site up fast, and I’m no coder, I opted for something I wouldn’t have to change at the onset.

And the winner is: Origin

That was enough stress and decision making for one day.

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