Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Here's another survey...

Marketing experts tell us we live in a service economy. Today, major corporations continue to hone their service skills just to make sure they will surprise and delight customers at every turn. Their aim is to make us brand-loyal while the maddening crowd of competition lurks just a mouse-click away. And what's the quickest way to gauge how they're doing?...customer satisfaction surveys!

After working for years in the marketing field as a writer and designer, I applaud companies who want feedback from their customers, and use it to improve their products and services. But when those surveys become barometers for bonuses and salary compensation, the customer loses. Especially when they feel harassed into filling out the survey with glowing scores. I always bristle when I pick up my car after servicing at the dealership and receive a sales pitch to complete my customer satisfaction survey when it arrives in the mail...along some not so subtle encouragement to give them a high rating.

So when it was my turn recently to write a similar script for a home builder (who will remain nameless to protect my cash flow) I felt compelled to create a more honest version. Although it never saw the light of day, it was good therapy!

Dear New Homeowner:

As you probably know from other major purchases you have made, the sales and production team's compensation package relies heavily on the answers to the customer survey you will soon receive. Please don't take this letter as our way of begging for great marks so that we can keep our jobs, but in fact we're screwed if you don't give us a passing grade. So please take a moment to fill out the survey when it does arrive and make sure you give us the highest marks available on the survey. Remember, we know where you live...because we built your house.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Open wide and say ahhh...

Here's a first for James Klein + Associates, a corporate identity program for a dental office.  We worked with Clever Marketing to develop a fun approach to this Newport Beach dental office.  Although settling on just the right mark was like pulling teeth (sorry...), the results were surprisingly very Tommy Bahama.  The pineapple, the Hawaiian symbol for friendship, hospitality and welcome, was added to provide a different twist to a place that for most people is not high on their list to visit.  We used an existing font, then customized it to give the dentist's name a unique and recognizable look.  Our ultimate goal was to make sure that Dr. McKinley's corporate image focused on how a welcoming environment can make one's visit to the dentist a more comfortable and pleasant experience.  Next up on the Dr's to-do list are business cards, name tags, forms and a website.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Here's something Clever.

I always thought of Jann Rowe as a marketing person who was always up to something clever.  Little did I know that would eventually be the inspiration for her new marketing company.  Clever Marketing, based in Tustin, California, is a metaphor for how I have always thought of Jann, a person who looks for solutions that tickle people's imagination.  And that is why I am excited about developing her new corporate identity.  Instead of looking stuffy, we took her love of the mid-century modern aesthetic and ran with it.   The result is this circular logo, a color palette plucked from the pages of Atomic Ranch Magazine and a font based on the whimsical style of Alexander Girard.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

When a place feels right, even your toes know.

Driving north from Los Angeles my car started to beg for some sea air at the point where Highway 101 meets the coast in Pismo Beach.  The sand was smooth and peppered with sand dollars.  It was the perfect place to let my mind wander, and the sand tickle my toes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A company focused on your back-end

Finally a company that is worried about your back end.  I'm referring, of course, to the back-end programming for sophisticated websites and business enterprise software platforms.  James Klein + Associates, a corporate communications firm located in Irvine, California just finished the copywriting for Taigle's new website.  Taigle not only provides cutting edge expertise on the tools that work behind the scenes for financial and e-commerce sites, they deal in the world of mission critical software solutions that are the backbone of a company's operations.  You know, the kind of software systems that make grown adults cry if they ever fail.  Taigle's primary focus is on the healthcare, financial services and entertainment media sectors, but they promised to deal with my low-tech site if I ever get a break to redesign things.