Has it really been almost a year since we posted to our blog? Yep, it has! And you know why? Allison Development Group has been exceptionally busy. Busier than busy and we’re happy to say that all of that hard work has paid off.
We have happy clients. And awards.
This should be an awards post and it sort of is, but it’s really about happy clients and in the process, doing great work that we also happen to love. That’s the real pay off. Oh, and we stay in business and grow with some really great people (visit Our Team page to see who’s with us!).
Last year was so busy that we didn’t even submit our work for any awards. Shame on us. However, we never really measure our success by the number of awards we receive. In fact, when work is cranking, that’s the last thing on our minds. What is always first and foremost and the thing that makes us have that happy, butterfly feeling in our stomach is knowing that the client is really happy with the work that we’ve done and at the same time, we’re ecstatic about the product we’ve created.
When you work with a creative group like ours, there are a few things to keep in mind. We don’t do this for the money. We do this because it’s really stinkin’ fun and it allows us to push boundaries, dream up new ideas, and if we’re lucky, turn those ideas into real things that mean something to our clients. That’s why we do what we do. Of course, getting paid helps and keeps us in business and we do just fine there. But for the creative in all of us – and yes, you do have it in you – there’s really nothing harder than going out on a limb, sharing it with someone important to you (could be your mom or your client), and they say, “I’m not getting it.” Shut. Down.
For the creative lifers (that’s us), we actually take that as a challenge and turn it around. Did we listen carefully to the client? Did we present our work in a convincing way, or in a way that conveyed the thought and time we took to create it? Did we take enough thought and time to create it? If we can’t answer with a resounding “yes!” to all of those questions, then we know we didn’t do our job and we didn’t provide value to our clients. We also push ourselves to nail it big time in the second round.
Thankfully, that doesn’t happen too often anymore. We take the time. We dig in and ask questions. We push each other. We also have amazing clients that give us creative license and the space we need to produce outstanding work.
Ok, you’re right. We really are excited to have received recognition from Hermes Creative Awards. We are also thrilled to showcase our clients by highlighting their work. Take a moment to read who helped us win these awards and then if you know any of these businesses, let them know how proud you are of them. We sure are.
o Direct Mail Piece for Southeastern Sports Medicine & Orthopedics, a Department of Pardee Hospital
o Nonprofit Sponsorship Overview for Mainstay (now known as Safelight) Sponsorship Opportunities Booklet
o Annual Report developed for Children & Family Resource Center
o Logo for Tippi Mace Design
o Advertising Campaign for Pardee Urgent Care
o Motion Graphics for Dr. Pete Richards – Waterlase Pain-Free Dentistry (Cinema Slide)
o Program Guide for NADO – the National Association of Development Organizations and their 2016 Annual Training Conference
o Specialty Item developed for the launch of Monte’s Sub Shop & Taproom (Sandwich Board)
Interested in winning some great recognition with Allison Development Group? Give us a call at (828) 698-6918 or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to help you!
When Olympia Moto Sports first came to us, they already had what a lot of companies yearn for: stylish and quality products with a loyal following. What they didn’t have was a website that reflected this. While their old site had served its purpose for the past few years, the look was out of sync with the clean, modern brand that they are today. There was nothing modern or “cool” about it. And let’s be clear, when it comes to their products, OMS is the epitome of modern and cool. While OMS prides themselves on staying ahead of the curve with their motorcycle gear, their website was starting to feel left behind.
In addition to modernizing and adding style to the website, the old site just didn’t function the way they wanted, and needed. The dealer locator was clunky, and the product gallery was hard to navigate. Not to mention that a lot of the helpful information customers came looking for was scattered over different pages and buried in long blocks of content. Want to know the best way to wash your new jacket? The information was there, but you had to look for a while.
When it comes to the functionality of the site, specifically the product catalog and the dealer portal, we had some challenges. There may be more than one way to skin a cat, but there are a hundred ways to deliver function to a website. We wanted options that would make life easier for everyone – functionality that made it easy for OMS to update and change products in the future, and for potential customers to find the information they needed.
It became clear early on that it was critical for the owners of OMS to be involved and up to date at all times. While some clients prefer to fade into the background and only view the site once it’s nearing completion, OMS was not that client. They had their own specific vision for the website and how it should work for their customers, and thankfully, they wanted to stay involved throughout the process. We had weekly meetings where often we would present the latest version of a dealer portal or product gallery that we had fallen in love with, only to have them point out that it was missing something of importance for their clients. We would hear comments like this: “Sure, that dealer portal looks great, but you can’t search by zip code. So now if a customer is riding across the desert and wants to check out our products, but doesn’t have a specific address because he’s in the middle of nowhere, what do they do?” It probably goes without saying that the scenario of a customer looking for products on his phone in the middle of the desert wasn’t one we had considered before.
The biggest lesson we learned is that while we may know communication and web design, the client knows their business. If the website doesn’t work for that business – and especially their clients – then it doesn’t work. Period.
After a few rounds of meeting where we analyzed the different functions for the website, we arrived at solutions that made everyone happy. Olympia Moto Sports’ products are displayed in a visually appealing and easy to navigate gallery, with complete information on each product, including videos and links to other helpful information.The new FAQ page features a variety of helpful information that has been condensed and organized, so it is easy to navigate and customers can find what they need to know quickly.The dealer locator offers a visual map that you can use to quickly locate a store near you, and yes, you can search by zip code if you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and need some OMS products (assuming the internet is working- there are some things even we can’t fix).
In the end, everyone was a winner with this one. We were given free reign to add a modern style and visual design to the site, and the Olympia Moto Sports brand. The OMS owners (aka “the dream team”) were able to ensure at every step of the way that the website would function in just the way they had envisioned. The best part – the style and function work together perfectly, delivering the best experience for the Olympia Moto Sports fan and customer.
It’s pretty exciting around here – ADG was honored with Platinum, Gold, and Honorable Mention MarCom awards for our marketing and design work in 2014! The International MarCom Awards is a creative competition for the writing, concept, and design of print, visual, audio, and web material and programs. This year the MarCom awards received 6,000 entries from all 50 states in the United States, along with 34 countries. We were presented with awards for our work in special events, logo design, and video production in 2014.
ADG received top honors in the “Special Events” category for our work with Children and Family Resource Center’s “Speak Out for Kids 2014,” a community engagement campaign focused on involving local residents in bettering the lives of Henderson County youths. To refresh your memory throughout February and March of 2014, virtual and live conferences were held, designed to engage youth and the larger community in addressing gaps in services, understanding community priority areas, and providing opportunities for everyone to plug in and do more to help children in Henderson County. The campaign culminated in a live event on March 1, 2014 where ideas promoting these objectives were given cash awards towards implementation.
We were also honored with a Gold Award in the “Pro Bono” category for our recent re-design of the logo for Only Hope WNC, a non-profit dedicated to ending youth homelessness, and was given an Honorable Mention in the “Video / Nonprofit” category for their video production on the importance of farmers’ markets across the region, for their clients at MountainWise.
2013 has been a big year for Allison Development Group! With January 1st just days away, we asked Erica to reflect and comment on the big moments from this past year, and what she expects to see in 2014.
Growth!! We experienced tremendous growth this year at ADG: in accounts, revenue, and staff. That’s a lot to handle for any small business; it was even more of a big deal when it was condensed into a six month span.
Thankfully, I had been hard at work on business planning for six months prior and had started to put systems into place and clarify roles. Understanding how to forecast flow was critical to keeping our heads above water. We use Basecamp for our project management tool. I can’t imagine working without it now.
The perfect storm of under staffing and a lack of systems hit me mid-year and reminded me that in order to grow this business to a sustainable level, I was going to need to put the right people in positions that encouraged personal and professional development. Together, we would have to start the arduous task of creating processes to make the business run more smoothly.
As a business owner, you simply can’t do it all. Find the best and the brightest, stretch yourself to make it work, and then get out of the way. Oh, and stop being so fluid; systems and processes really are your friend.
We are blessed to have had so many wonderful clients to work with this year. It’s hard to pinpoint one over another, but I can point to moments when I just knew that the outcome was going to be outstanding.
I’m lucky to have had lot of those types of moments and they never cease to inspire and amaze me, always reaffirming that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing at this point in my life. That feels pretty awesome.
I have two trends that I’ll be paying attention to this year. The first is wearable technology. It’s seriously everywhere and will become a huge part of how all of us interpret our personal outputs: how much we sleep and eat or how much energy we expend. I’m not talking Google Glass here, I’m talking about functional technology that people are already using or wearing.
For marketers like me, I’ve long been in love with data and how to use it to produce measurable outcomes. Now, we’re all mining data; only this time, it’s from our bodies. If I eat peanut butter 10 minutes before my run, can I go longer? Faster? If I eat a banana instead, what does that do to my pace? If do none of the above and get more sleep, what can I expect then? The options for exploration are endless.
So goes the marketing ramifications. Privacy issues notwithstanding, the actual mindset or physical status of a person could now be available. Going beyond mere psychographics to actual personal profiles, marketers will be challenged to forgo the push notification and broad brush approach and instead recognize context.
That brings me to my second trend: contextual, customer-centric marketing. Read: not the lazy path marketing. Even though wearable technology may be WAY out there for a lot of folks, it represents that once more, the customer is in charge in this relationship. Until we truly understand what they want, how they want it, and when they want it, our marketing will not be as effective as it could be.
The shift in Google to secure search this year really did a number on a lot of us who relied on their Google Analytics to show keyword search. It shouldn’t have. The same goes for this month’s latest change at Facebook: a new Algorithm that made many a news feed take a deep swan dive in reach. Again, not a call to panic, but rather a call to marketers and businesses to constantly evaluate goals, understand their customers, and adjust accordingly. We have to be in tune and responsive to whims, trends, and human behavior, and adjust our marketing accordingly. Today’s marketing isn’t for the faint of heart or those looking for the easy way out. Marketing in 2014 is active, focused marketing. You better charge up that Fitbit now.
Selfies. Stop the madness, people.
To stop taking selfies.
To practice being in the moment.
Continued growth, but not so much that we overextend or drop the ball on client projects. I hope to see my fairly new staff feel like they’ve been here forever and take on more and more leadership roles as we grow this business together.
North Carolina’s Community Transformation Grant for Region 2 (CTG2) came to us a few months ago for help with event planning. Our clients have coordinators working across 11 counties in Western North Carolina with the goals of promoting healthy eating, active living and tobacco free lifestyles. As part of their plan, the CTG 2 team wanted to stage regional meetings, or convenings, that would bring together local health officials, planners, and economic development representatives to begin addressing the topic of creating healthy communities. We were thrilled to help them fulfill this goal and wanted to take a moment to share the results (and our process) with you.
For the first meeting, scheduled for the end of June, we worked closely with a coordinator of CTG2 to develop an agenda that would both educate and inspire everyone that attended. With a kitchen sink start, we quickly realized that less is more when working in a three hour time frame. As a result, we adjusted the timeline to ensure speakers had enough time to get their point across, and the audience had enough opportunity to hear success stories that matter. We incorporated movement throughout the afternoon, real life success stories around a “cafe” experience, and a final panel plenary.
What really proved helpful was to engage each speaker in a prep session. The goals here were to ensure confidence in their message, and triple check flow for the afternoon. We gave panelists presentation parameters of three slides each and then created a branded power point template with which to incorporate those slides. The result was a seamless presentation without disjointed flow and imagery.
In addition to the agenda and speaker prep, ADG prepared and distributed the invitations, coordinated event promotion, and managed the RSVP list of those attending. Email marketing was key in reinforcing the mailed invitations, delivering event location details, and sharing advance copies of the agenda. It was also the tool used to share the event summary and participant list.
What we are perhaps most proud of is that we took the notion of event planning beyond the basic idea of agendas, logistics, and clean up. We created a branded event that arose out of our early planning and creation of the event materials. Our initial goal was to create an event that would matter to our clients and their audience. Our secondary goal was to make sure that they each had a program they could take with them and use as a resource after the meeting had ended. In the process of designing it, we developed a branded, polished look that became standard for every other printed or digital piece of collateral material we made for the meeting.
Not only was that branding used for the June meeting, but the new brand for CTG 2 events is being carried forward into future meetings throughout the summer and into the fall.
To develop this look, we started with the standard CTG logo:
Knowing that our client wasn’t looking for an entirely new brand, we stuck with their color scheme and used elements like the wheel cogs to create a branded look that found its way onto the programs, signage and presentations at the meeting. It also carried through to the email marketing and follow up summary.
We couldn’t have been more thrilled with the final product! CTG2 had a polished event that everyone attending seemed to both enjoy and learn from. The CTG2 team seemed more relaxed and able to actually participate…a rare occasion when you’re hosting an event!
Our next big meeting is scheduled for August 22nd and we can’t wait!