Collateral for the Connoisseur

I admit it.  I’m addicted to the textures and smells of freshly printed collateral.  The different card stocks and inks, sizes and shapes, pop-ups and fold-outs, fronts and backs thrill me.  Gloss makes me gleam, and matte is all that matters.

Undoubtedly, more advertising is moving online.  But, for many markets, print collateral is still standard issue.  Attendees at events, such as trade shows and seminars, are ideal audiences for printed collateral.

I can provide the talents of content development, graphic design, and information architecture as well as expertise in print technologies to produce agency-level collateral cost effectively.

Take My Hand, Please, Right This Way

User experience is the interaction of graphic design, interactive technology, navigation strategy, and information architecture to deliver information to a site visitor efficiently and intuitively.  An effective user experience takes your visitors by the hand, guides them past the message of your value proposition, and delivers them to a transaction page eager to move forward.

I design user experiences that drive sales, register visitors, compel PPCs, and inform clients.  Customers will enjoy doing business with your company.

Walking Back is Not the Direction You Want to Go

Unless you’re “The Teflon Donald” Trump, you’ve probably said something that you later regretted.  While The Donald embraces his faux pas as a branding initiative, and others are able to escape theirs without a scratch, the rest of us are not so lucky.  Any senior executive unaccustomed to public speaking can no longer “learn on the job.”

The communication strategies required to avoid misstatements are not difficult to learn.  Breaking old habits, however, is more difficult.  If you find yourself walking back earlier comments more often than you should, I can help.

I will write what you say, coach you on how to say it, and stand by to whisper in your ear as you say it.  I can even say it for you.  Otherwise, it’s up to you.

One-on-One Conversations

So, you’ve cast a wide net, and prospects are hanging around to catch your presentation.  That effort is wasted if you don’t make a connection. Communications that connect pull needles from the prospect haystack with a message that tapers to your sweet spot.

Great orators make every listener in a crowd believe theirs is a one-on-one conversation.  My goal is to make your message connect at that same level with each member of your target audience.

I may change your tone and style as you speak to clients, employees, the media, or investors; but, following my guidance, each audience will feel your undivided attention.

Communicate Anything, Everywhere, All the Time

Despite the similarities between a texting teenager and a grunting caveman drawing stick figures on rocks, our next generation are amazing communicators.

While some of us are still tickled how technology instantly brings faraway events and people to our smartphones, our children project themselves through that smartphone into people’s lives and events around the world.  That they also text someone in the same room is less amazing, but still game-changing.

Similarly, I look for ways to broaden your communications, so that you talk with more people, share more ideas, and connect at every level.  Relationships don’t end today because of long distance, they end when you are too distant.  I make every communication count.

Do What You Say You’ll Do

Investors hate surprises — even nice ones.  State your plan, then do what you say.

I teach clients to communicate to their investors frequently and with accurate information about the company’s current status, future plans, and significant risks.  Predictions of future performance, when made, are conservative with an emphasis on positive trends and specific plans for solving troubling issues.  With my assistance, your communications will build consensus for your strategy and confidence in your ability to execute.

The Art of the Powerful Press Release …

has all but disappeared.  Countless press releases are written each year; the news media is inundated with them.  Unfortunately, most are nothing more than keywords wrapped, somewhat grammatically, in empty phrases.  Their only purpose is to attract search engine spiders; they are rarely read by anyone.  Sure, I’m as guilty as others — if the client pays, I write what she asks for.  But, still, I practice the art when I can.

If you pay me enough, I’ll write a press release that leaps out of editors’ Inboxes and jumps up and down on their desks.  Whether that editor works for the New York Times or Bob’s Flea Market Gazette, depends on your story — I can’t work miracles.  Importantly, however, I get you the exposure you deserve.  And, no, I can’t guarantee Oprah.

Who said keywords can’t be cool?

Good Employees are Hard to Find. . .

And harder to keep.  Employees have been conditioned to stay light on their career feet by nimble employers that shrink and expand employee headcounts from one quarter to the next.

If your goal is to retain valuable employees, I can help. I teach companies how to establish a culture and build community within their workforce by initiating communication and encouraging dialog.

And if you have to downsize, I can help too — by communicating a message of hope and goodwill that imparts positive feelings to departing employees.

Is Anything More Than a Tweet Too Much?

Have people lost their ability to absorb more than a few seconds or words at a time?  Studies show that typical web surfers will leave a page within seconds if it doesn’t immediately grab their attention.  The constant barrage of social media, 24-hours news, millions of YouTubes, hundreds of emails. . . people cannot possibly read all of the information thrown at them in the course of a routine day at the office. So, it makes you wonder; those brochures, web sites, white papers, and press releases — how much of that junk do prospects really read?  

I won’t claim all of it is read, or any of it as much as we’d like, but importantly, most of it gets a chance to be read.

Your words have to grab their opportunity to be heard, before it slips away.

Screaming helps … as does today’s marketing equivalent — publishing a steady stream of quality content and communications online.    Quality is key as search engines have become very efficient at discerning pertinent, sensible content from the inane blather keyword kamikazis use to attack their algorithms.

Offline communication strategies can still be effective as well — if you work harder to be heard.  The key is targeted content — know your audience. If your words state a value proposition quickly, establish credibility, and then call to action, you can drive predictable results.

Let me help your organization grow the voice that presents your value to clients, prospects, future employees, and your community.

Compucom

compucom

I was on contract with this $2B IT consulting company for two years and completed dozens of projects. The most significant was a complete rewrite of their corporate proposal template for use with all sales opportunities. I created that 132-page document and a database of plug-in content components to allow their sales representatives to quickly produce custom proposals for their unique client requirements while still enforcing the corporate messaging and tone. Unfortunately, I cannot publish that proprietary document. I can, however, share excerpts from it upon request.

I was also hired by Microsoft, through Compucom’s co-op marketing budget, to create marketing documents, presentations, and web content.

Here are a few of the marketing materials I created that I am allowed to share:

VAR Brochure

Microsoft Exchange Brochure

Mid-market Brochure

Whitepaper — Mind the Gap

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement Brochure content

Man and Dog Bite Headline Writer

Sure, a witty headline can grab attention, but to close the deal, you need to connect with the reader.  To do that, you must impart information quickly and clearly.  Vocabulary can and should relate to your target audience, but it is more critical that the content flows smoothly and is logically connected.  Your format should enable quick scanning, especially online.  Bullet points, subheadings, and an “inverted pyramid” writing style are a few of the techniques I use to achieve those goals.

Edupoint

I have written dozens of press releases for this long time client; however, these marketing documents I created are more interesting.

Whitepaper — Introduction of the Synergy EducationPlatform

Whitepaper — Synergy Education Platform: Differentiation is the Difference

Success Spotlight — Marana Unified School District

Success Spotlight — Region 1 Regional Service Provider

Success Spotlight — Mesa Public Schools

Press Release — Edupoint’s California Success Story Continues

ICon Professional Services

ICon Professional Services

I have worked for this client for many years and completed dozens of projects including content for the company’s two websites and creation of a corporate proposal template. Here’s some samples:

Corporate Proposal (excerpt)

Proposal cover letter

Whitepaper — NRP: National Research Project

Whitepaper — Five IC Compliance Issues You May Not Know You Have

Brochure content

Advertisement

Website content (excerpt)

Press Release — Electronic Signature Lets ICon Clients Transact Business Faster, Easier – and It’s Green!

Collabralink Technologies

collabralink

I worked with this IT consulting company on many projects including most of the content on their website and many marketing pieces.

Website

Article appeared in CIO Magazine —  Wheels Coming Off Your Project?  Time to Realign

Capability Statement

Case Study — Healthcare

Case Study — Telecommunications

Case Study — Supply Chain

Case Study — Financial Services

Crash Course

crashcourse

This company is helping reduce the number of teenage driving accidents by teaching a hands-on driving course in the public schools using unique technology that converts a real car into a virtual simulation. I created the corporate brochure.

Brochure

Zenovia

zenovia

Zenovia is a start-up technology company providing a supply-side digital exchange platform for media buyers. I created all website content for the company’s launch. Note: these are wireframe mock-ups provided to their graphic designer and programmer. Also, I simply published the Powerpoint slides as a PDF for use here and some were cut off in the process.

Website Content

Website

Mind Over Machines

white logo

One of the fastest-growing technology companies serving the federal government, Mind Over Machines needed to create an Employee Manual for business and legal reasons, but CEO Tom Loveland wanted a document that inspired loyalty and dedication from his employees. One hundred and twenty five pages later, I delivered exactly that. His excitement with my work led to additional jobs writing the company’s website content, executive bios, press releases, and a communications document to employees of company they acquired. Here are samples from that manual and the employee communication, both capture Tom’s tone and style:

Employee Manual Intro

Merger Overview Document

Kiski Alpha Partners

Kiski Group

A highly regarded advisor to leading hedge funds and institutional investors, Kiski Alpha wanted to promote their services by describing successful client relationships. I created several Case Studies. Note: These are mock-ups for their graphic designer to improve.

Case Study — “Save This Account”  (available on request)

Case Study — Size Matters                (available on request)

GPS Golf Guru

gps

The developers of the first GPS systems for use on golf courses created a handheld device for golfers. I developed a preliminary website and the first press release. The PR looked to take advantage of a lot of hype at the time surrounding the release of Google’s Android operating system to attract the media’s attention.

Press Release — GPS GOLF GURU Drives Mobile Computing Down the Middle of the Fairway