Working With A Creative Agency

The following overview will help you become familiar with creative process and give you an understanding of your role in ensuring the success of your projects when working with your creative agency.

S t e p  1 – Assign A Project Manager

Assign one company staff member as the decision maker and contact person for working with your creative agency. This person should be prepared to be available when needed, be ready to make decisions in a timely manner and be responsible for getting the necessary approvals
from within your company.

S t e p  2 – Your Creative Brief

It is important to establish clear direction at the onset of a project. This ensures that everyone has a common understanding of what is to be accomplished.

The best way to do this is to work with your creative agency’s Account Executive (AE) to establish clear objectives and expectations on the outcome of your project. The AE should ask you a series of questions in order to create a design brief for the project. A design brief is important in defining project goals and objectives, identifying audiences and key messages, establishing a budget, setting a completion date, and identifying the desired outcome and how it will be measured. This should be given to the creative team and used as a reference throughout the design process.

Working closely and clearly communicating with your AE is the best way to ensure your project’s success. You must articulate your project objectives, establish processes and ensure that the creative agency has access to what it needs from you to complete the project on time and within budget.

S t e p  3 – Initial Research

An agency’s job is to create strategic communications that will establish a distinct position for your company, your products and services. In order to do this effectively, they should work to understand your business and objectives. Their initial research should include a review of your competitor’s and company’s current communications, marketing messages and activities.

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It’s Time to Take an Integrated Marketing Approach

IntegratedMarketingIn 2013, if you aren’t already, you should take an integrated marketing and communications approach, using a mix of offline and online activities. If your marketing and communications plan has not shifted toward more online communications and integrated programs, you are not fully connecting with your customers.

To sell more products and services, your company should consistently connect with and speak to your customers and stakeholders on a regular basis. You should always maintain and further strengthen the relationships you’ve built with your customers. Keeping visible in your marketplace is also vital to catching the eye of new prospects.

Taking an integrated marketing and communications approach means integrating your offline channels (print advertising, direct mail, public relations, outdoor and broadcast) with online channels (e-marketing campaigns, search engine optimization, pay-per-click, banner ads, social media, blogs, RSS). Integrate the various elements of the mix to maximize competitive advantage for your brand.

Proper integration of online media adds depth and measurability to your programs. It makes you more accessible to your customers. And, accessibility is an important key to marketing in today’s business environment.

You should devote a good portion of your communications budget to public relations, which includes search engine optimization and social-media-optimized press releases, which increase exposure and potential ROI. It’s important to repeatedly let people know why your brand is worth its price by maintaining regular communications and focusing on the advantages of your products and services. A great way to accomplish this is to distribute press releases at regular intervals.

You must also invest in a strong web presence. You have to make sure that you understand how your products are researched and found, and serve as a resource to people who are in search of information. Your website should be responsive to mobile devices. Think of ways to drive people to your website, such as dedicated landing pages, and using an easy-to-remember URL with your promotions. This strategy makes it very simple to track your promotions. Offer a free newsletter, coupons or some other information of value to your target market.

Why not consider integrating a blog with your website? Blogs are conversations. You can speak in your everyday voice, which your stakeholders will often find more friendly and approachable.

Consider doing a video. There are lots of ways to get prospects excited about your business, but very few are as attention grabbing and emotionally evocative as a well-done video. If you’ve never taken this angle for your business, this is an excellent time to do one,  get it up on your website and a clip up on YouTube.

Start doing a monthly e-mail marketing campaign. Use segmented lists and personalized messages with very specific information for each contact. Permission-based tools can make your marketing and public relations dollars work for you. Sending regular messages to your target audience is one of the best ways to market your products and services, and to drive traffic to your website.

Social media is everywhere. You should have a company Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn page, at the very least. With everyone more and more connected via mobile, these are great tools to stay connected with your customers. Your communications need to be relationship-based, taking advantage of search marketing, social media, lead nurturing and online communities.

You should also develop direct-mail pieces using variable digital printing and customized mailing with information directly targeted to each individual. Digital printing can save you money as you print on demand.

And, don’t forget to include print advertising, especially in your industry’s trade publications. Consider using a quarter-page ad in trade publications rather than a half page, or a half page instead of a full page. Many times they work just as well, as long as your copy hooks in your target audience.

Energizing your customers – getting them charged up and talking about your products – should be done consistently. Determine what your customers are looking for and focus your attention there. Learn which channels and mediums provide maximum exposure for your messages and deliver the most for the dollars you are spending.

Successful marketing and communication efforts result from careful strategic and comprehensive planning. Look for ways to promote your company, its products and services in an integrated approach.

A Compelling Reason to Upgrade: Joomla 3.0 Offers Responsive and Mobile-Ready Formats

BootstrapLargeIf you’ve been waiting for a good reason to update your old Joomla website, or add a content management system on to an old HTML website, the new Joomla 3.0 may have the bells and whistles you’ve been waiting for.

Responsive Design

While Joomla 3.0 has many new features and improvements over version 2.5, the most exciting change is the integration of the Bootstrap framework. Bootstrap is a CSS-based, 12-column, responsive grid framework that enables websites to look and behave great in desktop browsers, as well as tablets and smartphones, via responsive CSS.

With Joomla 3.0, the CMS has completely overhauled both the front-end design and administrator user interface, and has become the first major CMS to become mobile ready in both the front-end and admin areas.

Why is ‘Responsive’ Important?

Each day, traffic from mobile devices grows exponentially as does the number of devices, operating systems and browsers used. Factors such as screen size, pixel resolution, Flash support or lack of, click versus touch, etc. have become crucial considerations when developing websites.

Responsive web design is a development approach of laying out and coding a website so that it provides an optimal viewing experience no matter what type of device is used to visit the website.

Since it is the user experience that enables your site’s visitors to learn about you and your products, make purchases and interact with you, a responsive design ensures that the users get the best experience no matter what device is used.

To learn more about mobile and responsive design, read our blog post Are You Ready for Mobile.

Increased Ease of Use

In addition to making the front-end and admin user areas responsive, Joomla 3.0 has also updated the look and feel of the admin user area, and has overhauled the article manager by adding a better organized filtering system and drag-and-drop feature for sorting articles.

The article edit screen has been redesigned to roll up the publishing options, article options and metadata into a new article details section. The text editor is now front and center, making the article edit page cleaner and easier to work with.


Additional updates are aimed at making the developer’s job easier. jQuery and LESS CSS integration mean spending less time coding, and the integration of the IcoMoon icon library gives the developer some nice options for ‘retina’ optimized icons.

Additional Updates Include:

  • A new fully responsive admin UI
  • A new fully responsive front-end template
  • New user-friendly admin interface
  • PostgreSQL Driver for using the PostgreSQL database
  • jQuery integration
  • jFeed replaces SimplePie for feed management
  • Easier installation of language packages for multilingual sites
  • Guest user group present by default
  • Saving blank articles is now allowed
  • New administrator statistics module
  • Improvements to Smart Search

Free to Everyone

Joomla is an award-winning, open source content management solution that is freely available to everyone. Its ease of use and extensibility have made Joomla one of the  most popular content management solutions available.

To learn more about Joomla visit their website, or contact us for a demo of Joomla 3.0.