CMS Blog

Office Shenanigans

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Here at CMS we all have backgrounds in art and love to create with our hands, but most of our work gets done on computers (even the illustrations). Today, however, we are abandoning the computer (well, not totally, I’m still checking e-mails and working on some other projects FEAR NOT!) and doing some illustration work with pastels. Our philosophy is: if you want it to look hand drawn, draw it by hand. There is just something organic about putting pen (or chalk, pencil, paint) to paper that you can’t duplicate with a computer.

GetImage

Josh (our web guy) is sort of like the Wizard of Oz around the office. He’s not seen very much, but he makes lots of cool stuff happen. He’s the newest member of the team, but he’s already figured out how to get what he needs around here. That’s him in the office  as Darth Vader using the force to get Patrick to give him the wireless internet password!

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Rachel’s How To: Save Face with Typeface

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Typeface. Oh, what can I say about typeface. It is much abused and rarely understood. What happens to people when they pull down that font menu? I think they see a box full of unique and dazzling treasures, and then get blinded by the sparkle of promise that each one holds. The continually type written world has lost the art of penmanship almost entirely and even puts phone calls on the back burner when a quick e-mail will successfully avoid all the chit chat. Now, I’m not saying these things are bad, I mean I love e-mail as much as the next girl, but there is something about that beautifully handwritten letter (which seems, now, to only come from my grandmother) that seems to have so much personality. And this brings me to comic sans. I don’t know how it gets translated this way, but people see comic sans and think –that’s my handwriting. Do we all think we write like 3rd graders? Actually, I think people mistakenly see it as innocent and casual. More than a failed attempt to capture the personality of our own handwriting, I think it is truly a matter of us believing that the tone of our e-mails are misheard by their readers. So, we feel as though we have to use a font that will take the edge off, if you will, of our short, to the point sentences. Our other typeface mishaps seem to come when we try and pair a font with a specific theme. Everyone loves that font whose letters are nested inside cute little ornaments. It’s hard to read with all those circles, but it definitely says Christmas. Then we find ourselves thinking– when will I ever get the chance to use this font again? I find myself feeling sorry for these types of fonts because they seem so fit for the occasion, but in execution they tend to look–well, cheap. Most often our goal is not to look cliché or cute, but to convey to our audience (be they friends or coworkers) a mood. More often than not when it comes to typeface the untrained often fail and end up annoying their audience with 16 pt red comic sans in every e-mail. So, to prevent you from being labeled the “crazy comic sans” lady (or guy) here are a few things to ponder.


1. The most important thing in your e-mail is the information you are giving the reader.

No, comic sans does not look like your handwriting, and everyone uses it so it’s certainly not unique to you. Don’t let your typeface (or the color of) talk louder than your e-mail. It is distracting (some would say annoying) to get an e-mail full of smileys or an unusual typeface.


2. With typeface, the devil is in the details.

Serifs being one. Serifs are those little kick outs at the top and bottom of the letters that look like little feet. Fonts without serifs (sans serif) don’t have the little feet and are considered less formal than serif fonts. Serif fonts, however, are easier to read in blocks of text (like books or magazines) because they keep your eye on the line you are reading. A sans serif typeface will lead your eye down the page instead of across because it has no little feet to kick your eye back up to the next word. That being said it doesn’t mean that sans serif should never be used for blocks of text, it’s just a general rule. Don’t go crazy with fonts that have cutesy little curly serifs or large distracting ones.

3. Subtlety is key

When you open your magical box of treasures take a look at those “boring” fonts that you aren’t drawn to. Those are your best bet! I know, it’s hard not to pick Curls because it’s so darn cute and you have a girly personality or you’re having a tea pary, but you could pick a nice serif font that has a bit fatter letter, or one where the stems of the letters are thicker on one side and thinner on the other. These will look equally feminine and be less cliché.

4. But Comic Sans, Curls, Copperplate… is So cute! I know, but resist the temptation to type completely in these fonts.

You can use them, however, in moderation. If you find an appropriate opportunity to use these fonts you may, but only use them as part of the heading. Pick another typeface that is “boring” to go with it for the body of the document.

5. Don’t type in all caps all the time.

All caps (even if it’s a caps and small caps font) means you’re YELLING. Always. So does red. Don’t type your e-mails in red, or pink. E-mails should be in black unless you are a teenage girl, then you have permission to type e-mails in pink or any other color you like. If you are a grown up–don’t.

So, if you want it to look like your handwriting, then write it by hand. Otherwise, choose a font that is clean, simple, and not cliché; it does matter, and your readers will appreciate it!

Be Prepared to Say it First.

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Public relations is an instrument that, when used properly by a company, can pay great dividends. At the moment, Toyota Motor Corporation is learning the outcomes that a lack of effective public relations can have on a company. Businesses, whether small or large, all have the same tools available to inform, attract, and communicate with customers or prospective customers. From marketing to advertisement to public relations, these tools should be part of the arsenal used by companies to grow revenue. Out of these tools, public relations is probably the best option for generating the most results without a large amount of capital invested.

Public relations includes communication, community relations, crisis management, customer relations, employee relations, government affairs, industry relations, investor relations, media relations, mediation, publicity, speech-writing, and visitor relations. In simple terms, it is communicating to everyone associated with your business, the good, the bad and even the ugly.

How does public relations grow revenue? Let us examine a scenario involving Company ABC. Company ABC partners with a local college to offer internships. Company ABC along with the institution make a public statement about the new partnership and their dedication to education. Customers of Company ABC indirectly feel like they have contributed something to this worthy cause and feel good about continuing their relationship with Company ABC. Prospective customers see this public announcement and are influenced to commit to future business to Company ABC .

Adversely, bad PR can effect your position with customers and future customers in a negative way. Once again, we have to take a look at Toyota. Toyota chose to acknowledge the issue too late, chose not to take a stand on the issue and is now denying that the issue exists. On March 22, MarketWatch reported that Toyota stock price is down 15% and is expecting a 9.9% decline in revenue for the third quarter. Would Toyota have suffered as much if they had publicly announced the problem and a solution 5 years ago when the problem was first reported? Hindsight is always 20/20. The exact outcome of such an announcement may never be known. But I do know this, I own a Toyota Tundra and have always spoken highly of the Toyota brand. My next car purchase may not be a Toyota depending on Toyota’s actions in the near future.

Public relations is a powerful tool for any business. Having good PR means addressing issues when they arise and working to associate your brand with good service, worthy causes, and other positive business relationships. Having good public relations before a crisis occurs is a positive thing, but the actions you take when something unforeseen happens are critical to maintaining your revenue throughout the situation. If your company is prepared to act first, admit there is a problem, and offer a solution you have a better chance of keeping your client loyalty and regaining your brand positioning once the problem is remedied. If you wait until the issue is discovered by a third party, you run the risk of damaging your customers’ trust in your brand, and starting damage control after the fact is unlikely to be effective.

How intimate should your posts be on social networking sites?

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Social networking has quickly become the newest hot topic in the marketing arena. Social networking sites have become so popular that new words like “friending” have formed since the explosion of Myspace, Facebook and Twitter 5 years ago. Facebook now has well over 350 million users and Twitter has roughly 5 million users (Data for twitter was estimated based on user id numbers assigned since Twitter has not made this information public.) I will have to admit that I am now, also, a Facebook user. After 5 years of resisting the movement, I jumped on the bandwagon because of the implications on my business. Social network marketing is a craze that has begun to spread on the internet. Fan pages have been developed on Facebook for businesses and soon businesses will be able to create regular Facebook accounts. (Facebook has posted this on their web site for the last 3 months.)

I resisted the movement for a long time because I do not like people knowing much about my private life. However, after researching the benefits of Facebook and the privacy restrictions that were default to all Facebook accounts, I decided to create an account for myself and my business. It allows me to post my thoughts, my comments, and business activity for the benefit of my “friends” in the Facebook world. My posts and profile information are only visible to my friends so I can choose what I share with friends and what I share with the rest of the Facebook community. But this has all changed recently, Facebook has changed the default settings for user accounts. Items that were once private are now set to be public. This means that your information, pictures and comments are now public. Of course, these settings can be changed by the user at any time. In fact, Facebook has given its users more control on the privacy of all of your information on Facebook. As a user, you now can control if your friends, friends of friends, or public see your comments, pictures, or profile information.

Social networking has become the latest and greatest item on the internet. Businesses can use these sites as a marketing tool. Individuals can use the site to reconnect with people that they lost touch with. All of this is wonderful and fun, but be aware of the privacy control of those sites and your user account settings. Comments, pictures and profile information that you would not want your current employer, future employer, or business contacts to see should not be posted onto your account if your default privacy setting is public.

Marketing in bad economic times

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There is no doubt that our economy has shrunk, however, there seems to be arguments on both sides as to how well our economy is now doing. Marketing and advertising are widely affected by the shrinking or growing of our economy, so I keep up with current news in our economy and with the world economy. Currently, the argument is whether or not the economy is turning around and is on an upswing. Keep in mind that unemployment has risen to 10.2% and may increase again next month. The average consumer spending has risen, but how much of that was demand borrowed forward from the first half of 2010? Is our economy recovering and will it recover to the levels we had in 2006? These questions still have yet to be answered, without a doubt.
What significance does our economy have on marketing and advertising? Well, as most marketing and advertising firms already know, these budgets are the first to be cut and the last to be added. Most companies see advertising as a luxury item instead of a necessity, so they are willing to cut those costs in order to keep other parts of their company operating.

It would be wise for companies to keep spending money in advertising and marketing during these times. People buy goods and services based on their ability to recall from their memory the name of a company who sells that particular good or service. In order for a person to recall that company, the consumer has to be exposed to that company repetitively. Many self improvement trainers will teach people to repeat the name of a person repetitively as you speak to that person in order to recall the name from memory at a later date. The same principle applies in advertising. Companies need to present themselves to consumers 9 times to be remembered once. In order for that company name to become part of their vocabulary, they need to have 5 to 7 causes to remember the company. That means you need to have 45 to 63 impressions on a consumer. One of the ways to make these impressions on consumers is advertising.

A company with a healthy advertising budget during bad economic times can make significantly more impressions on consumers than they did before the recession with the same amount of money. Why? The competition is spending less on advertising therefore making less impressions. The bottom line is that when the economy does grow and consumer spending does increase, a smart company will be well ahead of their competitor.

Web Site has been online for 2 weeks

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Our web site has been online for a little over 2 weeks. We have been making modifications on a regular basis and more modification are scheduled for this week. One major modification has been the syndication of creative news into our blog area. We have put up a few syndicated news feeds but we still have plenty more to plug in so we can keep feeding news and tutorials on a timely basis. If anyone out there knows of a good creative news sources, please let us know so that we can add it to our feed. Other update news, we are still working on our client area. Hopefully, we can have this part of our site up soon for our clients.

Welcome to our new web site.

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Finally, We have our new site up. It is by far not complete. As you look around the site you will notice pages that are not quite complete and pages that need more content. We also have pages that are in the works. These future improvements will happen on a regular basis. You may find something new everyday, I highly doubt that but you never know. A more accurate timeline would be that you will find something on this site every week.

Somethings that are planned for the future. A staff page so that people begin to recognize that the awesome work that comes out of CMS is more than just me. Believe me, I do enjoy hard work but I couldn’t do it all by myself. Clients should enjoy a new version of our client pages. Hopefully, the new area will make it easier to re-order and download essential files. Don’t forget to call us every once in a while. We do enjoy hearing from our clients. We also hope visitors will use our blog area to check out some tutorials and creative news.

Check back often for updates and new items. Enjoy the new look and if you have any comments, please leave them.

See our New Portfolio Items

We have been busy uploading new portfolio items onto our web site. Please take a look and check out some of our latest work. Be sure to let us know what you think.

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