Twelve Tips for Video and Podcasting

There was a time when it seemed everyone needed a blog. Then they were all jumping on YouTube with video podcasts. The algorithms have changed, and neither are the in-bound content silver bullets they once were, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a good fit for you. If you’re trying to establish yourself as a subject-matter expert, build a closer connection to your target audience, or just love to teach, ’casting may be right for you.

Want to give it a try? Here are twelve tips to consider

  1. Create an editorial calendar. Before you begin, know that you have at least a year’s worth of shows lined up. If you can plan more than that, great. But don’t launch without a clear content plan to get you through the first twelve months. Trust me. Life gets in the way, and the newness wears off. The more you can make this easy to execute, the better.
  2. Don’t try to be the only voice on every podcast. Bring on guests, do interviews, or use excerpts of other podcasts (with permission). It’s more interesting for the audience, and gives you more access to content.
  3. Get a professional opener and closer made. It doesn’t have to be your voice that introduces you. You can hire professionals for it. Write a snappy script and use music and/or graphics under the voice. Let the start of the show come in on top of the music.
  4. Get permission, or purchase rights for everything you use! You’ll have to purchase rights to any music you use, or snippets of video or podcasts you pick up. There are packages of sound effects you can purchase, but check the rights usage. You may be limited to editorial and educational uses only – that rules out e-commerce and retail.
  5. Use quality recording equipment. Get a quality microphone and camera. The camera on your computer may work, but test it first. The microphone will not—trust me on this. Look at a quality lavalier microphone or desktop version like the Blue Yeti.
  6. Find a spot to record that is as soundproof as possible. You don’t want someone’s barking dog to ruin your perfect session. And find times to record when you won’t be disturbed. If you’re using your computer to record, be sure to disable notifications.
  7. Create some test recordings. When you hear how a location sounds, you may not like it. Too few hard surfaces can sound “dead” and too many can be tinny or echo-y. Experiment too with your recording methods. In-camera options can range from your smartphone’s video to high-end digital SLRs. Computer-based programs include Zoom, Go-To-Meeting or BlueJeans. As you work with them, editing and uploading, your favorites will quickly emerge. If you experiment first you won’t be stuck fighting the limitations of a system that you hate.
  8. If you’re videocasting, pay special attention to your background. Busy backgrounds are distracting. But a blank wall can be boring. Find a location and experiment with the lighting and the color. Go for a flattering and professional setting that matches your brand and message.
  9. Don’t create a word-for-word script. The exception would be openers, closers and any ads you run in-show. For those, you may want a detailed script. But everything else should feel natural and conversational, and that’s best accomplished without a tight script.
  10. But don’t wing it, either! Do have at least an intro, an outline and list of questions if you’re interviewing someone. Know what the plan is for the show and set some timeline goals so you know when you need to be switching segments or wrapping up.
  11. Have more content for each show than you think you might need. This is especially true for shows with a promised length. Have a related story you can share, details you can go into or more questions you can ask if you’re interviewing someone.
  12. Decide where your ‘casts will live. YouTube and Vimeo are natural for video, but we love Wistia if your videos don’t need to be searchable. It has a beautiful interface and better controls for how videos play on a website. For audio, Stitchr and Apple podcast are most common, but Spotify also showcases podcasts. And if you don’t need your audio to be searchable, we love InstantTeleseminar.

That’s a dozen ways to make sure your video or podcast series looks and sounds its best, while extending your reach and your brand. Now, get out there, become the star you know you are and let the world —and your audience—fall in love with you!


Twelve Tips for Video and Podcasting2019-10-18T18:30:28+00:00

How to run a business — or what I learned from a bull rider.

I travel a fair amount for business. Once, on a connecting flight from LA to PHX I sat behind a young man who had just finished a week at a bull riding school. Tall and rail-thin, he stood out in the crowd of business travelers with his crisp white t-shirt and black hat. With a thick southern drawl, I listened as he started to tell his seatmate about bull riding and his aspiration to make it big.

The more he talked about his world the more I realized it was not that far off from mine.

Here’s what I learned from his stories:

Lesson 1. “In the beginning, the bull gets more points than you do.”

He said, “A bull and rider get a possible 50 points each.  If you lose control you lose all your points, but the bull keeps his.  When you’re starting out, you lose control a lot.”

It’s true in when you’re starting a business, too. It’s demoralizing in the beginning. The early years are the hardest. You’re learning so much. You will mess up. But, like the bull riders, you will improve.

Moral: You’re going to get beat up. Hang in there and keep learning.


Lesson 2. “The bulls just keep getting stronger.”

He said, “The better you get, the higher the bracket. It’s the reason it never seems to get any easier. You get better, and the rewards get higher, but the bulls just keep getting more athletic.”

There’s a reason they’re call growing pains. Growth hurts. The better you get, the more you take on – bigger accounts, bigger projects, higher stakes. The competition starts to notice you and the battle for business steps up a notch. It just never gets easier.

Moral: You may get used to it, but it never really gets easier. It’s work to get to the top in your profession, and work to stay there. If you aren’t comfortable with that, entrepreneurship may not be for you.


Lesson 3. “The first five seconds are what really matter. If you can hold on for five seconds, the rest is gravy.”

“A lot riders don’t make it past five seconds, so that’s really all you need to win. ‘Course, a lot happens in those five seconds. You’ve got to keep your wits about you. If you can hold on for the first five seconds, you have’em. If not, don’t count on being a winner.”

That was the best sales advice I’d heard all year. What happens early in a sales relationship absolutely impacts your chance for a successful outcome. I’d experienced it myself—first impressions count, and when it’s rocky it’s very difficult to recover.  Truth is, those “firsts” happen all the time, especially when you’re starting up, but also as you grow into new markets and client sectors. Be mindful of how you’re beginning or don’t expect to be a winner.

Moral. Keep your wits about you! First ‘everythings’ count— and for the five years or so, everything is a first.


Lesson 4. “The clowns will save your a**.  Always be good to them.”

I heard him go on to say, “They’re the unsung. They put it all on the line.  Clowns bear the risk, and they rarely get the glory.  Always remember, they’ve got the really tough job.”

You’re not the only one in the arena. It may be your name on the door, but your team members, your employees, and your vendors are a huge part of your success. I know, without them I’d be in a world of hurt. I am grateful for what they lay on the line for our success every day.

I’m also aware that the one who ‘really’ runs my client’s business is often not the CEO I work with. It’s their assistant, or their sales team, or even their spouse who isn’t even on the payroll. The unsung deserve some glory, and will always have my appreciation.

Moral: You are not the only one taking a risk out there. Just because you wear the big buckle, doesn’t mean you run the show. As the song says, Always be Humble and Kind.


Lesson 5. “Hold on for dear life… with your left hand.

“It’s a challenge.” he said. “You hang on for your life with your left hand, but your right hand can’t touch anything, or you’re disqualified.”

I’m an artist — I was a graphic designer long before I was a business owner. Being right-brained comes as naturally to me as being right-handed. But starting my own creative agency taught me I had to learn how to grab my business by the spreadsheet and not let go. My left-brain accounting head is still not my strong side but I know better than to let my right-brain touch the reins.

Moral: Not everything about business ownership is going to come naturally. Hang on and get the skills you need, or find those who can help. Trying to run a business with the wrong hand on the ropes will get you DQ’d.


Lesson 6. “Balance is everything.  Balance and rhythm.”

“You’ve got to stay balanced,” he said, “or you’ll lose points.”

Yep, running a business looks a lot like this: You’re getting pretty beat up, hanging on for dear life, hoping the mean SOB you’re riding doesn’t hurt you or the people out there with you trying to save your A$$. And yet, all the while you’re supposed to be smiling and waving and making it look easy.

It’s exhausting.

You’re going to need to find some balance. If you don’t— a study diet of the situation above will get you trampled. Learn to roll with it. Good times come and go.

My business has survived three wars, two recessions, a dot-com bubble, a real-estate bubble, the rise of desktop publishing and digital communication and the collapse of the print industry. Over the 25+ years I’ve been in business I had a miscarriage, lost my father, lost my mother, had a child, lost my mother- and father-in-law, nearly lost my husband, lost my marriage and … INSPITE of all that, currently life is pretty good and for that I’m grateful (STILL.)

But, I confess, I suck at balance. So I concentrate instead on rhythm. I bounce between family and business, personal and professional, time for myself, and time for friends. I don’t always find it balance but the rhythm keeps me sensitive to my need for it.

Moral: This is a wild ride we’re on. You have to find a way to stay comfortable in it.


Lesson 7. How you do it counts.

“The cool part,” he said, “is you can get points for style.”

In our branding work for clients we define their style. They’re often surprised to learn style is more than how you look, it’s how they work and act. It’s the values they live and work by. It’s a refection of integrity and reputation. Companies who honor and live their values tend to have deeper customer relationships, stronger market positions and are better able to weather economic turbulence. They truly get “points for style.”

Moral: People are watching. How you do what you do counts!


Lesson 8. Be the best you can be.

Then just before the flight ended I heard him say, “You, know, if you get good at it, you can make some good money.”

I smiled. That’s the simplest business truth I’d ever heard: Get really good at anything and you can make good money at it. Just Be The Best. You don’t have to work for the money, if you work to be the top, the money will come. And, if you love what you do it won’t feel like you’re working all the time— which you will be if you want to get good at something.

Moral. Work to be good—very good —and you can make some good money.


As we deplaned I lost the young bull rider in the crowd. I’ve often wondered who he was and whether he found the success he craved, but I’ll always remember the lessons he taught me.


How to run a business — or what I learned from a bull rider.2019-10-30T15:21:29+00:00

The five steps to more effective self promotion

When you’re a small business, the world of self-promotion can seem overwhelming and confusing. But the secret to taking your marketing from boring to brilliant is surprisingly simple—and can be found within the phrase itself:  Self. Promotion.


Self: Know who YOU are and find a way to communicate it.

Step one, know yourself.

In marketing, we use the concept of brand as a way to define who you are (or your company, product, or service is) so you can share it with your world.

Your brand is not a name, logo, tagline or visual style. It’s essentially your reputation. It is the impression others have of you, and it lives in the memory of how they feel when they think about you and your way of doing business. Your customers create your brand and your identity—logo and marketing—should be representative of it.


Brand = experiences + emotions

Because your brand lives in the impressions of others, it’s useful to look for a moment at how those memories are formed. Science tells us that memories are experiences glued in place with emotions. The more deeply we feel emotion surrounding an experience, the longer the memory lasts and the easier it is to recall.

For this reason, customer experiences are critical to brand formation and management. Every transaction—from their first visit to your website, to their final invoice—should reinforce your brand.


What is your brand?

It’s important to define your brand and a good exercise is to try to write a Core Brand Message. It’s not necessarily a statement you’ll use in your marketing, but does set the foundation for the customer facing messaging you’ll create next.

The challenge in creating a Core Brand Message is in its simplicity. In just a single sentence it should define what you do and how you do it, with a declaration of competencies, standards and the unique way you do business.  It should give a clear picture of what you do, with enough distinction to set you apart from the competition.

The formula for a Core Brand Message is
[Our competencies] distinguished by [our standards] delivered with [our style].


Which comes first, reputation, or intention?

What if you’re a start-up or launching into a new market and don’t have an established reputation to build a brand around? Instead, make a stand for what you intend your brand to become. Write a Core Brand Message as a brand promise —setting a standard you will work to demonstrate as you do business.

Next you can expand your Core Brand Message into a Positioning Statement, which will become a foundation for a consistent marketing message. A Positioning Statement identifies how you are impacting a specific market segment in a relevant and distinctive way. It also provides an element of proof.

The formula for a Positioning Statement is
For [targeted audience] [your name] is the [point of relevance] with [differentiation] that you can believe in [because].

You can offer an element of proof through a guarantee, a promise, awards you’ve earned, your time in business, or testimonials. The statement should be more audience specific extension of the Core Brand Message. You can have a multiple Positioning Statements —customized for every market segment or product you sell.

Now that you know who you are, you can start running some ads. Right? Not quite yet. The next three steps are all part of promotion, but you have one more piece of homework first.


Promotion: Know who you’re talking to, talk to them, and listen to what they say in return.

Step two, understand your customer.

Whether you call them clients, customers, patients or member, your business is nothing without them. Not only do they provide your revenue, but if you listen to their feedback, they can be a source of innovation and growth as well.

But (unless you sell toilet paper) everyone is not your customer. What you offer should be a perfect fit for someone specific, and this is when you need define that. What are the traits and markers you can use to recognize an ideal customer? Where do you find them, what other businesses do they work with, and what are their expectations? How can you target your promotions directly to them?

Develop detailed notes about your market segments and keep a database of individual prospects and customers. How can you better move prospects through the sales cycle? How can you encourage past customers to return? Can you increase demand by offering additional features or services they desire? Can you increase prices as you become more valuable?


Step three, talk to your customer

You know what to say now, and who to direct the message toward, but what is the best way to reach them? You could start running those ads, but is that really the best way to reach your audience?

Over the last twenty years, the growth of the internet has added dozens of ways to reach prospects. Traditional broadcast and print advertising are still viable, but you also have social media, email, and digital advertising opportunities at your disposal. Add to that mix indirect advertising such as PR, influencer marketing and community relations, and your message can quickly get fractured and convoluted.

Study your market segments to uncover the best ways to reach them. What are they reading or doing? Where do they shop? How do they spend their leisure time? The more specific the segment, the easier (and more affordable) it will be to find them and speak to them directly. Drill down as much as possible and, if your budget allows, don’t be afraid to promote to multiple audiences simultaneously. Just offer a consistent brand experience and customize the message and the medium to the audience.


Step four, listen

It’s easier than ever for your customers to give you feedback. Be ready for it. Watch for and respond to reviews on Facebook, Google and Yelp. Monitor comments and interaction on your social media pages. Allow visitors to share your web content and comment on blogs. Make it easy for people to email the appropriate people in your company and give them the ability to reach customer service via chat, text or call. And don’t overlook the power of face-to-face contact—from the sale process and after. This is how you’ll know if your messages are connecting.

Keep track of what customers are saying. Use the data as inspiration for improvement and listen for what they’re saying their pain points are. Are their ways you can mold your marketing message to better fit those needs?


Step five is simple. Repeat… all four previous steps.

This step is critical and often overlooked. Don’t be tempted to hammer on step 3, advertising over and over. You need to go through the full process to make sure what you’re doing for promotion is effective.

You won’t have to redefine your brand every month, but you will want to check your positioning statement with every new or improved product or service you bring to market.  Constantly improve your knowledge of your customer and keep your database current. Experiment with communication methods and promotion styles that seem to resonate with your audience and listen to how they respond.

Self Promotion at its core is simple, but it takes effort to execute it well. Always remember, self promotion is not really about you. It’s about the customer.  It takes commitment and discipline to manage the customer experience and make sure your brand is always well represented.  But if you do, you’ll reap the rewards of successful self promotion for years to come.

The five steps to more effective self promotion2019-08-26T21:48:10+00:00

Tell a better story

Brand stories are important for telling people who you are and why that’s important. But when you infuse your stories with real life they become more powerful.

What does storytelling have to do with business?
“Storytelling” is one of those words that is impossibly squishy in a business context. It always conjures up more performance art than industry; more fiction than fact.

But the idea of storytelling as it applies to business isn’t about spinning a yarn or fairytale. Rather, it’s about how your business (or its products or services) exist in the real world: how people use your products—how they add value to people’s lives, ease their troubles, help shoulder their burdens, and meet their needs. Think in those terms when producing customer stories, case studies, or client narratives—so that people can relate to them. In that way, your content is not about “storytelling,” it’s about telling a true story well.

Here’s how to relate the art of storytelling to your business copy:

1. Ask, “What are my customers genuinely interested in knowing about?” As the panel said: The job of marketers is to generate new ideas and pull compelling stories out of their organizations by figuring out what their audience is genuinely interested in seeing and reading or knowing about. Think about what you do, how to tell that story, and how to engage your customers through the stories you tell, said Jeffrey Hayzlett, author of The Mirror Test: Is Your Business Really Breathing? (Business Plus, 2010), who left his job as Kodak’s chief marketing officer in May.

That’s critical especially for business-to-business companies, which often sell intangible products or services that aren’t intrinsically interesting, but the way people use them are interesting. At Virgin America, for example, the hallmarks of what the brand is known for—leather seats, mood lighting on its aircraft, wireless connectivity—expresses the story, in part, of how the airline goes beyond the ordinary, added Porter Gale, vice-president of marketing at Virgin America.

2. Tell how your products or services live in the world. Actually—don’t just tell: Show. Uncover the real-life instances of how your product lives in the world by looking to your customers for inspiration. “Have their story be your story,” said Cam Balzer, vice-president of marketing for Threadless, a community-driven T-shirt and apparel company.

3. Have their stories be your story. Tell the story of how your products came to be, or how your customers use them. Even if you’re making something less naturally prone to story than customer-designed T-shirts or luxury airlines, your product can still be a source of content.

Tell a better story2019-02-05T21:44:18+00:00

The S&P 500 is a Brand Killer

With very few exceptions, I don’t work for publicly traded companies. Or companies held by venture capital firms. Or companies built to flip.

That means most large corporations, including the Fortune 500 and most high-tech darlings, are off my radar.

Why would I do that? Those companies have the largest budgets. They often have high aesthetic, and they understand the need for effective marketing and communications.

Because with very few exceptions, nearly all of them are slowly killing their brands and nothing marketers can do will change that.

Brand Killers

Brands are created by the people who interact with you or your product. Your brand only exists in their hearts and minds. If you want to improve your brand, you have to care about how your customers think and feel.

Publicly traded and investor-held companies work for their EDITDA, share value, Wall Street forecasts, and year-over-year dividends. How their customers feel is often brushed aside while those more “important issues” are measured and managed.

When board members rule, activities with short-term gains (such as cost-cutting), are preferred over those that require long-term investments (such as R&D). Product quality and customer experience often suffer while profits are redirected to improve a bottom line.

The customer isn’t stupid. When they don’t feel the love anymore they vote with their dollar. Sales fall, loyalty slips and the company struggles to shore up their brand.

Once customers abandon a company, a turnaround must be more than logo-deep. Cultural changes must take place that reconnect management to the company mission and market. New brands must reflect new corporate philosophies—and hopefully a renewed commitment to customer experience.

Is it possible to “go public” and not sell a corporation’s soul to the Wall Street devil? Of course. Brand darlings Target, Starbucks and Apple all prove that a customer focus can be profitable. They are the exceptions that prove the rule—and prove the value of brand-based marketing.

The S&P 500 is a Brand Killer2018-12-21T18:44:30+00:00

Four ways to keep your email subscribers happy

An email inbox is a private space. In my personal inbox right now, I have a conversation with a friend about weekend plans, an Amazon shipping notification for my daughter’s birthday present, a communication with my accountant, and a weekly update from my favorite blog. These are all valuable communications to me, and some contain sensitive details like credit card information.

If you are a marketer, and I give you my email address, I am inviting you into this private space. Your marketing email will be nestled in among these other important emails. And so, your email must be interesting and relevant to me, or I’ll just hit delete, (or worse – the dreaded unsubscribe).

Here are four ways to make sure your marketing email belongs in my inbox:

Your Email Needs A Purpose

Have a reason to send your email, and not just because you always send a weekly email. Although we send our Post-O-Grams every other week, we have a carefully curated list of content, and only send emails that we think readers will find useful and interesting.

Talk To Me Like You Know Me

You have tons of data – use it! At the very least, you can easily personalize your email (“Dear Sally…”). Better yet, segment your content and allow subscribers to choose which information they receive. For example, some subscribers want to receive every communication from you, while others are interested in discounts, special events, news, etc.

Your Email Must Look Good On Mobile

At least 50 percent of your subscribers will read your email on their phone. Make sure your email looks good and is easy to interact with on mobile. If it’s not, subscribers will quickly move on.

Make Your Email Easy To Skim

Yes, you labor over every word in your email. But let’s be real – your readers are skimming the content. Make your email easy to digest by putting the most important information at the top, and break up the copy so readers can get the message just by skimming.

Remember, it is a privilege to be in someone’s inbox. Be sure you aren’t just sending out junk.

Looking for more ways to improve your email game? Really Good Emails is one of our favorite resources.


Four ways to keep your email subscribers happy2018-12-21T18:45:18+00:00

Gain followers with Insta Pods

With gratitude to our friends at Hootsuite, we’re sharing their article on how to gain Instagram likes and comments through the use of friend groups. Since posts with more engagement get more reach, this “secret” technique can help you get in front of more people, and ultimately gain more followers.


If you need a lesson in loyalty, look no further than teenagers. If their friend shares a post, they will like and/or comment on it immediately to show their support.

“My friends and I are in a group text where we notify each other when we’ve posted something on Instagram,” my teenaged source reveals, “This lets the group know so everyone else can go and like the post or write a supportive comment. If it’s a selfie we will usually do the heart-eyes emoji or the flame, but even just that simple comment will help the post get more likes in the long run.”

In addition to these loyal friend groups, many teenagers are a part of Instagram pods.

“An Insta pod is a secret group of users who join forces in group messages in order to like and comment on each other’s posts and gain more engagement on Instagram,” Mashable explains, “It’s been compared to “a family of dolphins who live together in harmony and support one another… like a group of cheerleaders who help one another on Instagram.”

Instagram pods work through private messages between groups of users with relevant brands. For example, a group of home decor brands might be in an Instagram pod with one another. When one posts to Instagram, the other group members are expected to like and/or comment on the post.

The key to joining an Instagram pod of your own is finding influencers in your industry. If you’re a Buzzsumo user, you can use their newly launched Influencer search feature. Simply type in a keyword such as ‘eco-living’ or ‘restaurants’ and you’ll get a list of related Instagram influencers. For a complete guide to finding relevant Instagram influencers, check out our post Influencer Marketing on Social Media: Everything You Need to Know.

Once you’ve gathered a list of potential pod members, simply reach out to them to get the ball rolling. My teenaged source shared a set of guidelines one of her pods lists for all members. For example:

  • When you post on Instagram, make sure you notify the group using the emoji
  • When someone else shares the emoji, immediately like their latest picture and leave a relevant comment with a minimum of five words
  • Before you share your own post, make sure you are caught up and have added likes and comments to the other member’s posts
  • If you only post your own photos and don’t like or comment on other member’s content, you’ll be asked to leave the pod

As with all areas of your social media strategy, remaining respectful and courteous will never fail.

Teenagers often pave the way for trends to unfold and Instagram is no exception.  With the guide above you can apply teenaged intuition to your own strategy and see your results soar.

Gain followers with Insta Pods2018-12-21T16:47:35+00:00

Pin your sales growth to Pinterest

We love Pinterest. Whether we’re planning a party, redecorating our homes, or just dreaming about the life we wish we had, Pinterest is our electronic scrapbook, vision board and shopping list all rolled into one. The user interface is seamless and each click feels native and intuitive.

Social media is all about increasing brand reach by making meaningful connections with both loyal fans and new customers, and Pinterest is no different. Below are five tips to connect with both new and existing followers when managing Pinterest accounts for business.

Find Friends

Link your social networks together to help build a stronger Pinterest base. Under “Settings”, navigate to “Social Networks”. Options are available to connect with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Gmail, and Yahoo. Once connected, “Find Friends” will show fans from other social networks that also use Pinterest.

Make It Easy

We hate to find a really cool recipe/blog post/etc. but no “Pin It” button. Sometimes I’m too lazy to copy the URL and paste it into Pinterest, so I don’t pin the content. Don’t lose lazy pinners! Adding a “Pin It” button to various pages on your website will increase the likelihood that followers will pin content.

Be Strategic

As tempting as it might be to pin 500 images in one day, this will clog your followers’ feed and likely be annoying. Create a few pins on a consistent basis, rather than in huge spurts. Don’t have the time to devote daily to Pinterest? While you currently can’t schedule pins for posting within Pinterest, their officially approved apps Buffer and Tailwind do. There’s even a free trial good for your first 100 pins.


Arrange boards with the most popular or eye-catching at the top. A follower might not identify with the brand as a whole, but perhaps will be intrigued enough to follow one board. Periodically comb through pins and boards to ensure pins are up-to-date.

Get Real

Followers understand that a real person is managing a Pinterest account, and want to see some personality! Keep it classy, but don’t be afraid to have fun.

Pinterest has become an important tool to the social media strategy of any brand, and shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re new to Pinterest, start smart. Focus on just one or two of these tips as you begin to grow your follower base, and watch your “Pinny” presence grow!

Pin your sales growth to Pinterest2018-10-04T18:21:00+00:00

Client Feature: IPERS

Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) provides retirement benefits to city, state and other public sector employees. IPERS members include teachers, social workers, park maintenance staff, firefighters, police officers, and many others who keep Iowa communities strong and safe.

We’ve worked with IPERS since 2004 when they came to us for a rebrand, starting with their logo. We developed a brand mark that incorporated the state of Iowa shape and an oak leaf, representative of the state tree and longevity. We’ve since helped to integrate their brand into everything from the website and the State Fair booth to even the rugs in their lobby. We’ve also refreshed their print collateral, striving for more clarity on topics that can be confusing for many people.

Publications That Educate

IPERS utilizes an extensive series of publications for all career phases of membership, from new members to retirees, as well as across three separate types of membership. We developed a cohesive look for the series that keeps everything consistent, compelling, and easily identifiable for internal staff. Key messages are clearly communicated with infographics and other call-outs.

The Truth About IPERS Microsite

Recent headlines suggest IPERS’ funding is unstable, causing concern from members, legislators and taxpayers. In fact, changes made to IPERS in 2012 have put the system on a path to full funding. Because of the complexity of the issue, a microsite ( was developed for members concerned about their pensions, and for lawmakers charged with determining the future of the pension system. Because of our history with IPERS, in just a few short weeks, we worked with the communications team to explain the problem, its cause, and the outlook for the future in this easy-to-read digital format. We then worked with a state-approved developer to put the site in motion.

“Cooper Smith & Company established the IPERS brand years ago and has been a strategic partner in elevating our presence across Iowa ever since. On every level, Cooper Smith has helped guide us in delivering consistent, creative and innovative communication. From educational pieces and websites to videos and displays — even our office setting — Cooper Smith has been our “brand shepherd”, providing support and expertise to maintain exceedingly high standards along the way.”

–Judy Akre, Director of Communications, IPERS


Client Feature: IPERS2018-05-31T21:58:07+00:00

Find the Right Clients

You know not everyone is an ideal client. In fact, the wrong client can be downright bad for business. They cost money, drain morale and worse yet – may refer you to other prospects just like them!

Start sorting the best from the worst as part of your sales process. Don’t be why about who you want to work for. Incorporate “this product is not for you if…” language into your pitch, add a prospect identifying survey into your website, and/or publish prices – especially if they’re high. (You can always offer lower rates or added services as incentives during the sale).

You know the kind of prospect that is the best fit. Take a stand and build your system to filter out anyone who doesn’t fit that profile. Your profit margin and your team will thank you.


Find the Right Clients2018-05-21T16:08:34+00:00