Jarrettsville Builders home page 1

Custom-Built Website for a Custom Builder

When it comes to building websites, or to building homes, there’s not a “one look fits all.” We recently helped a client that understands the value of customization—not only for the homes they build, but also for the marketing of those building services.

Celebrating 70 Years

The year 2020 was a milestone anniversary for Jarrettsville Builders. They had constructed an impressive portfolio of buildings throughout the decades. But during that time, their website had aged. It was time for some long-overdue renovations.

“Many years had passed since Accent Interactive designed our first website in 2004,” said William Minton, the president of Jarrettsville Builders. “We wanted to bring our website into the 21st century.”

Co-Active Creativity

Our creative team collaborated with Jarrettsville Builders to design and build a website for them that was updated and mobile responsive. They also wanted to feature some of their more recent projects.

“Accent Interactive encouraged us to become an integral part of the process, since no one knew our business better than we at Jarrettsville Builders,” said Mr. Minton.

The Website Makeover

We created a new design with features such as:

1. Home page slider: This shows off a representative variety of work at first glance.

Before:
Jarrettsville Builders old home page

After:
Jarrettsville Builders home page 1

2. Branded design: The color scheme and custom anniversary graphic reinforce Jarrettsville Builders’ brand.

Jarrettsville Builders home page 2

3. Professional photography: The onsite photos we took capture Jarrettsville Builders’ expertise in commercial buildings, custom homes, and community service projects.

Jarrettsville Builders custom homes

Built for Success

Now Jarrettsville Builders has a modernized website that is as attractive and solid as the buildings they construct.

“The finished product is extraordinary,” said Mr. Minton. “The Accent Interactive team possesses an abundance of talent and patience. We offer our sincerest thanks for bringing this to fruition.”

Looking for ways to give your business a unique voice in the marketplace? Our team would be happy to help you create something tailor-fit.

About Jarrettsville Builders

Jarrettsville Builders, based in Harford County, Maryland, specializes in building custom homes and commercial buildings. Since 1950, this family-owned and operated business has established a legacy of quality workmanship.

COVID-19 virus in the road

Business Leader Case Study: 3 Responses to COVID-19

Throughout America and around the world, business leaders are reeling from the impact of COVID-19. How you respond will determine the success of your business—not just during the immediate pandemic, but in the years of aftermath to come.

We’ve observed three different kinds of responses that business leaders have had to COVID-19. Which one describes you?

Business Leader Responses to the Coronavirus

To describe it metaphorically, imagine if business leaders are all on a road trip. Each one is on their way to fulfilling their company’s mission. En route to their respective destinations, a common obstacle arises—in this case, COVID-19. In response, what a leader does with their business can be likened to what a driver might do with their car.

  1. Parking
    These business leaders pull over and stop any forward movement. There is no plan B, and plan A can’t be implemented. So, they intend to wait it out, and they assume business will return to normal once restrictions are removed.
  2. Detouring
    These business leaders want to keep going, and they realize that things must be done differently—at least, for now. They come up with a plan B for the time being to keep some business in motion. But they intend to return to plan A once the pandemic subsides.
  3. Rerouting
    These business leaders assume that things won’t return to normal. They come up with a plan B that becomes the new plan A. They reinvent how they deliver products and services for the long-term. It’s a completely different way to achieve their business goals.

Business Leader Case Studies

Here are some case studies that illustrate the three different responses. All of these come from people we are working with through this pandemic.

1) Parking

Business Leader: Hair salon owner

Plan A: Give haircuts in the salon
Plan B: None

We know a hair salon owner who is waiting at home until her business can reopen. She is still getting paid through the government’s unemployment benefits. So, for her, it’s a welcome break from work. Now she has time to pursue hobbies such as gardening. She assumes that once hair salons reopen, her regular customers will be back just like they were before. No more at-home haircuts for them.

2) Detouring

Business Leader: Makeup artist

Plan A: Give makeup services in the salon
Temporary Plan B: Create video tutorials on do-it-yourself makeup tips

Some business owners are using COVID-19 for creative business opportunities. For example, this makeup artist has started her own YouTube channel to teach people how to beautify themselves at home. It might only be temporary, but it still helps clients while they can’t get to the salons.

UPDATE: We just learned that this business leader is also considering starting a new online product to train others in the industry. By creating digital video classes that can make money during a prolonged shutdown, she is moving toward “rerouting” (see below).

Business Leader: Commercial equipment distributor

Plan A: Sell equipment in person at tradeshows
Temporary Plan B: Market equipment through print and digital media

Another example of a detouring response is a retail company we’ve helped. They sell and distribute commercial equipment. Their plan A was to sell equipment at tradeshows and at potential customers’ workplaces. Once COVID-19 hit, they came up with plan B.

They assume that customers will still need the equipment. Instead of in-person consultations, however, the new marketing plan involves direct mail and social media campaigns. Once social distancing restrictions are lifted, this company plans to resume attending tradeshows and visiting customers.

3) Rerouting

We’ve helped various business leaders who are creating completely new ways of delivering their products and services—not just for the immediate future, but perhaps permanently.

Business Leader: Workshop trainer

Old Plan A: Give workshops live in a classroom
New Plan A: Give workshops virtually through webinars

We’ve helped a workshop leader who used to provide in-person training. When COVID-19 made that impossible, he was stuck. “I guess I can’t do any training this year,” he figured.

When he came to us, we coached him through the process of reinventing his delivery method. That’s when he realized he could go digital. We helped him leverage technology to offer a series of webinars. This included helping him create the webpage, training him on the video platform, and creating an online system for students to register and pay.

This new delivery method benefits both the workshop trainer and his trainees.

Business leader benefits include:

  • Saving money. The operation costs are lower because the expense of rented classroom space is eliminated. Therefore, the trainer can offer the workshops at a lower price.
  • Having a scalable model. Instead of being limited to the classroom space, this trainer can now open up the workshops to anyone with an Internet connection. This provides the potential for exponential business growth.

Client benefits include:

  • Learning incrementally. Each webinar is only one hour. This bite-sized chunk of time is easier for learners to digest, compared to the previous in-person classes that lasted several hours at a time.
  • Having greater accessibility. Since the training is even more affordable, more participants can attend. Also, due to the digital platform, people can join from all different locations and time zones.

In fact, the virtual training is so advantageous, the workshop leader is now thinking, “I might do training like this all the time.” The pandemic forced him to think creatively, and as a result, he’s found a solution that really works for him and his clients.

Business Leader: Career coach

Old Plan A: Provide all coaching and training in real time
New Plan A: Provide some coaching and training in real time and some on demand

We’ve also helped an organization that offers career coaching and training. Originally, all of their coaching and training took place in real time, whether it was in person or remotely. Once the pandemic hit, this organization saw it as an opportunity to revamp their services.

As we worked with this organization, they realized that some parts of their program were standard for everyone. For example, each client would receive the same explanation on how taking a particular assessment would help them. The organization realized that they could record these parts on video and make them available on demand.

We helped them develop an online program that incorporates the newly digitized teaching segments. It features training modules, videos, PDF files with instructions, and step-by-step checklists to move from one level to the next.

Consider how this new platform benefits both the coach and the client.

Coach benefits include:

  • Saving effort. Now coaches don’t have to repeat themselves unnecessarily for each client.
  • Saving time. Before, 5 hours of coaching might take the coach 7–8 hours, due to the extra work needed in addition to the actual coaching time. Now, thanks to leveraging the power of technology, the same content can be covered in only 2–3 hours.

Client benefits include:

  • Increased flexibility. Clients can walk through the training modules step by step according to their own schedule and can track their progress.
  • Greater retention. The new learning management system uses methodologies that are proven to aid learning and retention.

This is just another example of how creative collaboration during a pandemic has resulted in a successful new business model.

Map Out a New Business Route

What if life doesn’t return to normal, as we know it—soon, or ever? The novel coronavirus crisis can be your opportunity to create a novel business strategy.

If you decide you want to reinvent your business, then we’re here to help. Our creative team collaborates with you to design and implement something new for the COVID-19 era and beyond. We have the out-of-the-box thinking to come up with new solutions, and we have the technological capabilities to make it happen.

Together, let’s come up with innovative ways of delivering your products and services—ways that benefit people who are at home all the time, all around the world. It’s the route to success.

Website and Video for Healthcare Design & Construction Company

If you’ve ever lived through a home improvement project, you know how dirty, noisy, and disruptive construction work can be. Imagine what it’s like for a hospital or surgery center to undergo renovations—without shutting down their clinical operations and without contaminating the sterile environment.

Consolidated Medical Services, Inc. (CMSI), based in Hunt Valley, Maryland, excels in these kinds of projects as a specialty contractor for healthcare facilities. They needed a way to quickly demonstrate to prospective clients what sets them apart—how well they accommodate the demands of an occupied, clinical environment. This was a challenge because CMSI’s finished work can be inaccessible once the hospital starts using the renovated space.

How could we help CMSI show their expertise in the medical construction field?

Wider Reach

We wanted to present compelling stories of their project work—and we used a variety of methods to do so. We took photos. We wrote case studies. And we produced videos. This full marketing package has the potential to captivate a wider audience. For example, if you don’t like to read a lot of text online, you can just sit back and watch the video. Listening to project managers describe their work and show the details engages customers with a personal touch.

CMSI SurgCenter Towson case study

Behind the Scenes

The video takes you into spaces that would otherwise be inaccessible—like the clean room environment of an operating room, or behind the door of a high voltage area. Our team even put on bunny suits to get special footage of CMSI’s finished work. We captured the details inside and also flew a drone outside to get context shots of the project’s locale.

Show Your Story

Now CMSI has a renovated website that features their renovation expertise.

“The videos are one of our favorite things about the new website,” says Mark Kendrick, CMSI’s Vice President. “We realize they have great potential to help us with business development.”

Potential clients who want to learn more about CMSI’s work can conveniently access the videos from the home page, the video gallery page, or the respective project’s page.

CMSI website homepage

CMSI Video webpage

Interested in using video to highlight your company’s work? Let’s tell your story.

Learn more about our video production.

CMIT Solutions Marketing Excellence Award

Winner of National Award for Marketing Excellence

CMIT Solutions Marketing Excellence Award
Rick Staton and Ken Kinard

Congratulations to Rick Staton and Dave Warnick of CMIT Solutions for winning their franchise’s 2019 Marketing Excellence Award.

We were delighted to see our client honored for their commitment to marketing excellence. In our conversation with Rick Station, he talked about the significance of the award.

Top Out of 180 Franchises

We understand that CMIT Solutions has over 180 different franchises throughout North America. Many of them have been established for decades, whereas yours has only been in business for nine months. How did you earn the top marketing award?

Every year, the CMIT Solutions home office hosts a national conference. During that time, they present various awards, and one of them is for marketing excellence. The staff looks at all the franchises and asks, “Who is displaying the highest level of marketing skills? Who is worthy of this award and why?”

My success coach at CMIT nominated us. He said, “They market everywhere.” We have a marketing presence in multiple channels—creative brochures, print ads, social media, telemarketing, direct mail, and sophisticated email marketing campaigns. No other franchise is in that many channels. We’re coming at things from a new, disruptive perspective. The award validates the effort we’ve been putting into our marketing work.

CMIT Solutions Marketing Excellence Award

Why Accent Interactive?

We’ve had the pleasure of creating several creative brochures and print ads for you. Why did you choose to partner with Accent Interactive?

Ken and I developed a relationship through our local networking group. In little Hunt Valley, Maryland, I found a world-class marketing team. Your work is recognized around the country. When I show it to the rest of my franchise during a convention, not one of the other 180 owners has any negative feedback. Their response is, “Stunning! Beautiful! Where can I get one of these?” Now at least 12 franchises across the US have continued to purchase marketing materials that Accent Interactive created. Thanks to Chris and Carolyn for their great creative work.

Marketing ROI

Instead of relying only on the franchise’s ready-made marketing materials, you decided to invest in creating new ones. How has that helped your business?

It gives me a lot more confidence when I meet with a prospect. When I give them a brochure, they understand immediately what we are about. People remember the material, and they keep it. We haven’t produced stuff that people throw out. Some of my partners who refer customers are now happy to include my marketing material in with theirs. But before, that wouldn’t have happened.

Considering your deep commitment to marketing and the value it brings back to your business, what advice would you give to other business owners?

Marketing generates leads. And it’s up to us business owners to turn the leads into sales. The more leads and opportunities we have, the more sales we’re going to have. At CMIT we are investing across the board in marketing because we have a fundamental understanding that not all customers respond to the same kind of marketing. It’s important to be at the forefront of the customer’s mind and to be findable when a need arises.

CMIT Solutions brochure

Creative Brochures for Managed IT Services Company

When Rick Staton started the CMIT Solutions of Upper Chesapeake franchise in 2018, he knew he wanted to invest in strategic marketing.

“Marketing generates leads,” he says, “And the more leads we have, the more sales we’re going to have.”

Rick decided to establish a marketing presence in multiple channels, including creative brochures, print ads, and direct mail. His commitment to marketing was so outstanding that his franchise won CMIT’s national Marketing Excellence Award in 2019.

Thinking Outside the Trifold

Although his franchise had ready-made brochures available, Rick wanted something more contemporary and unique. He asked us to unleash our creativity to create a series of print materials for him:

  • A general brochure describing the managed IT services
  • A family of brochure and postcards targeting the healthcare industry

It’s true that conventional trifolds have some advantages. They fold into a compact size, and they fit perfectly into those standard brochure boxes. But in the forest of trifolds, they can get easily passed over. So, we brainstormed other designs that would really stand out.

Bifold Brochure

For the general brochure, we decided to go with a large bifold that opens up to 8.5 x 14”. This majestic size helps prospects understand the big picture at a glance.

We curated information on CMIT’s key services and featured them with corresponding graphics in a customized business setting. We also created a map to show the scope of the franchise throughout North America.

Cross Brochure

For the healthcare-targeted brochure, we chose a design that starts as a square and unfolds into a cross—a symbol that is common in the medical field.

We played with language and chose images that blended the IT and healthcare industries. What better way to show this than with a stethoscope on a laptop?

As the cross unfolds, each pair of squares reveals a new message and addresses a felt need. This brochure encourages prospects to interactively engage with the content and absorb it one question at a time.

Postcards Based on Cross Brochure

To round out the family of healthcare-targeted print ads, we also created a series of postcards to be mailed out in succession. This cohesive campaign combined a highly customized cross brochure with simpler, economical postcards that all carried the same branded design.

Nationwide Demand for the Brochures

Rick loves the new print materials. “It gives me a lot more confidence when I meet with a prospect,” he says. “When I give them a brochure, they understand immediately what we are about. People remember the material, and they keep it.”

Rick was so impressed by the brochures that he showed them to the other 180 owners in the CMIT Solutions franchise.

“Their response was, ‘Stunning! Beautiful! Where can I get one of these?’” says Rick. “Now at least 12 franchises across the US have continued to purchase marketing materials that Accent Interactive created.”

Creativity Camp 2019

Creativity Camp 2019

Every summer since 2014, we’ve let the next generation of creatives take over our studio for a week of Creativity Camp.

Best and Biggest Ever

This year’s Creativity Camp was the largest one we’ve ever had, with 19 campers. For the first time, we had to create a waiting list because we reached our maximum capacity.

Applying the theme of storytelling with music video, the campers got to experience a real-life work environment. They utilized professional equipment and collaborated to meet a five-day project deadline. This year’s campers were very committed to working together as a team and producing high-quality work.

What They Created

Each of the four teams created their own storyline, selected their own music, and produced their own short films.

Music Video: Hope in Front of Me

Trailer: Hacked

Romantic Comedy: A Good Time?

Drama: Breaking Point

What They Learned

The creative process

As with every Creativity Camp, we taught the four roles of the creative process. The campers then immediately applied the process to their team project.

Teams debuted their projects to friends and family on the final night.

Seeing new perspectives

One of the campers, Bethany Rathert, shares, “Creativity Camp helps me see the world with a more creative perspective. Instead of taking something for what it is, I think about how to make something creative out of it.”

Another camper, Teleri Wilt, shares “My favorite part of Creativity Camp is seeing what’s possible. My team and I sat down on the first day with no plan and no experience. By the end of the week, we had completed a music video.”

Teamwork and leadership

This year we appointed team leaders for the first time. A peer camper was in charge of their team of 4–5 people.

This was a learning opportunity for Teleri, who was one of the team leaders. “I was constantly evaluating, are we getting things done? Are we all having fun?” she says.

A second-time camper, Grace Hogsten, shares, “My favorite part of Creativity Camp is learning how to work with different personalities and skillsets on a team. The teamwork aspect of camp is helpful because I do other activities, like student government, where I need skills like that.”

Another camper, Judah Almengor, had never really gotten a chance to work on creative projects with others before. “I enjoyed stretching my boundaries and going outside my comfort zone to work with other people,” he says.

Getting past stuck

“Creativity Camp has helped me go past what I thought I could with my creative limits. When I thought there was no way I could come up with more ideas, I was presented a situation that forced me to come up with more ideas—and I did,” says Judah.

“Creativity Camp taught me when to think and plan and when to actually start doing,” says Teleri. “When you’re creating and practicing, you’re doing it over and over, instead of thinking it over and over. And that’s what makes you more creative.”

Awards

High-achieving campers earned awards for the way they embodied the roles in the creative process.

Award winners from left to right: Luke (Explorer), Maddie (Artist), Teleri (Judge), Judah (Warrior). Synergy award for integration of all roles: Benjamin and Oliver

Join Us in 2020

After the resounding success of this year’s camp, we’re looking forward to our 8th annual Creativity Camp next year. Feel free to share the Creativity Camp 2019 video with your young creatives and would-be campers. Check out the website for details on Creativity Camp 2020.

Coach approach to marketing

The Coach Approach to Marketing

There is nothing worse than dragging your audience through bad marketing copy. It actually hurts your brand.

Good marketing copy excites your audience. It shows how working with you brings value to their life and work.

But, as any project manager can tell you, it’s hard to carve out time for focused writing. The daily demands of work and the usual distractions in the office can derail you from making good progress.

Bridging the Gap

That’s where we come in. We embrace the challenge of bridging the gap between what you know and what your customers need to hear. We specialize in getting your expertise onto the page to boost your brand.

Coach approach to marketing

Coaching Out the Content

One way we are unique as a creative agency is that our writers are also certified coaches. We leverage our coaching skills to draw out content from our clients—by asking questions that lead to insights, by listening attentively to catch the details, by helping you process what’s happening to get to the heart of the story.

Here are a few examples of our proven results. (Note: Names and project specifics have been changed to protect the clients’ identities.)

  1. Finding the story.
    Ryan is a project manager at a local construction company. He wanted to feature a school renovation project on their website. When we met with him to get the information, he easily rattled off the specs—what materials they used, how many square feet they built, how long it took them.
    However, we wanted to uncover the story in the project. To coach Ryan out of the mindset of technical details, we asked him powerful questions, which led to interesting discoveries. We learned how Ryan’s team built a new ramp to the cafeteria, which made it easier for the five students in wheelchairs to join their friends during lunchtime. Our approach enabled Ryan to confidently show the value that he and his company brought to the school community.

  2. Making the abstract concrete.
    Susan is the president of a consulting company that provides training throughout the US. She often travels to train teams of executives on conflict management skills and reconciliation methods. But she couldn’t reveal who her clients were or what problems they were facing. How could we show the value of her training when the results were confidential and hard to measure?
    By asking Susan strategic questions about her observations and experiences, we helped her describe the value of her work without revealing specifics and compromising her clients’ confidentiality. Now her marketing communications are clear, concise, and memorable, and her organization’s budget has grown 300% in just 5 years.

  3. Engaging the audience.
    Andrew is a successful agent at a real estate company. The company’s owner wanted us to create marketing videos, featuring different agents and properties. When we met Andrew at one of the houses for a video shoot, we were delighted by his natural charisma.
    However, once the cameras were rolling, Andrew became nervous. All of a sudden, he wasn’t sure what to say or where to look. Through our empathetic encouragement and coach-style support, we helped this camera-shy real estate agent become a burgeoning YouTube star. Now his company has marketing videos that really engage their audience and show their real estate expertise. The videos even got picked up by a national real estate newsletter and distributed throughout the US.

Crafting Your Marketing Message

If you want customers to immediately understand the value you add, and appreciate the story you are trying to tell, then let us come alongside you. We’ll coach you through it.

Maryland Sanitary Landfill layered states

Video for Environmental Linings Company

Have you ever wondered what keeps the waste from seeping into the soil at landfills? Or what keeps the drinking water clean at reservoirs? Thanks to companies that install lining systems in these kinds of containments, our environment is protected—and all of us who live in it.

Hallaton Environmental Linings, Inc., based in Sparks, Maryland, specializes in installing these lining systems. They needed a way to show their audience the details of their work, instead of just telling them about it. One of their challenges was collaborating with engineers who rarely came onsite to understand the nuances of their work. Another challenge was helping clients understand how Hallaton’s expertise distinguishes them from other environmental lining installers.

Big Screen Media for Big Impact

To fully demonstrate Hallaton’s skillful work, we used a combination of photography and videography:

  • Still photography
  • Steadicam video
  • Drone video & photography
  • 360 video camera

The videos provided Hallaton with benefits like these:

Developing rapport

We featured different Hallaton personnel in the videos. As you see key staff at the jobsite and hear them talk about it in their own voice, the projects and company come to life. This personal approach helps Hallaton build credibility with their audience.
Video Hallaton Kennedy Garber thumbnail 800

Bringing customers into inaccessible places.

It’s not always easy to bring clients into a live construction site. And once Hallaton’s lining systems have been covered by waste, soil, or water, you can’t see their work anymore. So we rolled the cameras as Hallaton rolled out their liners, capturing their work while it was still visible. This enables Hallaton to showcase their expertise at anytime to anyone.

Showing a bigger perspective.

Hallaton’s jobsites can be as expansive as 15–40 acres. Properly showing such an expanse is challenging, or sometimes impossible, using a conventional camera. By using a drone we revealed the full breadth of their projects. We also added overlaying labels to educate the audience about the entire lining installation process in a single view. Hallaton now has assets that demonstrate their scope of work, in ways that only aerial footage can provide. Maryland Sanitary Landfill layered states

Get Rolling

Now Hallaton has videos they can show to their engineers, collaborators, and customers that demonstrate exactly how lining systems get installed in the field. These videos provide the attention to detail that sets Hallaton apart from their competitors.

Putting Your Best Photos Forward

Her pictures were worth a thousand wows. As a photographer, Cricket had captured the earthiness of Africa and the emotions of its people. And with those photos, she hoped to show the compelling needs in that majestic land. How could these photo gems best promote her cause? The way we incorporated them into their website reveals a marketing lesson for us all.

Everyone Matters

Cricket and her husband John founded a non-profit ministry called God’s Economy in 2002. They partner with organizations in Africa and the United States to bring hope and life to the poorest of the poor. Their philosophy is that in God’s Economy, everyone matters. And they want that message to reach potential supporters for their mission.

Montage for African Ministry

When God’s Economy came to us, they had an old website with outdated content. Cricket’s photos were displayed simply as a slider on the homepage.

Old website:

Old Website

They needed a website that demonstrated their value of individual care. And they needed their photos to reach their fullest potential, so they could tell the story of the people they’re helping.

With our artist’s eye and personal touch, we stylized the photos with detailed attention. We enhanced their rich tones for warmth. We added texture for dimension. Then we combined them into a captivating montage. The result is a visually stunning website that showcases God’s Economy’s vision: that the world is a majestic, broken place in need of redemption.

New website:

New Website

The new website helps God’s Economy communicate their mission with heart. It shows that they care about what they do at every level, from their website design to providing education for African girls.

Be Yourself: Your Strengths Will Shine

“Often when people set out to market their company,” says Ken Kinard, “they think they have to appear better than they really are. But we find that the best marketing leverages the strengths you already have. Good marketing starts with tapping into your core beliefs, the reason you are serving the market, and the uniqueness you already possess.”

Whether you come to us with words, images, or ideas, we figure out how to leverage your assets to communicate your mission. We help you put your best work forward, to work the best for you. That’s how creativity means business.

Dual Branding

If your business has ever expanded to the point where you’ve wondered, “Should we create a new brand for this segment of our business?” this article is for you.

We’ve had this kind of conversation with many customers, and there are pros and cons either way. Here are the four factors we consider when making this strategic decision.

Deciding Factors

  1. Nature of the service or product
    How different is this service from the other services you offer? The more different the service is, the more it lends itself to becoming its own brand.
  2. Clientele
    Look at your audience. If your services are catering to different kinds of consumers, then that’s another indication for a different brand.
  3. Customer experience

    Consider what it’s like for your clients to consume this product or service. The more different the experience is, the better it is to separate the brands.
  4. Customer mindset

    How connected are the different services in the mind of the consumer? For example, if a carpet store offers the services of carpet sales and installation, as well as carpet cleaning, how related are sales and installation with cleaning? One of them is a once-and-done kind of deal. The other has to do with scheduled maintenance. This question can be hard to answer. You might need to ask customers about their mindset because you may not be objective about this.

Benefits

After considering these factors, is at least one of them different enough to justify a separate brand? If so, there are several advantages to launching the new identity.

  • Focused marketing

    In general, marketing is more powerful when it’s concise and focused tightly on a niche. It’s easier to resonate with a simple targeted message, and customers can find exactly what they’re looking for without wading through unrelated stuff.
  • Unique branding

    Establishing a new customized brand lets it have more personality, reflecting specifically what it is. No more generic, one-size-fits-all branding.
  • Improved search engine results

    If you’re not trying to cram seemingly unrelated things onto one website, then it’s easier to be successful with search engine marketing. The range of search terms is narrower.

Sub-Brands: Four Stories

Here are examples of Accent Interactive customers that decided to create a new brand or new website for some of their services.

  1. Sea King: Same Surf, Different Turf

    If you want delicious seafood from Sea King Seafood Markets, you can enjoy it from either their take-out market or dine-in restaurant. This was a case of the same service/product and clientele but different customer experience and mindset.

    Sea King was running a successful take-out seafood market and decided to expand with a nice dine-in experience. So they renovated their warehouse into an adjacent restaurant. Sea King offered similar menus (but not exactly the same) in both the market and the restaurant. Their audience was very similar—the same local seafood lovers. The market and restaurant were even located in the same building, but had separate entrances. The customer experience and mindset is where the main difference was. Their customers choose whether they want to carry the food home and eat it there, or to dine in and have someone else do the dishes.The strategic decision for Sea King was to market the restaurant as a new brand, with its own name (Sea King Crab House) and website. This decision leveraged what customers already knew and loved about Sea King; and yet a Sea King customer who just wants the take-out market menu doesn’t have to bother with the restaurant’s daily special.

  2. Employee Assistance Program (EAP): The Power of Audience

    Many large corporations today have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which offers counseling and assistance to employees dealing with life’s ups and downs. Most of the factors here suggested that one brand could be sufficient. But this case study demonstrates how a difference in clientele can trump everything.

    EAP provides the same counseling services by the same staff to all of their clients. However, they are the designated service provider group for two different organizations. When it came time to decide how to brand themselves, we considered the options. One option was to create just one brand and one website for all the organizations they serve. Another option was to create all new brands and new websites for each organization client.The final solution is a balance between those two extremes. We feature a different logo and URL for each organization to give it a unique identity. But the customer experience is the same for each organization, and there is no need to create new content for each website. So we just mirror the content on both sites. This honors each organization with its own dedicated platform, while saving effort in content development.

  3. RMB Consulting: Get Your Own Bed

    This was a case of a service being embedded into a company when it deserves its own brand. The only question for this one was why we didn’t do it sooner.

    Nigel Jones specializes in embedded technology products. In addition to creating new products, he also uses his expertise to serve as an expert witness. All of those services were branded under RMB Consulting.He realized, however, that the service of testifying before court is quite different from embedded systems design and consulting. The audiences were different too. As an expert witness, he was offering his services to lawyers. As an embedded systems design consultant, he was marketing to technology companies, manufacturing companies, and engineering teams. The customer experiences were also different. His expert witness clients were trying to prove a case in court, whereas his engineering clients were collaborating on creating new technology.

    Considering all the differences, it was an easy decision to create a second brand for Nigel Jones as an expert witness. We created a new website and customized the content to the audience. Each service is featured in its best light, without the distraction of a seemingly unrelated service on the same website.

  4. Lead NYC: Fruit Salad on a Tree

    In this case, a non-profit had already branched out to the point of bearing different fruit. They had one brand for their parent company and another brand for their marketplace services. The parent company was getting rebranded as Lead NYC, and in that process, we reassessed if the marketplace services brand should still be its own entity. Were the kinds of fruit different enough from each other to justify separate brands?

    Lead NYC was known for catering to an audience of non-profit and church leaders through conferences and training programs. The marketplace services, however, was targeting a different audience—business people. The mission was to help them vocationally through coaching and executive round-table groups. Thus, the services and clientele were very different from each other.The customer experience and mindset were also different. Charitable people are used to reaching for their wallets to make an impact through non-profits. However, the marketplace services wanted to focus on serving these career-oriented people, not getting donations from them.

    So it was an easy decision to keep the marketplace services as a separate entity. The next step was to rebrand it, to fit with the new Lead NYC parent brand. To come up with a new name, we asked the founder, Dr. Chip Roper, a series of clarifying questions. This helped him get to the heart of what he wanted to communicate and represent with the marketplace services.

    The result was a new name: VOCA Center, and a tagline “find and follow your calling.” The logo was designed to give the VOCA brand a family resemblance with the parent organization.

    Establishing the new VOCA name and tagline gives Chip the key he needs to instantly open up conversations with prospective clients. The name VOCA is memorable and compelling. “People never forget VOCA,” said Chip. “It’s life-giving. It’s got zing. And it lets me tell people in one sentence that what I do is about them.”

    We also created a video for Voca Center, consulted on their program design, and facilitated team creativity coaching.

    After working with us on branding VOCA, Chip can clearly and enthusiastically explain to people what he does now. As he reflected on the branding experience, he shared advice for other business leaders preparing for that process. “It’s important to have self-awareness about what you’re trying to communicate. Be ready to have your assumptions challenged and to have humility,” he said. “It’s hard to tell the forest from the trees on your own. Accent Interactive figured this out much better than I could have. And at the end of the day, I’m really happy.”

Like Launching an Emerging Adult

We understand that your business is like your child. If your company has grown up, and it’s time for one of its distinct services to become an autonomous person, we’re ready to help it take that step of maturity.