Archive for category: Newsletter

Through the Years

35 Things to be Grateful for:

1. CK’s dad who taught her everything about business and how to serve customers

2. CK’s mom who had a great sense of intuition about people and passed it on

3. A man named Peter Secchia who was one of the first to encourage CK to quit “freelancing” and make it a business

4. The banker who gave CK and CO our first loan even though we had no track record

5. Paul Hence, our first accountant, who set us on a path to succeed

6. Kap Jones, our corporate attorney, who set us up, then connected us to Kim Baber our amazing business attorney

7. Herman Miller for giving us our first big chance with a long-term contract

8. A friend who worked in HR and wrote our first employee handbook for free

9. Bryan Parris who called one day to see if there was an opening and has been with CK and CO for over 20 years (wow)

10. John Cuevas who relocated from Florida to Michigan to work for CK and CO (yes, he is a bit crazy)

11. AVID technologies for choosing us to be a Beta test site when they first launched

12. Small Business Association of Michigan who advocates for small business and helps keep us current on the issues

13. The SBAM business owners who have “taken our calls” and offered advice when needed

14. Our families who have been so understanding as we travel around the country every week

15. Janelle Horvath, who literally does everything, and does it well

16. All the TV stations the CK and CO team worked for previously because they helped us hone our skills so we can respond quickly

17. West Michigan, a great place to live and work

18. All of the “toys” that we get to buy and use, including Orville and Amelia (our drones)

19. Corporate Technologies – everyone needs great IT support like they provide

20. Delta Airlines – they get us where we need to be and don’t charge extra baggage fees

21. Steve Kohn who gets on a plane without ever complaining and shoots gorgeous video

22. Plug-ins (don’t worry if you don’t know what they are – we do, and you will appreciate them)

23. Equipment manufacturers who continually downsize the equipment to save our backs

24. Our Hungerford accounting team and Hungerford Financial (they have our back and help guide us every day)

25. Mariah (she is speedy and creative in the edit room)

26. Evan (his client photos make the covers of magazines)

27. Health: without it nothing else matters

28. Our ability to give away media production to non-profits that do so much for our community

29. Allie and Taylor (our two newest employees)

30. The Tellys, Addys and other awards over the years (especially Siemens Woman-Owned Small Business Supplier of the Year 2018). We appreciate the recognition, but even more important, we love doing the work.

31. Those who recommend us to others – the highest praise we could ever receive

32. Many clients who are our friends as well

33. A team that works so well together that it makes it hardly seem like work

34. Creative freedom to take the company to the next level

35. All the companies, big and small, who trust us to create the communications that are so important to their success. We won’t let you down.

Love Letters

I want to thank you for a superb job you did in producing our Herman Miller Idea Club video. It turned out terrific and you went above and beyond the call of duty to get it done in time.

-Brenda (1990)

Everyone agrees. The videotape is great! My sedate Board of Directors even clapped after previewing. Thanks for sharing your care, intelligence, talent, and staff.

-Christine ( 1992) Read more

AHR 2022

AHR EXPO 2022. It was billed as the show that had “the entire world of HVAC under one roof.” And it was a really big roof – the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show, which is a premier event for engineers, contractors, facility managers, and other industry professionals, showcased the future of HVACR technologies.

Bradford White has been a CK and CO customer for many years. The corporation has manufacturing facilities across North America and is known for products Built to be the Best®. Through the years, we have produced a variety of product, recruitment, training, and trade show videos for the corporation. At AHR, Bradford White had a significant presence on the show floor and, no surprise, video was a critical component of the booth.

“The annual AHR Expo is the largest and most important trade show for Bradford White Corporation and 2022 marked both a critical and symbolic industry return to this show after a year cancelled by COVID-19.  The CK and CO team created for us a new level of visual energy that brought life and light to our space and enhanced the engagement between us and our valued business partners and customers who visited our booth,” said  Carl Pinto, Jr., Senior Director of Marketing Communications for Bradford White Corporation.

Let’s face it, it’s a challenge to grab attention in any large convention hall. But Bradford White did it. The 80-foot Rotunda Screen was a focal point that hovered above the booth. It displayed a montage of lifestyle scenes to show “how you heat you water matters” along with people and product videos. Two monolith screens, 18-feet high by 5-feet wide, displayed content on both sides. Water “flowed” around the screen and down the vertical display. Visitors were welcomed by larger-than-life plumbers. Kiosks throughout the booth provided specific product information about all the Bradford White Corporation Companies.

The Bradford White marketing team, along with Group G Marketing Partners, Choice Live, and CK and CO worked together to pull out all the stops. To get a behind the scenes look at how we created the video assets check out the video below. Thanks to Group G for providing the video from the show floor.

CK and CO also produced videos for the Siemens Building Technology booth at AHR. Customer case studies and a sizzle video introduced new building automation technology and shared the full scope of how total building control can drive efficiencies and future-proof operations. Check out those pieces below.

Trade Shows are Back!

There is a resurgence of trade show activity, and it is no wonder.

After a few years of empty halls and virtual events, people are anxious to see each other face-to-face for many reasons.

CK and CO has been busy creating assets for use on the show floor and helping leverage video beyond the event. Check out this wrap-up of S. Abraham & Sons show at DeVos Place.

Have an upcoming event or trade show? Let us help you think about ways to leverage your investment so it pays off long after the lights go out.

Siemens Lodi Energy Center

 

 

Telling a Great Story

Sustainable, affordable, and reliable energy – it’s the focus as many across the country work toward aggressive decarbonization goals.

Established in 1968, the Northern California Power Agency is a joint powers authority of community-owned utilities that joined together to invest in power generation projects.

NCPA owns the Lodi Energy Center (LEC), a 300-megawatt combined cycle power plant. The NCPA wants to repurpose this valuable plant to make it a bigger part of the decarbonized electric sector. They are working with Siemens Energy to develop a plan to produce green hydrogen and burn it in a large-scale combined cycle plant.

Read more

‘Twas the Week Before Christmas at CK and CO

It’s a classic holiday tale… with a CK and CO twist. See the team in action as we scurry (like elves) to finish projects before the end of the year. 🎄 Spoiler alert: Orville our drone competes with Bryan to steal the show. 🎅❄

child asking for silence

Stop Talking. Start Listening: How to be a better listener

Most people think improving communication has to do with being able to speak and present confidently. Sure, that is important, but the best communicators are also good listeners. Listening builds trust and improves business relationships.

In a Gallup Podcast, Susan Brady, CEO of the Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership says if she was going to list “one leadership skill out of all the skills needed, listening is the most important.” We agree.

That’s why it’s important to stop talking and start listening, which can be especially difficult for extroverts. We live in a time when there is so much emphasis on speaking up and drawing attention to oneself. Check out any social media platform and all the so-called “influencers.” We reward people for being out front and vocal. Here at CK and CO, we teach people to be better presenters, but also help them be better listeners. Studies year after year show we can all use improvement – it does not just happen. You must work at it. So, here are a few tips to help. Read more

Marana Group

 

 

Telling a Great Story

What do you do when your company name and identity no longer reflect what you do? You change your name and update your brand with a new look. But there is still work to be done. You need to communicate the changes to your existing customers and attract new ones once rebranding efforts are completed. Since 2018, CK and CO has been working with Marana Group, formerly Lake Michigan Mailers, to do just that.

 

The Client

Marana Group is a family-owned and managed business founded in 1977 by Bob and Karen Rhoa in the basement of their Saint Joseph, Michigan home.  The business provided customers with efficient mailing solutions that saved them money and allowed them to focus on their core business functions.  Today the company, led by David Rhoa, provides extensive data, document, and distribution solutions to customers around the world. These solutions are engineered for specific client needs. They invest heavily in technology and are recognized as experts in the marketplace.  Two of their solutions, HealthyScreen™ and HealthyVisitor™, are designed to help businesses comply with local, state, and federal regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic and are examples of how Marana Group is always innovating.

The Challenge

In the midst of a rebrand, the company needed to introduce and explain their new identity to help customers understand the transition. It is not unusual for customers to be concerned when suppliers rebrand or make significant changes.  They need to be reassured. At the same time, Marana Group knew many of its customers simply did not know about the depth, breadth, and complexity of their solutions. They were not taking advantage of services that could help them reach their business objectives. Additionally, it is challenging to explain how highly sophisticated technology and services work to audiences who may not have a technical background.

The Solution

CK and CO created a series of video assets in a variety of formats using the new company brand identity. To explain the transition, David Rhoa was front and center on-camera. He provided a snapshot of the company’s history, growth, dedicated team, and their approach to the future. And seeing the production floor humming gave viewers a window into the work and showcased technology.

“The brand introduction that CK and CO created for us really set the tone for the transition to the new name and logo. It presented a complex issue, many years in the making, into a brief, and easy to understand message that projected our quality, attention to detail, and our continuing dedication to our customers,” said Rhoa.

To address the challenge of understanding Marana Group’s various services, CK and CO used the “explainer” format. Explainer videos are used to educate and create compelling content in a short timeframe. By using icons and motion graphics – along with a fun, casual tone CK and CO created individual short videos Marana Group can leverage across platforms. And as the company has added new capabilities, new videos were added to their library of assets. Most recently CK and CO produced a video on their Personalized Solutions.

“The explainer videos CK and CO put together for us have really bridged the gap for our customers in terms of better understanding what we can do for them. When we send them to our customers and prospective customers in advance of our meeting with them, the tone of the conversation shifts from ‘Tell us what you can do for us.’, to ‘How quickly can we implement you solution?’ They have proven to be a real game changer when telling our story to both existing customers and prospective customers,” Rhoa explained.

While many companies rely on web and social media exclusively for marketing, Marana Group is taking an additional step, sending videos in a mailer. It’s a “clutter buster” because it stands out and gets noticed on a desk. And, unlike email, it won’t get deleted without a look.

   

The Result

Rhoa believes, “Someday, when I write a book on managing and growing and small, family-owned business, there is going to be at least one chapter on what it takes to change the company’s brand after 41 years.  A large portion of that chapter will be on the importance of telling your story with vibrant, cohesive images, and easy to understand messaging, just as we did with the video that CK and CO created for us.”

The Takeaway

Video is an important tool when organizations are in the process of change.  Face-to-face communication is always effective, but to scale up and reach more of your audience quickly and efficiently, video delivers results. The message is consistent. People can view it on-demand. And the assets can be updated easily and leveraged over time.  So, whether you are undergoing a rebranding, restructuring, or shift in culture, consider video to help you communicate internally and externally.

One last point. As you create video assets you should also develop a strategy for distribution that can include your website, social media, direct marketing, events, and other opportunities. Don’t let the videos “sit on the shelf” – use them!

3 Hot Marketing Trends

We thought the pandemic was behind us – it is not. As the world continues to try to find new ways of doing business, it is more important than ever to stay on top of marketing efforts to help us communicate with existing customers and convert prospects to new fans.

Here’s a look at 3 hot marketing trends you can’t ignore and (spoiler alert) video is key.

A Video Journey

Video continues to be the preferred tool. In fact, 80% of marketers say video helps increase sales. That’s not new. What is? Using different types of videos at every stage of the buying process. Let’s say a customer is considering your product or service. Here at CK and CO, we like the educational, consultative approach of explainer videos. Or a big picture brand video that gives the viewer confidence your organization is top notch. As you start to have conversations, using customer testimonials is very effective. As you get further into the buying process “how to videos” and case studies come into play. The key thing to remember is one video cannot do it all. And please, avoid talking heads.

Blog vs Vlog

In 2020, a HubSpot study found “60% of people read a blog at least once a week.” So, keep writing. Be sure to link other credible content that adds to your story. We do have a suggestion that could level up your brand – turn that blog into a vlog (video blog). Get in front of the camera and use the same content but with the added punch from visuals. You can also add in short video clips from others to illustrate key points. A quality vlog that can entertain and educate will help attract people to your site, allow you to engage with your audience, increase brand awareness, and show your expertise in a unique way.

Vlogs are great tools, but it’s important to keep in mind that video can’t always replace written content and, like we said earlier, you’ve got to keep writing – Google, unfortunately, can’t watch videos. This means Google is unable to index vlogs in the same way as blogs. To ensure your company’s content ranks in the search engine and continues to attract new people to your site, you’ve got to include written content in your marketing strategy. So, the argument here isn’t whether you should be blogging OR vlogging, but how you can incorporate both into your overall strategy.

Get Social

At CK and CO, we are creating more and more short videos for social media to really grab attention. Often these clips are pulled from larger pieces and focus on one topic or message. A call to action at the end of the video sends viewers to additional content, if desired. If you are using multiple platforms, there are ways to coordinate your posts on all the outlets using tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, or if you need a more robust marketing program you might want to check out HubSpot.  Be sure to customize posts so each one is unique to the social media platform. This past year many companies hired Chief Customer Officers to manage social media.  If your organization doesn’t need a full-time person, maybe a strategic marketing firm can help with decision making and execution.

We think, and statistics show, video marketing is the most important trend. Think about all the mobile devices where people access your content. Most people have at least two if not three mobile devices. People would rather watch a video on their device than read teeny, tiny print. Video also provides you with the option of being able to demonstrate your product rather than just talk about it. You can show how your product stacks up against the competition – maybe with a side-by-side comparison.

The Takeaway

These are just 3 of the many trends that top the list in 2021. As we move closer to 2022, now is the time to develop a strategy for using or expanding your video marketing. What assets can you create and leverage for a variety of different audiences?

Video is key. It allows you to bring your customers voice into the conversation, lending more credibility to your company. And, take it from us, video works – regardless of where it is watched. Mobile device or desktop. Your website is 53X more likely to reach Google’s front page if it has video. That’s because people often find video more interesting than print.

Above all, don’t forget to think about the production value. Do you need something highly polished or simple, but well done? Want to know more? Let us think with you.