GUEST BLOG – How many of us knew what ALS was a few weeks ago?

Carisa Holmes-Peters, Owner at Holmes Marketing Services

If you use social media, then you have no doubt seen videos posted on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube that show someone taking the ice bucket challenge and dumping freezing cold ice water over their head.

I have been watching this trend spread quickly over the past few weeks and have even enjoyed seeing the celebrity videos that have popped up. This challenge came into my own home when my husband was called out by a friend to complete the challenge within 24 hours. With my 12 year old son holding an iPhone, a bucket from the garage, ice out of the refrigerator and my 5 year old daughter doing the honors of pouring in the ice prior to the dumping it over his head he completed the challenge and then nominated more individuals to do so.

My husband didn’t know what ALS was when he was first called out for this challenge, and he asked me if I knew. A Holmes employee’s mother had passed from the disease in 2000, so I had an awareness that ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), which is often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

I found myself amazed at how an idea as simple as the ice bucket challenge, paired with the use of social media, could raise such a large amount of money and create the awareness that it has in such a short time. It has rapidly become widespread and powerful enough that as of Sunday, the association said it had received $13.3 million in donations since July 29, compared with $1.7 million during the same period last year. There have also been over 300,000 new donors. Those results most likely surpass what one would expect to have happen with an organized, structured fundraising plan, that much more effort and thought were poured into.

The simplicity of this and how social media has allowed it to evolve is truly amazing. Regardless of how long this craze lasts, the funds raised and the awareness that has been created for ALS did in fact make an impact and educated many that would not have otherwise been familiar. It’s also a reminder that we are just one passionate, creative idea away from doing something extremely amazing to help others!

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Car Conferences

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How do you recap the highlights of a client, board or internal staff meeting? Do you have a follow up meeting? Do you share notes with everyone involved in the project to make sure no one missed anything? We often do a combination of all of these things, but something we also sometimes find ourselves doing is sitting in the car, in the Holmes parking lot, discussing the main points of the meeting that we just came from.

It seems like as soon as we walk back through the Holmes office doors, we are already thinking of everything else we need to work on or finish up, and the ideas and client input that are fresh after the meetings quickly jump to the back burner. But once we noticed that we would instinctively stay in the car and chat, a continuation of the conversations from the drive home, we started making a point to pause in our little mobile conference rooms after a client meeting and discuss those main points.

It has been beneficial to our project management, especially when we are juggling several different client projects at once, to evaluate what additional information we may need and make a plan of next steps, all before our feet even hit the Holmes parking lot. We are always modifying our processes to make sure we can offer the most to our clients, and sometimes it’s the little things we stumble upon by accident that help us recognize where we might need more focus. I’m not necessarily recommending you gather your core group of decision makers and go sit in a car, especially this time of year! However, pay a little extra attention to your internal patterns and what forms of communication and collaboration you are more drawn to. You too might find yourself progressing your business in some new, unique and productive ways!

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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: ROOST Real Estate Co.

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Chris McAllister created ROOST Real Estate Co. as his platform for helping people get the most out of their real estate investments whether they are investors, owner occupants, or tenants. The company settled into the historic Bushnell Building in Springfield, Ohio and wanted the look and feel of their offices to reflect the forward thinking nature of their business. Holmes partnered with ROOST’s designer to provide them with high quality branded materials, and help them customize their office space.

McAllister shared his reasons for working with Holmes, saying, “We had brochures printed in the past with ThinkPatented. We wanted to work with a local company and our graphic designer recommended Holmes. Once we got going, we found out that Holmes could print and install our office graphics and environmental design elements too.”

We were excited to try some new materials and use our wide format printer to create unique pieces for ROOST. We presented ideas and quickly moved into the application process. “Holmes was very sensitive to our budget and helped us design a solution that is true to the brand but within our budget,” said McAllister. “The product is first class and the installation was flawless. The public has responded very favorably to the ROOST Real Estate Co. brand.”

McAllister went on to say,”We have already worked with Holmes to do branded coffee mugs, brochures, signage, large commercial for sale and lease signs, and they are printing our monthly mailings and postcards as well. They understand that we hope to grow and expand over time and are very supportive of our goals and more than willing to help. I see Holmes as a key long term partner over the next few years and beyond.” We feel the same about working with ROOST Real Estate Co. and look forward to future opportunities to partner with their team!

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Visit our Holmes Flickr page and see more examples of work we have done for ROOST Real Estate Co.

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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Bushnell Banquet Center

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The historic Bushnell Building in downtown Springfield, Ohio houses a wide variety of local businesses, as well as three large banquet rooms used for weddings and other celebrations. The Bushnell Banquet Center manages these venues, along with events held at the State Theater. Event Coordinator, Lisa Behr makes every effort to help create a dream experience for clients and guests, and she wanted the banquet marketing materials to convey that. She reached out to Holmes for help creating a new, streamlined packet of information that better represented the amenities and level of service provided by the Bushnell Banquet Center. “Our material was very dated and not professional,” explained Behr. “I felt that the customers who came to me needed to see that we are a professional and classy place to hold weddings.”

The creative team at Holmes evaluated the existing folder that held many different brochures, booklets, and business cards to see how it could be upgraded. We then proposed a simplified option that included a redesigned folder, business card, and wedding planning booklet, four new rack cards, and an event specific brochure. We had recently designed three pull-up display banners for the Bushnell Banquet Center to use at bridal expos and also in their facility. Behr felt that the design of the displays represented the venues well, and therefore some of those same elements were used on pieces in the new packet.

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WHAT???… A CAR CRASHED INTO OUR BUILDING??

You might have read about our building “incident” in the last blog post or heard about it on the news or our Facebook page. Here is the story, in greater detail, from owner Kevin Holmes’ perspective.

WHAT???…A CAR CRASHED INTO OUR BUILDING?? That’s what I heard last Tuesday at 2:00AM in the morning. I was awakened by my home phone and cell phone ringing off the hook. Immediately my heart started racing because I am imagining the worst. When your phone is ringing endlessly at 2:00 in the morning, you know it’s not good. I wanted to answer, but then again I didn’t; I knew what I would hear on the other end was not going to be good.  I answered the phone and was instantly relieved to hear that everyone was OK. Then it started to sink in. What???… A car crashed into our building?? I didn’t know how bad the damage was at that point, and on the way in to work my mind was moving into damage control thinking about what we would need to do in order to open for business.

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When I arrived, it was much worse than I imagined. Not only did the runaway car crash into our building, but it crashed into the worst spot imaginable…right where our electrical power comes into our business. Needless to say we were without power. No phones, no lights, no internet…nothing!

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Customer Service is About Custom Service

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At Holmes, we are lucky to get to work with clients in so many different industries. And in order to provide our clients with exceptional print and marketing solutions, we often have to learn about the many services they provide their clients.

One thing we continually notice is how so many businesses we work with take extra time and effort to provide a superior product or service. At so many client meetings, we have heard statements such as, “We make custom sizes for all of our customers’ products,” or “Those extra services are just included in what we do,” and “Our clients call and ask to talk to the person they have built a relationship with, who they already know will take care of them.” The above and beyond approach seems to be such a common trend with many area small businesses. They are people helping people, first and foremost.

From a marketing standpoint, it makes it very easy to become a cheerleader for our clients when we learn about how much they do and how much more they are willing to do for their customers. We know that those existing and new customers will be hooked once they do business with our clients and experience the service firsthand, but it is our job to get them to take the initial step toward building that business relationship. To accomplish this, we are often putting ourselves in the role of the customers, and doing that accurately is much easier when we reflect on times that WE have experienced excellent service. Continue reading

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GUEST BLOG – Rotary Club of Springfield Celebrates 100 Years

photo 2                        Guest Blog by Heather Leifheit – Holmes Marketing Consultant & Springfield Rotarian

On March 1st, 2014, the Rotary Club of Springfield, Ohio celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a Centennial Gala. As any well-planned event goes, the lights sparkled, the guests were dressed to the nines, and the food was amazing. Honored Guests included Rotary District Governor Mac Hickman, and State Representative & Springfield Rotarian Ross McGregor. However, there is more to this story than just one night, and much more depth and meaning beyond the good food and pretty clothes. The club’s motto is “Service Above Self,” and the evening was truly about celebrating all that Springfield Rotarians have done to embody that ideal.

In 1914, spearheaded by Harry Kissell, thirteen local businessmen established the Springfield Rotary Club, a men’s only, professional business club for networking and improving the community. In the early years of Rotary, The Club saw a need to serve crippled children, and in 1922 they hosted the first Christmas Party for crippled children. As the years have gone by, the focus on children still remains, as does the Christmas Party. Some things have evolved however, such as women club members and a service focus on children with disabilities. This past year the Rotary’s “Help Me Play Campaign” raised almost a half million dollars to build an inclusive playground so that children with disabilities have a place to play and be active. The Club also gives scholarships to students, grants to teachers, is active in the fight to end polio, and currently supports the Moteskuoa Orphanage, in Africa, giving them skills which will allow them to become self-sustaining. Continue reading

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