Posted & filed under Confab, Opinion.

Strong relationships are the antidotes to boring work.We’re lucky to have awesome clients who believe in us as much as we believe in them — and over time, we’ve learned that maintaining great relationships helps us as much as it helps our clients.

Cinder Wine ExplorationWe’ve learned tons about trust and creating great relationships over the years, but one of our longstanding clients schooled us early on about the importance of honesty and trust.

We met the folks from Cinder Wines way back when they were in the market for a new label, and immediately we clicked: Melanie Krauss and Joe Schnerr are super cool, amazingly talented, and came armed with a great business name and plenty of their own ideas. In short: Dream client. Also, Melanie and Joe’s project would be our first wine label — we wanted to knock it out of the park.

Cinder is named for some of the unique volcanic geology we have here in Idaho (it’s the magic dust that makes Cinder wines so damn good), and our first label was a take on the striation between the layers of soil. It was a cool label. Everyone was happy.

And yet.

Something really nagged us about it. It was good, sure, but was it great? We asked our clients to try an experiment to find out. The assignment was to take a mockup of the bottle with the new label and placed it on the shelf in the store.

(Cue the wha-whaaa sound effect here.)

It just didn’t stand out in the crowd. And a wine shelf is a very crowded crowd — so much so, in fact, that we decided that simpler would be better, more sophisticated, and more eye-catching in a sea of illustrated animals, big names, and bright colors.

So how do you tell a client that the label you created and sold to them isn’t going to work?

You be honest. Melanie and Joe trusted our judgment, but we had to deliver big if we were going to disrupt the whole process.

Cinder Wines

 

We started out simply, with just a sketch and a simple typeface. Instead of a traditional paper label, we opted for a silkscreen version (to our knowledge, one of the first silkscreened wine labels in Idaho) so the wine itself became the star.

Melanie and Joe loved it. By the time they were ready for a brand refresh, we had already built enough trust that they were ready to push us to be even more creative. We created graphic silkscreened labels that keep the simplicity of the original labels while adding visual elements that are even more striking and eye-catching. These labels are definitely not wallflowers, and yet they’re different enough that they don’t get lost.

Cinder Small Lot Series

We learned a lot during the process (and have gone on to do much more packaging work), but we had three key takeaways:

  • Make it right, even if it comes out of your own pocket.
  • Every client is a potential referral. Keep them happy.
  • Think about what you want written on your tombstone (and live it).

That last one may seem like a tall order, but it’s not: The way you treat clients says a lot about you as a person. If you build relationships on enthusiasm and respect, you’ll not only do better work — you’ll have a better business, better friendships, and sleep a lot better at night.

Posted & filed under Confab.

Lauryn Medeiros

We’ve been really fortunate here at Carew Co — since our founding, we’ve employed super smart, talented creative folks, and this month we’re happy to introduce our newest office mate.

Lauryn Medeiros is graduating soon from Boise State with a degree in graphic design, but she’s no stranger to the Treasure Valley. Originally from Mountain View, California (home of Google), Lauryn grew up visiting family friends in Kuna and earned a degree from the College of Idaho. She also studied illustration at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland and worked briefly as an art teacher back in the Golden State, but graphic design kept calling her name.

Lauryn first met Paul when he would speak to her classes. She was especially sold when he talked about Carew Co’s work with Cinder Wines and the development of the winery’s iconic bottle, so applying at Carew Co seemed like a good move — and we’re really glad she made it.

We love Lauryn’s work for its bright colors, fun and quirky takes on design, and her sense of whimsy. We immediately put her to work on Cinder (of course!), branding an upcoming event for Camp Rainbow Gold, and she’s even designing a few shirts for our sister company, Wear Boise.

Of course, you might also recognize Lauryn from her second life as a rock star — she plays in two local bands, Treefort Music Festival favorite Urquides and Kitchen Syncopation.

Stop by and say hi to our newest graphic designer! We’re excited she’s on board.

Posted & filed under Case Studies, Confab, New Work.

Idaho’s oldest continually operating architecture firm was in desperate need of a new look.

CSHQA, founded in 1889 by William Campbell (the “C” in CSHQA), is responsible for many of Idaho’s most iconic buildings. But its website was not living up to the firm’s stellar reputation and did not reflect the company’s nationwide growth and influence — it was 10 years old and dated.

Plus, it was difficult to update, not search friendly, and not mobile friendly,” says KK Lipsey, CSHQA’s business development director. “As a company, we were re-branding ourselves in our office space, our messaging, and our work. We needed a site that could support that vision and transformation.”

 

CSHQA

 

 

CSHQA formed a task force and tapped Carew Co for its website project. In Carew Co, CSHQA found another business that puts a lot of value in what clients have to say — and the architecture firm wanted to say a lot about their brand, their history, and their skills. The new website had to be completely searchable, mobile-friendly, adaptive, and easy for CSHQA staff to change and operate.

Natalie Cragin worked as Carew Co’s design lead. “Paul was really pushing us to innovate for this website design,” she says. “While looking through their office photos, I noticed they didn’t shy away from bold colors. I was very inspired by their use of different colored lights on the outside of their building and the colors painted inside on their walls. It made me very confident in my choice to make this website rather colorful and bold.

CSHQA.com

 

Natalie added many other details: The slash angle used on the site’s slider pages reflects the A in CSHQA’s logo, while stacked photos supplement hero images. She had to find a way to showcase CSHQA’s many specialties — the firm has six offices across the country and more than 100 talented employees — so she adopted a modular approach that gives each specialty its due.

Projects are also highly searchable: Look up an aviation project, for example, and the screen will populate with similar projects that might be of interest to the reader.

The search functions, whether looking for projects or people or media stories, and super fast and useful,” KK says. “When you click on a person to read their bio, you see an image of that person over a backdrop of the city where they work. This gives immediate identity to our staff, and a very real sense of national reach.

The response to the new website has been fantastic, KK says, and the SEO is already helping CSHQA’s searchability.

The process was amazing and hard work and so rewarding,” she says. “The end result kicks it up 10 notches from before.”

 View Website »

Posted & filed under Confab, News.

Glenna Rose Hanson

We’ve never had an intern before. Not that we have anything against them — honestly, it just never really occurred to us to hire one! Not until, that is, Glenna Rose Hanson called our office and said, “How about I be your guinea pig intern? It will be great!“ How could we pass up an offer like that?

Glenna has only been with us a week, but already we can tell that she is a super creative designer and illustrator. She came to this line of work by accident: She went to Northwest Nazarene University intending to get a degree in music and start a career in musical theater.

She hated it.

She was, however, a prolific doodler, and her little drawings in the margins of her assignments caught the eye of one of her professors who happened to teach art. He returned her assignment with a note:  “You should be a designer.”

She jumped into her new major based on that advice and has been exploring the world of art and design ever since. Glenna says her husband describes her style as “clean,” but Glenna hasn’t settled on a description yet — she’s still trying to absorb as much inspiration as she can.

Glenna has been thrilled with the variety of clients at Carew Co. On her first day, she worked on projects for a divorce lawyer and then switched to collateral for a beer client. “I want to learn what it’s like to work for a client rather than myself,” she says. “I want to experience what it’s like to work for real people.

Glenna and her husband live in Boise; he’s an electrical engineer at Micron and is building a full-scale BB8 for their upcoming trip to ComiCon in Salt Lake City. In their spare time, he and Glenna go to open houses and “pretend we can afford them” or have fierce board game battles — including over obscure games like “House on the Hill,” which she describes as “if Clue got into some hardcore drugs.

Glenna will be with us until April, so stop by and say hi! We’re excited to have her.

FAST FACTS ABOUT GLENNA

  • When I was 6 I had a cat named Rocketship. Some people think that’s weird, but I still think it was a good choice.”
  • Loves chai tea lattes.
  • Really enjoys designing for nurseries and creating kids’ clothes.
  • Likes to create little characters. “If I get those into my designs I’m really happy. My work has a lot of personality without being overwhelming.”

Posted & filed under Props.

Beau Van Greener

Our own graphic design wunderkind Beau Greener was featured recently in the Boise City Department of Arts & History’s “Creators, Makers, and Doers” blog series. Beau spends his off hours creating for a pretty specialized niche: designer toys. He takes existing action figures and sculpts on top of them, creating highly coveted, limited runs that he sells to fans around the country. It’s really cool work, and we’re glad the Department of Arts & History was able to recognize it.

Beau is relocating to Seattle, but we’re super excited that he’ll still be a part of the Carew Co collective. Learn more about Beau’s inspiration and process (and read his shout out to Carew Co — thanks, Beau!) here.

Posted & filed under Confab, Technology.

We’re big fans of “Whip/Nae Nae” around here (and not just because it’s an earworm). It’s because — crazy as it sounds — it had a big part in showing us the power of social media monitoring.

See, our clients aren’t new to social media. Nearly everyone has some presence these days, either on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or more. But how should our clients make the most of that presence? How can they convert all of those followers into evangelists — and sales? It’s no longer enough to just have the data. Without a great analytics tool, you can’t move your social strategy forward.

It wasn’t until we started using our own in-house social media monitoring tool that we began harnessing the power of our clients’ data. Our tool gives you a real-time window into how your brand experience is playing out among your audience. It’s kind of like having a private eye for your brand, one that can search through areas of the internet you didn’t even know your brand was frequenting.

Like Buzzfeed.

Real-Time Monitoring

We work with a university in Pennsylvania and use our tool to monitor mentions about the brand and capture alerts whenever there is a high amount of activity on the major social media sites or on blog posts. We’re alerted by email and text when there is a spike, and one Saturday we were tipped off because the university’s football team was in its third overtime and social media was blowing up with excitement over the game.

But the biggest spike came later, when the university president and the football team were captured doing the “Whip/Nae Nae” and the video hit the megasite Buzzfeed.com. Landing on Buzzfeed is a huge coup for any brand, and our insights were able to help the university make the most of the viral video.

That’s the genius of our monitoring tool. With it, we can respond quickly to real-time activity and measure whether what’s being said about the brand is positive, neutral, or negative. We can see what’s happening across industries, customers, competitors. When crises occur, we can respond from one central monitoring tool. And when there’s gold to be mind in your social world, we can mine it.

Like awesome opportunities.

dashboard

Mining for Goldtweet

On another occasion, we were monitoring a tourism account for a client when our tool picked up a mention by the singer Marc Anthony, who was performing a concert in the region. Marc had spent the day with elementary school students and tweeted about it; he’s not a follower of the tourism account we work on, but we did want access to his 8 million followers (8 million!). Our monitoring tool gave us the chance to gather that tidbit of information and interact with a massive social media presence.

But understanding and reporting these opportunities and spikes is only half the battle. Analytics are where our social media monitoring tool really shines.

 

Super Easy Analysis and Monitoring

Our reports are clean, easy-to-use, and insightful. You won’t have to spend one minute more than necessary generating reports. And you can cut back on your expenses — what if you didn’t have to devote time to keeping up spreadsheet analyses or use employee hours to track social media? With our monitoring tool, we’re able to reveal your data’s true value. We can tell you which products or services or ideas are resonating with your customers and where you might need to fine tune.

 

Having an online presence and harvesting tons of data is great, but your information will be wasted if you don’t put it to work for you. With accurate social media monitoring, you can customize your responses and make your social media strategy pop. You’ll save time, money, and focus your efforts on what’s really important — growing your brand.

Stream

 

Want to find out how our social media monitoring tool can give your brand a boost? Drop me a line at paul@carewco.net.

Posted & filed under Confab, New Work.

After 5+ years, we finally got around to redesigning our website.

This is definite cause for celebration around the Carew Co office, as our old site was in disarray for years. We have updated the site to share the latest and greatest of work, which you may now view in our Work section. We have finally taken our own medicine and launched a responsive version of our site. It’s been difficult to explain to our clients why our site isn’t responsive…the best explanation is simply, “You know, the cobbler’s shoes…” Read more »

Posted & filed under Boise, Community, Confab.

We are proud to help the Girl Scouts of Silver Sage with a new and improved web and mobile presence that serves 4,400 girls and 2,300 adult volunteers. Helping the organization to “empower and encourage girls to become the best version of themselves” is a cause we are excited to support.

Given that we’ve had the pleasure of working with Joanne Taylor in the past, we know she will be an excellent and supportive client. This past year, we partnered with Joanne and Melissa Cleland on an intense video project for the Children’s Home Society of Idaho titled, “Inside These Walls.” We interviewed a number of former residents of the Children’s Home and heard the stories of their past, celebrated their present, and planned for the future for the organization. The blood, sweat, and tears that went into this project were worth every minute of time and effort we put into it. When Joanne called with another opportunity, we jumped at the chance to put the team back together on a new project for a new organization.

Joanne shared, “It’s always fun and rewarding to work with Carew Co. As a team, you are involved and go to whatever lengths it takes to come up with a unique and intriguing concept. What’s more, you are so generous with you time, not only for Girl Scouts of Silver Sage, but for many other nonprofits in the Valley. Thank you for all the great work you do and for your unending support.”

We were able to match the organization’s budget in order to add many new features to the site. The new website will be a more valuable business and development tool for the organization, and offer a stronger online presence. We were also able to add a mobile version to the scope, as the website statistics show a large percentage of mobile users.

A huge thank you to our clients who have made this donation possible. We appreciate the support that our client give to us, so we may offer a little support for our community.

Happy Holidays!

Posted & filed under Boise, New Work, News, Show and Tell.

At Carew Co., we had been anxiously awaiting the chance to push this campaign further and knew this was our opportunity. We’ve had an amazing partnership with the marketing team for many years and enjoy any opportunity to “mind meld” with our friends at CWI. As an extension of the marketing team, we bring ideas to the table, consult on the campaign strategy, and get the tactics accomplished.

In late February, we attended an initial brainstorming session to discuss the future of the campaign and which steps to take to ensure a strong enrollment for Fall. As typical in any strategic planning session, we bring passion, ideas (both good and bad), and a collaborative spirit to the conference room. As last year’s campaign was highly successful, Paul knew that the bar needed to be raised. After discussing similar tactics as last year’s campaign, Paul can vividly remember saying to the group, “If we really want to get the attention of potential students, we should do a reality TV show!”

 

When we received approval on this project, Paul’s first thought was, “What the heck did I do…now we have to shoot a reality TV show!?” As is always the case, Jennifer had been doing some creative thinking of her own and suggested the campaign tagline of “College just got real.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves — and knew it was time to roll up our sleeves and get to work…

After receiving the green light, the first call we made was to filmmaker / actor / writer / comedian / documentarian Travis Swartz. We knew that the interviewer role was crucial in making this concept work. Not only does Travis possess the skill set, he has the personality to make the interview interesting, keep us on our toes, and help create interesting stories. We were also fortunate enough to add filmmaker / documentarian Gregory Bayne to the team, as well as Jake Hixon, our sound expert and additional shooter. We knew we needed talented partners to ensure the outcome would be a success for our client.

With a solid concept and crew in place, we needed students to feature in the series. Given that CWI has diverse programs and students, it made sense to do a casting call to identify the best stories to tell. We worked closely with CWI staff to ensure we had great students to feature. We invaded the lives of each student from first thing in the morning, to their classes, to their places of employment, and captured their entire day from start to finish. We chose five students with five unique stories to feature in the series.

Watch the first episode of “What If?” featuring Tyler Murphy, and stay tuned as more episodes roll out.

In addition to the reality TV series, we developed a campaign website at www.CollegeOfWhatIf.com as a landing page to view the episodes, get more information on the program, read student-submitted “What If?” statements, aggregate the college’s social media feeds, and offer a blog that features articles written by students and faculty. We also integrated a $1000 Scholarship contest on CWI’s Facebook page, as this was a successful tactic in last year’s campaign. The “College of What If” campaign is a great example of what we can accomplish on behalf of our clients.

Posted & filed under Boise, Community, Confab.

As an agency, we skip the elaborate holiday cards, tins of cookies, and gifts of fruitcake. We prefer to honor the strong client relationships we’ve built by giving back to our community and helping a non-profit organization. Every year since we opened our doors for business, we’ve awarded a $1,000 cash donation to a non-profit organization as a way to celebrate our good fortune and share it with others. We couldn’t do it without our clients who put their trust in us every day to meet their goals.

This year, we chose to make a contribution to Camp Rainbow Gold, which was established over 28 years ago. Camp Rainbow Gold is an oncology camp, a sibling camp, and a family camp for Idaho children diagnosed with cancer (and their families). All camps and year-round programming are provided entirely free of charge for every camper and his or her family. It’s easy to see why this is an important cause that we are proud to make a donation to on behalf of our clients.

Knowing a couple former campers, a few folks who have volunteered for camps, and the people who run the organization, I can confirm that this is a life-changing event for everyone involved. The number of stories I’ve heard and people I’ve met in recent months are impressive. Please join us in supporting Camp Rainbow Gold. Help Idaho children, their siblings, and families to take a much-needed break from the rigors of a cancer diagnosis. You can learn about ways the help Camp Rainbow Gold celebrate life here. Also, please give Camp Rainbow Gold a follow on Facebook to stay in the loop with the organization.

We are grateful to our clients for another amazing year and the luxury to give back to our community. Thank you!