Blog, business

Why Marketing?

You have a product, a service, a cause. You need to make sure the world knows about it. You also need to make sure that the world knows about it in the way you want them to.

[box]You want the public to understand that yours are the best, not someone else’s. That’s the power of marketing.[/box]

Someone mentions your company, and that becomes an opportunity to promote the business…and hopefully make a sale.

A marketing strategy is the set of guiding principles that help you make decisions about how to talk to customers (and potential customers), and how to leverage that communication for the most sales.

How do we do this?

First, we must know and understand your customer. Experience, constant communication, and feedback are vital. If we don’t know who we’re marketing to, there’s a good chance there won’t be traction when the customer sees or hears something about your organization.

Next, once we know the customer we can tailor a marketing plan that fits your target, as well as your budget. Why? Again, the more you can craft the message (or brand) of your company, the more you are “in the driver’s seat” of determining sales volume and return customers.

[box]A marketing plan is a set of actions, based on research and budget, that will bring about the most sales for your organization.[/box]

That sounds crass, right? But see — it’s not exactly…because the best customer is one who is going to develop a relationship with your brand, and come back again and again. Your customers have a whole internet-worth of data with which to make a purchasing decision. You need to do your homework so that you know what they are comparing, what features or perks are going to make a sale, and what messages resonate with your potential customer. A long-term relationship with a customer involves not just one sale…but a strategic marketing plan that cements your relationship with your customer.

At Hearken Creative, we have over 20 years of working with clients to determine the best marketing for every job. We’ll even tell you to go elsewhere if we have a company that we think will do a better job of getting a specific customer for you. We have experience in print, web, e-mail, radio, and video. We started — as everyone did — with “outbound marketing” (ads, flyers, brochures) but we also have a ton of experience with “inbound marketing” (content on YouTube, your website, etc.) that draws the customer to you.

Give us a call and see how we can help you create your own marketing strategy, and generate success for your organization.

Blog, business, film/video, graphic design, photography, portfolio, post production for film and video

New indie movie released with HCS support

I did mention that we do movies, right? Hearken Creative supported the release of Hano! A Century In The Bleachers on so many different levels:

  • Loren A. Roberts shot some of the interviews for the film
  • HCS designed the e-commerce website for the film
  • HCS designed the DVD packaging and marketing graphics
  • Loren A. Roberts shot the “hero” studio photography for the film’s key art

HanoDoc-DVD-hero-box-final-733x1000When coming to Hearken Creative, director Jon Leonoudakis knew the breadth of skills that were available from us: Jon has collaborated with us on two previous film projects — Not Exactly Cooperstown (camera) and The Day the World Series Stopped (camera, packaging, website). Jon’s passion for baseball is infectious, and we have found ourselves with a new respect for the game — even hitting up some major and minor league games recently! Jon’s professionalism and passion has paid off: both previous films have been recognized worldwide in film festivals (and Not Exactly Cooperstown has even been screened at the Baseball Hall of Fame).

We love working on projects like this: where quality and passion come together to make something truly unique. We congratulate Jon on his newest release, and look forward to the next project that we get to work on with him!

Blog, business, graphic design, photography

New Photography Portfolio Page!

We’re slow to toot our own horn around here, mostly because we’re so busy with current projects. But I wanted to mention a new portfolio page on the site, even though we have been doing this for years: PHOTOGRAPHY.

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We create iconic shots for our clients all the time. For instance, the image above is from Shakedown Mambo‘s CD packaging, which we designed (we also did their website!). The photo captures the energy of a recording session in progress perfectly, and feels like one of the iconic photos of 1970s jazz or rock bands.

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We have also created one-of-a-kind architectural shots, like this one of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. Multiple photographs from all hours of the day and night were composited to create this other-worldly image of their building. It’s a stunning image.

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Event photography? Yes. Production shots for shows? Yes. Portraiture? Yes. Product photography? Of course. Check it all out on the photography portfolio pages. We will continue adding more photos to keep it fresh!

Blog, business, photography, portfolio, sound

Event Support for Successful Fundraiser

Hearken Creative provided lights, sound, and video support for the Children’s Advocacy Center’s first ever (and hopefully annual) fundraising gala on the gorgeous grounds of the Masonic Home in Covina, California on October 12, 2014.

We worked with the organization, as well as rental companies, the featured band, and on-site personnel to make sure that everything ran smoothly — from power concerns, to the ability to hobnob over the live music, to making every word intelligible — from honorees and speakers. We received numerous accolades from event planners and the 200+ attendees, stating that this was the smoothest and best-sounding event they had attended.

Photos from the event are below. The young (but very good) band “Them Kool Kats” [ http://www.themkoolkats.com/ ] was the featured entertainment. Hearken Creative provided them with onstage monitors so they could hear everything, and they had a great time working the crowd.

CAC Event 2014 - crowd and silent auction items

CAC Event 2014 - Them Kool Kats performing

CAC Event 2014 - Them Kool Kats performing

CAC Event 2014 - Them Kool Kats performing

CAC Event 2014 - Them Kool Kats performing

CAC Event 2014 - Them Kool Kats performing

CAC Event 2014 - crowd seated for dinner

CAC Event 2014 - Them Kool Kats performing

It’s remarkable what Hearken Creative can accomplish — from branding, to websites, to video, to event support (sound and lighting). Why don’t you give us a call for your next project and see how Hearken Creative can help you?

Blog, business, film/video, Pasadena and local, portfolio, post production for film and video, sound

Special event film released by the Pasadena Public Library

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In July Hearken Creative was asked to film a very special event for the Baseball Reliquary at the Pasadena Public Library. Assisted on second camera by Jordan McMahon, we filmed the 2+ hour event, and edited the piece for posting to the Pasadena Public Library’s website.

Most important for this event was capturing perfect audio or each of the speakers. Some of them are elderly, and we needed to be able to understand every word that was said. A combination of HCS’s own microphones on the podium ensured that we would get perfect audio from every distinguished speaker, including members of the Jackie and Mack Robinson family (who were there to accept on behalf of Rachel Robinson for her induction into the Reliquary’s “Shrine of the Eternals”).

We had a great time, met some fun people, and turned this into a living document that will be used by the Reliquary for years to come.

Blog, business, film/video, Pasadena and local, post production for film and video, sound

Fantastic Gala film produced by Hearken Creative

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 4.24.00 PMBACKSTORY

A while back, Christopher Min and I were asked to create a 10-year anniversary film for The Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary. The film was to be shown at a gala reception honoring the founding donors for the Center, Bill & Dee Brehm. We wanted to show the rich diversity of graduates the program was raising over the course of the first decade.

Chris directed, and Loren Roberts/Hearken Creative provided all the equipment, shooting expertise, and editing for the final video.

SUCCESS STORY

The result was a smashing success at the event — one attendee said it was a “moving tribute” to the Brehms and the Center. The only issue we had was cutting down the incredible footage we got with the graduates. I think our first edit clocked in at almost 16 minutes; the final edit is a still-long (but beautiful) nine minutes.

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?

We have done this kind of work for non-profit and for-profit companies time and again. How can we help your organization?

Blog, business, film/video, portfolio, post production for film and video, sound

FASGI event complete success

Do you want an event that is amazing? Hearken Creative can help, much like we did last night. Loren A. Roberts/HearkenCreative worked with the board of FASGI (Filipino American Service Group Inc.) to stage an incredibly fun event at SPIN L.A. (in the Standard Hotel) on May 6, 2014.

First (months ago), Hearken Creative worked with FASGI on social media, creating “save-the-date” images that got people interested in the event.

Next, we extended the same branding through invitations, flyers, and additional social media pushes.

At the event, HCS handled the printed programs, which continued to extend the exciting “party” brand that we had created.

Finally — through our partnership with Visions Lighting and our own expertise in event A/V — Hearken Creative handled sound, lights and video for three separate rooms in the venue, including providing sound reinforcement for hired musicians throughout the evening. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti was honored along with Lou Diamond Phillips and several other community leaders, with Filipina community star Yong Chavez as the emcee for the evening. The party was hopping all night, FASGI had standing-room-only attendance, and the event was a complete success — both as a fundraiser and as an opportunity to extend the FASGI name throughout the community.

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Blog, business, film/video, Pasadena and local, portfolio, post production for film and video, sound

New Client, New Video, Incredible Story

Villa Esperanza is a ground-breaking school here in Pasadena, CA that serves kids and adults with developmental disabilities. The staff is amazing, the results are astounding, and we got to tell one small story recently. Take a look:

The school has launched a capital campaign that will build a new school facility for the numerous programs that they run, and this video was produced in concert with the campaign launch. We hope that the video will help them raise the money needed to build the new school.

As always, we were able to assemble a team of incredible people to bring this video to completion. HCS principal Loren A. Roberts produced, directed, and filmed (a little) and did sound. Greg King filmed/directed and edited. Roberto San Luis brought HCS and Villa together, and provided the concept and script for the video. On The Mark Rentals provided some gear that HCS didn’t already have. Vanessa Voors and Michelle Cox at Villa Esperanza were instrumental in making the production run smoothly. Most importantly, Jamie and his father were patient, enthusiastic cheerleaders for Villa — we couldn’t have made this video without them and the wonderful faculty at Villa.

Can we do this for you? Get in touch with Hearken Creative if you have a story you need told on film — or through e-mail, or on paper, on a website — whatever the project, we have a solution that will make you look great.

Blog, business, film/video, graphic design, photography, post production for film and video, sound

Welcome to 2014.

Well, we’re legal. Or, of legal age. Or will be really soon…my business will be drinking age in the state of California this year!

Hearken Creative Services turns 21 this year. I don’t know what significance that holds, except that we’ve been working with some truly wonderful vendors and clients for a very long time.

Let me tell you a few things that I have observed over the years.

First, whether it be print or web or video or skywriting, story is essential. And not just any story, but a story that invites you in to partake in the story. Here’s an example:

Cecilia has been working to learn English and support her family at the same time. She now has a good enough grasp of the English language — through the help of “Charity X” — that she has enrolled in college to get her law degree. But she needs your help to finish this wonderful task: Cecilia will spend an hour volunteering in your community for every dollar raised towards her college education — giving back through her education in response to your giving.

Or here’s another one, for a pharmaceutical company:

Phil has spent his entire adult life researching Type Two Diabetes, because it has claimed so many lives in his extended family. Finally, after years of dead ends, Phil’s partnership with “ABC Pharmaceutical” has paid off, and they have received approval for a revolutionary treatment that will change the lives of millions of people living with Type Two Diabetes. There is nothing so rewarding as finding a solution to a problem that plagues so many people — and Phil wants to share it with you.

Story changes everything. It makes you — the reader — interact with the product/service/philanthropic cause in a way you never would if it weren’t for story. Remember the Axe deodorant commercials from a few years ago? Whether or not you liked them, you can’t argue with the power or the “stickiness” of the story: put Axe on, and the girls go wild over you. You remember that meme, and therefore remember the brand.

Second: you get what you pay for. Nothing worthwhile is ever free.

I remember a tradeshow that one of my clients went to — this was some time ago — and they wanted to cut corners significantly. So, instead of printing up brochures, catalogs, posters, and ads, they asked me to create “masters” of a few flyers that they could print up themselves on colored copy paper, using the company copy machine. I understand that there is a time and place for cheap flyers, but this was not the time or place. The event tanked for them, and they lost money and credibility within that community.

You want video? It will cost. But why would you not pay for good quality video? At this point, YouTube ensures that any well-produced video you create could potentially still be working for you in 3, 4, 5 or more years. What brochure could do that for you?

You want to send an e-mail blast? Like those tradeshow flyers, you could throw together a cheap, poorly-designed e-mail, but why? This could potentially be the sales tool that convinces someone to buy, so why try to cut corners? And here’s something more: YouTube was going to give you returns beyond the initial cost over time; a well-designed e-mail could be sent to double or triple the number of people on your list — you just have to find those people!

Finally (at least for today): Experience counts. Twenty years ago, I was a good designer. Today I am a fantastic art director, brand consultant, and project manager. Fifteen years ago I was a good audio mixer. Today, I have the experience to produce, direct, and monetize corporate audio and video for my clients. That doesn’t mean I don’t like working with younger talent, but it does mean that I understand the value of experience. It also means I love partnering with people who are even more experienced than I am. Right now I’m working on a video project and, because of my schedule and experience, I felt that it would be a good idea to bring another director/editor to work with me. He brings a set of skills that are a little different from mine, and I value the opportunity to learn from him. And, the client gets an even better product!

I truly don’t know everything; (hopefully) I’m learning new things every day. But it is gratifying to see this little freelance company that I started — after getting laid off from the entertainment industry in 1993 — chugging along 21 years later, helping people through design, marketing, brand management, and video marketing.

Happy New Year. May your story be told, spend your money wisely, and may you have ever-greater experiences to bank on in the new year.