Milpaws Tells Customers, “Don’t Ever Get Hosed By Your Hose”

The home page for Milpaws.com is direct and to the point.

The home page for Milpaws.com is direct and to the point.

I don’t often get excited by websites for hose, fittings and fluid conveyance systems.

But the new website for Milpaws (http://www.milpaws.com/) is a definite exception to the rule.

BloodLines Creative joined forces with E-Merge Interactive to design a whole new look for Milpaws – a supplier of hose, fittings and fluid conveyance systems here in St. Louis, Missouri. The photography is crisp and clean along with the design.

Navigation of the site is easy – and there’s going to be an e-commerce portion coming in the very near future which will make it easier than ever for customers to order the parts they need.

But that’s only part of the story. Milpaws is a company that is totally devoted to customer service and it’s their custom-made pipes, fittings and fluid conveyance systems that they’ve designed for a wide range of applications that enable them to stand out from the crowd.

They’re a no-nonsense company that tells it like it is. A faulty connection that breaks down can cost a manufacturer thousands of dollars – sometimes reaching into six figures – and bring an entire production line to a halt.

It’s imperative to work with a company that helps assure that every fitting and every custom-designed solution works on a day-in, day-out basis. And if something ever does go wrong, the supplier needs to be able to jump in and solve the problem immediately.

That’s Milpaws. And that’s why we came up with the simple theme of “Don’t Ever Get Hosed By Your Hose.” No, we’re not using it as a tag line. It’s more of a description of the way they do business.

The company’s DNA was forged as a commercial hose and fitting distributor in the St. Louis market over 40 years ago. Though Milpaws designs and fabricates fully-integrated Fuel and Potable Water fluid conveyance and dispensing systems for the US Military, their key focus has always been servicing contractors and contractor supply companies with both industrial and hydraulic hose and fittings to meet their needs on a moment’s notice. They know with Milpaws, they’re getting the best products, backed by the best service – no matter what the application – from industrial to environmental, manufacturing to utilities.

There are some very simple things about Milpaws.com that makes navigating the site just a little more interesting. The Products page features an accordion-style drop down menu – click on a specific category and it opens right up, only to get folded back into the menu when you’re done. The Applications page features a parallax means of navigation where one category naturally flows into the other.

We intend to make Milpaws.com a site worth visiting time and again for both customers and potential customers. The e-commerce portion of the site is currently being developed and that’s going to be a game-changer. We’ll also be regularly updating the “In The Flow” section with pertinent news a customer can use to help them with their business.

Overall, it’s a very cool site in what was once a very boring category. Not anymore.

BloodLines Creative provides advertising and marketing communications support to a variety of consumer, B2B, non-profit and government-related clients. No project is too big, no budget is too small. If you’re looking for big idea thinking, you’ve come to the right place.

Working partnerships – Part III – E-Merge Interactive

I’ve been working with the fine folks at E-Merge Interactive (http://www.connectwithemerge.com/) long before they were known as E-Merge Interactive.

Barry Lee, David Smith and Kerry Brown are pretty much the brain trust behind E-Merge Interactive and I have worked with all three of these individuals for more than 25 years. I used to do quite a bit of video and audio production at Smith-Lee for a variety of clients. Dave’s wife, Sandy, is an amazing composer and gifted musician who I worked with to create award-winning commercials and videos back in the day.

But times changed and though Smith-Lee still does an impressive array of audio work, they shifted their focus more to the interactive world and formed a separate company,
E-merge Interactive, providing a full range of interactive services, primarily for B2B clients.

One of those clients is Byrne & Jones Construction. (http://www.byrneandjones.com/)

A partial look at the home page of Byrne & Jones Construction.

A partial look at the home page of Byrne & Jones Construction.

When we first began working with Byrne & Jones, their website was, to put it politely, a work in progress. Many of the sub-pages were incomplete. The home page featured rotating imagery but it didn’t really focus on key benefits of what the company provided.

And Byrne & Jones provides a lot. They’re the largest asphalt provider in the St. Louis metro area. Their sports division is one of the largest builders of tracks and athletic fields in the Midwest. They have a booming micro surfacing division, as well as perform concrete and soil stabilization work. In the past year, they also bought a company called Midwest Foundation that does marine work on rivers and lakes throughout the Midwest. (http://midwestfoundation.com/)

We recently launched a newly updated website for Midwest Foundation, a Byrne & Jones Company.

We recently launched a newly updated website for Midwest Foundation, a Byrne & Jones Company.

Over a period of time, we completely overhauled the website and began doing SEO work as well, partnering with Romondo Davis of Davis Interactive for his expertise in all aspects of social media. The Byrne & Jones blog, that hadn’t had any new posts for quite some time began getting regular entries which we pushed out via social media to help drive more traffic to the site.

Thought leadership articles and profiles of projects are now regularly posted via the Byrne & Jones blog.

Thought leadership articles and profiles of projects are now regularly posted via the Byrne & Jones blog.

Numbers have been trending upward and the growth of Byrne & Jones continues to be on the rise as well. They are a well-managed, well-run company that needed their website and social media to catch up in order to better tell their story.

Byrne & Jones is just one of the clients that I have partnered with E-Merge Interactive to help provide marketing communications. We’re in the process of launching a new website for another B2B client and there are more projects in the works. It’s been a good blend of their interactive capabilities and my branding and writing expertise.

There’s always room for more.

The business model for BloodLines Creative is fairly flexible. I work directly for clients. I also work with agencies to help with their client needs in times of overflow or for select projects. I work with in-house agencies, helping to write or produce videos. And I partner with other designers, social media providers or production companies to assist their client needs. It all results in an ever-changing, always interesting flow of assignments. I am honored to be a part of each and every one. Now, what can I do for you?

Working partnerships – Part II – The Epstein Group

I didn’t know Alan Epstein when he was Partner of Adamson Advertising. But I did meet him back in the early days of BloodLines Creative. Alan enlisted my help, along with E-merge Interactive, to create a campaign for Maryville University – and that began a working relationship that continues to this day.

Over the past year, we have partnered together on a variety of new business pursuits and, once again working with E-merge Interactive, did some significant branding work on behalf of J.F. Electric – a large, family-owned electrical contractor located in Edwardsville, Illinois.

The work done for J.F. Electric began before I got on board. Alan had helped conduct a market research strategy that identified key strengths of the company as well as a few areas in definite need of improvement. On the plus side, the company was known for their customer service and how hard they worked to find solutions to their customers electrical needs, often delivering innovative solutions that saved time, money or oftentimes, both.

But the J.F. Electric brand seemed dated. Their website had been launched quite a few years ago and was never actually fully completed and the info on the site was rather nondescript. They had a theme line but it was so generic I can’t really remember what it was. The J.F. Electric logo needed a refresh as well.

So we went to work. With a focused creative strategy in hand, we continued the branding process, beginning with the development of a new theme line as well as creating a new logo that wouldn’t depart too far from their scripted logo treatment to a bolder, more contemporary looking version.

The script format seemed dated and some people mistook the 'F' for a 'T'.

The script format seemed dated and some people mistook the ‘F’ for a ‘T’.

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The new J.F. Electric maintained the bright red and the italic flex of the font was similar to the scripted version but  was also easier to read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, we focused on the theme line. When it came time to present, we had three options, all of which we liked but after the meeting, we knew we had landed on a version that made perfect sense for the company – “Creating connections. Delivering value.”

They were in the business of creating connections – both electrical and on a personal level, too. Delivering value spoke to the added value aspect that stood out with so many of the customers that had been interviewed.

Once the new logo and theme line had been approved, we developed an overall collateral look, giving them new business cards, letterhead, powerpoint templates and how the logo and tag line would look on their new website – which was also underway.

With a company like J.F. Electric, oftentimes their best form of advertising is found on the sides and backs of their vehicle fleet. So we designed vehicle graphics for pickup trucks, bucket trucks, digger derricks, vans and trailers.

J.F. Electric's fleet turns into rolling advertisements for the company.

J.F. Electric’s fleet turns into rolling advertisements for the company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, work continued on the J.F. Electric website. We wanted to effectively capture the work they do in four different categories: Utilities/Commercial/Industrial and Telecom. We wanted case histories in each category and wanted to be able to tell the full story of J.F. Electric – a company whose roots go back to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

It took a while – but in the end, both client, customers and the web team that helped develop it were all happy: http://www.jfelectric.com/

Screenshot 2017-08-14 14.23.10-1

A portion of the parallax formatted home page of the J.F. Electric website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
On the J.F. Electric website you can view the history video that we created: http://www.jfelectric.com/About/History

In addition to the website work, we created an extensive Brand Standards guide that can be used internally and by vendors to assure that the J.F. Electric brand is consistently delivered across all media and platforms. We also created a new employee video and helped with the development of trade show materials.

All in all, the newly refreshed J.F. Electric brand is getting noticed, remembered more and business continues to grow. And that’s what it’s all about.

J.F. Electric has been an excellent client to work for and there’s more to come as Alan and I both continue to partner together to help collectively solve our client’s marketing challenges.

The business model for BloodLines Creative is fairly flexible. I work directly for clients. I also work with agencies to help with their client needs in times of overflow or for select projects. I work with in-house agencies, helping to write or produce videos. And I partner with other designers, social media providers or production companies to assist their client needs. It all results in an ever-changing, always interesting flow of assignments. I am honored to be a part of each and every one. Now, what can I do for you?

In praise of Constant Contact

I recently began email marketing BloodLines Creative on a limited basis via Constant Contact.

I know that if I really want to gain more exposure for the range of advertising and marketing communications services that BloodLines Creative can deliver, I need to push that message out to a larger audience.

I’ve had great success with a very targeted mailing piece featuring a bright red envelope with the message, “Careful. This package contains Blood samples.” Inside is a mini-portfolio/case history of some of the work I’ve done along with a customized letter in which I request a meeting to discuss the marketing or advertising challenges the recipient may be facing and how I can help.

But if I really want to grow my business, I need to expand beyond single mailing pieces and email marketing makes great sense. I get spammed all the time with emails and I know that my email messaging may just be adding to the pile so I’m trying to keep the messaging interesting, a bit playful and at least ask the recipient to learn a little more about me with links to my website, to the work featured in the email, this blog and my LinkedIn and twitter accounts. Here’s the most recent email I sent out a few days ago. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Looking-for-better-results-with-your-communications-.html?soid=1112085120362&aid=9HTQXf7UFBs

I did all this with the help of Ed Madden and Barry Lee at E-Merge Interactive. (http://www.e-mergeinteractive.com) I can’t say enough about how much they have helped me on my interactive journeys. They were the ones who recommended I try Constant Contact so I did and set up a 60-day trial basis.

My original email list had about 250 names but the 60-day trial only lets you send out to 100 contacts. That’s okay. I figured if I didn’t get any angry rebukes or messages back, that I could move forward with the broader list once I actually became a subscriber.

What I didn’t expect was the personal attention that Constant Contact has lavished upon me from the moment I signed up.

A day after I signed up for the trial run, a customer rep called me and introduced herself. Her name is Karen Bennett. She lives in Colorado but was raised in England and her accent made her a bit difficult to understand at first. Karen told me she was here to help and answer any of my questions and blah, blah, blah. I largely ignored her first initial call. But then she called again, wondering why I hadn’t sent any emails yet and could she help me in any way to get things going. I assured her the problems were all on my end as I was trying to reduce the number of contacts and get things worked out with all the links.

So we sent the first email to my 100 contacts and it was opened by 42 of them and we had 15 click throughs on the links which is a very good number and only one person opted out.

That seemed pretty good to me so we sent out a second one this week and though the amount of people who opened went slightly down as well as the click throughs, they’re still good numbers and I can also see who opened the first and the second and maybe, just maybe, they might think of BloodLines Creative as a strong source of creative support for their particular needs.

Then Karen called me again. That was three calls from Constant Contact asking if they could help. This time, I was all ears. Karen told me about how I could link the emails to my Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter accounts. I didn’t know that I could but I did and suddenly, that email had a lot more exposure.

She also told me how I could create my own QR code to put on all those accounts that would take them to my Constant Contact emails and how I could create follow buttons as well. All things I still need to do – but all things I didn’t know I could do until Karen told me so.

This is what customer service is all about.

This is how you get customers who aren’t even paying customers yet to blog about what a great job the company is by having service reps who really want to help their customers grow.

They know that if their customers experience success, they’ll grow right along with them.

Same premise as what I’m doing.

I’m ready to grow. And I’m ready to help.

What can I do for you?

 

 

 

 

Happy Anniversary, BloodLines Creative

BloodLines Creative was founded on 11/11/11.

Now that one year has come and gone, I’m taking a few moments to look back but also look forward – I see tremendous potential ahead of me and I’m eager to embark on my second year of providing big idea thinking to the clients I serve.

I’ve been fortunate to work with some really good people who trusted me to deliver work that stood out, got noticed and got results.

I’d like to salute and thank SchoolReach, Sun Rental, Webster University, Anheuser-Busch Employees’ Credit Union and Motorola Solutions for taking that flying leap of faith and working with me on a wide variety of projects. I’m looking forward to delivering more results-producing creative in the coming year.

I’d also like to thank Bob Cox, Kristin Genovese, Lisa Moeller and everyone at E-Merge Interactive and Smith/Lee Productions who all worked with me as partners in helping me get my business off the ground.

And yes, it is off the ground though it seems that I continue to fly right along the tree line, occasionally clipping a branch or two. That’s okay. It keeps things interesting.

I still have a lot to learn. I still have so much to do.

I wish I could personally thank all the readers of this blog as well. It’s had more than 12,000 views since last December.

One of my goals for this coming year is to build my email subscriber base and to do that, I know I need to be more insightful and thought-provoking. If you’ve read more than four or five of my posts over the past year, why not give me a shot by clicking that box to the right of these ramblings that says ‘Follow Blog Via Email’?

I promise, I’ll make it worth your while. If, by chance, your business, group or non-profit organization is in need of any type of communications – from a matchbook cover to a fully-integrated advertising and marketing communications campaign, this operator is standing by and ready to answer your call. If you’ve never visited my website, now would be a great time to do so. www.bloodlinescreative.com

Thanks, enjoy the free cake in the kitchen area of our world headquarters and Year Two, here we go!

 

My award-winning blog

Last week I found out that the very blog you’re reading right now is a finalist in this year’s St. Louis Business Marketing Association’s TAM Awards (Targeted Advertising/Marketing).

It was entered in the digital category under blogs. Entry requirements said the blog didn’t necessarily have to be business-related and I thought this one certainly qualified for that.

So it’s a finalist. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, September 25 in the Starlight Room at the Chase Park Plaza.

Considering the fact that I just became a blogger this past November, I’m rather pleased that it’s being recognized. The overall look of the page is nicely designed and for that, I thank Ed Madden and Barry Lee at E-merge Interactive. It also ties very nicely into the overall look of my website, also designed by the good folks at E-merge Interactive.

Regular readers of the blog know that very seldom are there links to other sites or embedded videos and most times, there aren’t any pictures, either. It’s just a bunch of words.

A few weeks ago, I passed 10,000 views overall. Somehow, someway, in the past nine months or so, 10,000 people were kind enough to click on the link via Facebook or twitter or Stumbled Upon or Digg and read what I’ve had to say. A very select group actually get my blog delivered via email every time I post. I thank each and every one of you for that.

I hope that from time to time, I can make you think or smile or write about something that you can identify with (like ending your sentences with a preposition).

I certainly don’t write this blog to win awards. I write it because I love to write.

And sometimes, I actually have a thought or two worth reading.

This may not be one of those occasions.

But thanks for reading anyway!

Out with a virus

I posted on Monday and the world was fine.

But then I got a message saying that my website had been infected with a virus and there was Malware on it.

Who would do this to me? There is no e-commerce that takes place on my site. There are no credit cards being used. I was in the midst of my third of nine installments on “How to become more creative” and several people have expressed interest in these so I made the post available on a few LinkedIn groups and on Reddit and Stumble Upon. I was quickly informed that no one could open the post because they had to go through my website to open it.

Curses!

Yesterday, I tried to open my wordpress site and lo and behold, it too, had been attacked. Why?

There is nothing on here worthy of attack. I personally don’t understand how these internet viruses work and I don’t know who is at work going around doing the infecting.

I have enough problems trying to get business and having my website and blog down due to an unwarranted attack from who knows where or whom is irritating beyond belief.

My friends at E-merge Interactive tell me that all is well again.

Hopefully, it will stay that way. Because it literally made me sick to get a virus and I’m still getting over it.

Hackers not welcome here!

Mad props to E-merge Interactive

My bloodlines creative website (www.bloodlinescreative.com) went live about two weekends ago. It took longer than I expected – than again, this is a rather work-filled website so it’s quite heavy on content and putting all that content into place takes time. I’m sure it also took a good deal of patience. So I want to thank everyone at E-merge Interactive for working with me. Ed Madden was my key point of contact. He took some initial designs I presented him with and plussed the home page, bringing my tag line of “Big Ideas Start Here” to life. Barry Lee oversaw the programming and I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know the last name of Shaun, the main man who did all the programming – but he was awesome, particularly the one afternoon where we sat down side by side and fine-tuned one page and one set of samples at a time.

There’s a lot of work still ahead of me building up the content and look of all my links and there’s a lot of work I wish I had featured – particularly many of the radio and TV commercials I did in my distant past. The Pasta House Company commercial with the spinning statue of David and the fake Jack Nicholson voiceover has always been one of my favorites – but I don’t have it anymore. There were several commercials for Mark Twain Banks that I’d love to have on there – one where we crushed a toaster, talking about how they don’t do free gifts. Another series that was all type and flashes of color set to jazz music scored by Jay Oliver who now plays in Jimmy Buffett’s band that helped sell a boatload of annuities. I could lament some of the missing radio spots as well. The fact is, I don’t get to do hardly any radio and TV spots anymore and that has always disappointed me. I consider myself somewhat of a master of the low budget, big idea spot. Very rarely in my career did I ever have what would be considered lucrative budgets to work with. Small to even smaller was always the order of the day. So if anyone out there is looking for some big ideas for their radio or TV efforts – you know where to find me.

And for those of you who aren’t all that familiar with my work, now it’s a whole lot easier to see at least a representative sampling of what I’ve done and hopefully, give you some kind of idea of what I could possibly do for you. The site also contains a sampling of a few of the paintings I’ve done in the Tom’s gallery section. I’ve had a total of three fine art gallery showings in my past and also had many of my works on display at several different restaurants. What was once my painting room is now my office and there’s simply no place in our household right now for me to resume that hobby which also became a passion. But I do encourage you to check it out.

If you visit the site, I thank you. And if you’re a company or an individual that is looking for solutions, not just tactics with your e-marketing, I suggest you contact E-merge Interactive at www.connectwithemerge.com or just pick up the phone, call 647-3900 and ask for Kerry Brown.

They helped me out tremendously with my site and I’m letting people know that. After all, one good turn deserves another.