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From agency highlights to advertising insights, our blog is designed to keep you posted on what’s happening around here, and spark ideas to help you reach the next level in your marketing, business, and brain. This is where lightbulbs go off.

Flying High by Winning at The Rockies

Flying High by Winning at The Rockies

The Rockies—Idaho’s annual advertising awards ceremony—always make you want to crank up that DJ Khaled song. “All I do is win, win, win.” (Repeat “win” 8 times, in CLM’s case.)

Put your hands in the air, and call us the jet set. This year, we were flying high at a 1960’s airline travel-themed party pulled straight out of the stewardess-y parts of Mad Men. Backed by a legit private jet in the Jackson Jet Center, we won five silver awards and three citations for our work over the past year.

Here’s a rundown of our award winners:

Our tongue-in-cheek Western Idaho Fair campaign won three silvers: one for the animated TV spot, one for the full radio campaign, and one for our social media initiatives. This engaging illustrated campaign took eight Fair characters we invented (think: a thrill-ride-seeking chicken named Ferris Fowler, a drama-loving llama named Shana Llama Ding-Dong, and a just-moved-here-from-California bull named Bo Vine) and matched them on a meet-up app. Fun and chats ensued. We also picked up a citation for the character trading cards we passed around at the Fair.

We won a silver for a photo collage for the Intermountain Hospital. I loved driving by this billboard when out on the town. I found it enchanting—the way the dreamed-for life came through in vivid color in the black-and-white face of someone suffering from addiction. It’s simple and beautiful. And a total winner, obvi.

An eye-catching D&B brand book won a silver too.

Our new website for Big Creek Lodge snagged a citation. We developed a new logo, and did all the writing and programming for this backcountry luxe destination.

And last but not lame, our “extra sauce” videos for Pioneer Federal Credit Union received a citation too. I loved writing and producing these videos, which we filmed quick as a wink in some stolen moments of our commercial shoots. When you get to reference The Notorious B.I.G. in a script for a bank, you know you’re in the right career field.

Judging by our work so far, we’re in it to win it in 2019 too.

Jessica Holmes | May 10, 2019

Oblique Strategies for Idea Creation

Oblique Strategies for Idea Creation

What do you do when you’re in the midst of creating something or trying to build something new and the ideation process stops or abruptly stalls out? Suddenly your brilliant idea doesn’t have the freshness that you originally planned, or everything about the idea seems flat and similar to what somebody else already did. “Panic!” “Copy someone else!” “Start completely over!” These typical reactions aren’t always the best ways out of this situation.

One of my favorite creatives, musician Brian Eno, and his art school painter friend Peter Schmidt, created card decks called Oblique Strategies to help keep the good thinking juices flowing. They are designed to help break creative blocks by encouraging lateral thinking. They sold small quantities of these decks in the 70s and went on to re-release them over the years following. They were hard to find and waiting for a collector to post a deck on Ebay was the only way to acquire one. This eventually convinced Mr. Eno to mass produce card decks and sell them on his own website.

I just ordered a deck for myself after watching a documentary about Brian Eno. If you don’t know who Brian Eno is, you surely know many artists that he worked with—Roxy Music, David Bowie, David Byrne, Paul Simon, and Grace Jones to name a few. Many other artists were later inspired by Eno such as Coldplay, Phoenix, and MGMT. His card decks were originally used by musicians to inspire song and lyric writing, music making, and even sound production and engineering.

It’s an interesting strategy to randomly pick a card out of a deck to shift thought laterally and stimulate a newer, unthought of idea. As CLM continues our focus on challenger companies for our upcoming Dog Eat Hog speaker series, the real-world impact of looking at a situation from a different angle really hits home. Oblique strategies yield out-of-the-box thinking to create disruptor brands in crowded marketplaces, and disruptor marketing that stands out too.

Examples of the cards:

Some cards evolved from observing underlying principles: “Not building a wall; making a brick.” “What to increase? What to reduce?”

Some cards recognize in retrospect: “Look closely at the most embarrassing detail and amplify.” “Honor thy error as a hidden intention.”

Many cards were simply formulated: “Work at a different speed.” “Try faking it.” “What would your closest friend do?”

Don Gura | May 3, 2019

4 Components of an Effective Landing Page

4 Components of an Effective Landing Page

Digital advertising has become more and more sophisticated and effective over the years. From a digital marketing perspective, a campaign should be looked at from the top down. This means everything from the strategic planning, targeting, and copy needs to be examined and reexamined to ensure the right mix and delivery.

But a digital advertising campaign doesn’t end with the copy, imagery, and call to action of the ad itself. A complete campaign from start to finish needs to look at the destination the user is sent to as well. That’s why having an effective landing page to go along with a digital campaign is so important.

When a user clicks on an ad, the advertiser is often charged for that interaction. That’s why marketers need to make the most out of that interaction. A well-crafted and designed landing page will minimize bounce rates and increase the chances of a typical user to perform the action that you wish them to perform.

4 components of an effective landing page include:

It Passes the 5-Second Test

One of the easiest ways to test a landing page once it has been designed is to subject it to the 5-second test. This test is simple to perform and only involves a few different members of an office. Show the landing page to someone. If they are able to discern what the landing page is about and what it wants a user to do within 5-seconds, the landing page passes the test.

If, however, if a person cannot tell what the purpose of the landing page is within 5-seconds, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Tweak the design, call to action, and the content to find the optimal layout for your landing page.

It Corresponds to the Campaign

Another thing to keep in mind when planning any digital advertising campaign is to be as specific as possible with a landing page. Ideally, the landing page should exactly match the campaign that is running. This means that if a user clicks on a specific product or has found the landing page via a specific keyword, that keyword should be prominently displayed on the landing page.

This will help convey to the user that they are in the right place and will minimize bounce rates on landing pages. It will also increase the chance that the user will fill out a contact form or purchase a product.

It Contains a Clear Call to Action

What exactly is it that a user should to perform when they reach the landing page? This question is often overlooked but it is very important to the success of the campaign. Make sure that when designing a landing page that the form or call-to-action stick out and are above the fold.

Conversions should be the easiest thing to attain on a landing page, so don’t make the user search for what they have to do. Make it easy for everyone and place the conversion tool front and center.

It Undergoes A/B Testing

Measurement and optimization are important pieces of any effective digital campaign. The conversion rate on a specific landing page is the KPI to evaluate when judging the efficacy of that landing page. But even a landing page with a stellar conversion rate could be improved. That’s where A/B testing landing pages comes in.

A true A/B test only changes one aspect of the design or content, which becomes the “challenger” in the experiment. The change should be small but noticeable. An example would be using a different color for the call to action button, or a different content in the header. The smaller and more specific the difference in the A and B version of the landing page will pinpoint where the optimization lies.


The fun doesn’t stop here. A marketer should be constantly testing, improving, and optimizing every aspect of the digital campaign. Contact us today if you need help with your landing pages!

Ben Adams | Apr 24, 2019

Is Your Company Brandfishing?

Is Your Company Brandfishing?

If you’re single, you’ve probably waded into the pool of online dating. Popular apps like Tinder and Bumble have changed the way people meet each other. With this change comes the realization that individuals are constantly marketing themselves. They are analyzing what they look like and asking themselves if their current profile pictures are good enough or if they should be going a different direction all together.

Then what? They have to craft some sort of interesting verbiage to capture the essence of their being—maybe a little funny, but definitely clever and witty. Next step. A connection. Actual contact. How do you parlay that witty, funny profile into witty, funny text banter? But wait, there’s more! You manage to get through all of those trials to the actual date, and that’s where it all comes together. At this point you better deliver authenticity, or it all goes south from there.

What happened here? It’s branding. Personal branding. So many people take the time and effort to control their profile to find a date, why don’t they understand that this intricate branding dance is just as important in business?

Building brand is the most important step your company can take to improve profit and market share. And just as your life took some time to develop and settle to create who you are, it takes time for your brand to develop and become known. And it better be authentic— nobody wants to be catfished or, in this case, “brandfished”. When you show up for that date, you want to be greeted by the person you thought you were talking to. If your brand isn’t authentic, you will run into the same problem in business—customers and employees won’t stick around.

Craft your brand, take pride in your brand, and live your brand. Because at the end of the day, YOUR BRAND is what makes customers value you. Your company is definitely single. So go out there, take that amazing brand selfie, and get people to swipe right on your company.

Max White | Apr 16, 2019

Finding the Why in Marketing

Finding the Why in Marketing

Maybe it’s my maternity leave quickly approaching that’s setting my mind on thoughts about what’s important and the reasons why I do what I do. Or maybe it’s the months I’ve been spending in the trenches with some of our clients thinking through tough strategic decisions ranging anywhere from messaging, to audiences, to internal operations.

As I’ve been researching with clients on what can make marketing plans and messaging more effective, I’ve re-discovered Simon Sinek’s ‘Start With Why’. The synopsis of the book centers around how great leaders inspire others to take action. And when it really comes down to it, isn’t that what we marketers are trying to do – get people to take action?

The simple communication structure he lays out and refers to as ‘The Golden Circle’ contains three parts:

What – Everyone knows what they do – we sell [fill in the blank].

How – Some know how they do it – our differentiating value proposition or proprietary process is [fill in the blank].

Why – Very few know why they do what they do – what is our companies’ purpose, cause, belief or why do we exist (outside of making a profit)?

When approaching marketing, many companies are eager to start processes, creative ideas, or strategic initiatives that address their How and What, but rarely take the time to address their Why. To combat this, Sinek gives multiple examples of how inspiring others always puts the Why before the How and What. A few applications I’ve taken from his model:

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

You will have competitors that have access to, or replicate, the same products and resources you have.  So what will inspire someone to believe in what you’re selling versus your competition?  Our brains are wired to make decisions based on emotion, not reason.  If you can first convince consumers what you do aligns with their beliefs or emotions – they’ve chosen you and selling them your product isn’t a decision at all. Apple is able to do this not by telling consumers that they make great computers.  They tell them why they believe in thinking differently and challenging the status quo. They then tell them how they do this with easy-to-use and beautifully designed products. Lastly, they tell them what it is they are selling – computers, or MP3s, or phones.

“The goal isn’t to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

You can’t win them all, but you can try to capture more customers by starting with why.  You can go to market talking about all of your core products and services that 1 million people could use. But people don’t make decisions based on you, they make decisions based on them.  Each person assigns different values to different things and their behaviors follow accordingly.

The example used here was the introduction of TiVo.  TiVo launched by explaining their product and its features.  Many people decided they didn’t need what the product did – which was rewinding, fast forwarding and recording.  TiVo could have reached a larger majority if they convinced people why they needed a product that aligned with their belief that they should be in control of every aspect of their life.

“If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe.”

Customer loyalty is one of the toughest aspects of marketing. Once you get someone hooked, how do you get them to stick? Position your products and employees to deliver on your why. Whether that’s convenience, safety, quality, challenging the status quo, solving a crisis, or developing a community. Customers will be loyal to companies that align with their beliefs and needs – not because they have to, but because they want to.

Read more in Simon’s book, or watch the condensed version in his 2009 TED talk (viewed more than 43 million times. I’d say he’s inspired a few others).

Jill Moore | Apr 11, 2019