doing things right - the first time - for cost savings - risk reduction -
and avoiding 'uh-oh'.
and product managers, senior management, shareholders, others...
you have been putting out fires, a few remain burning, or you even think
you might smell smoke, you have clues.
Since 1999, many seem willing to risk the company's future based on the 'insight' and
advice of next month's X-Box or PlayStation champion contender - who just learned the software in a trade school.
Could the kid be a genius? Could the software be that advanced? Really?
you are willing to take the risk, skip the research, strategy,
depth of thought, and especially knowledge and experience that comes from
years of being on earth, and disregard all other things market leaders used to consider
mandatory, we're probably not for you, and this article will waste your
the other hand, if you even smell smoke...
What is a 'reasonable' budget?
you noticed the downward spiral in marketing, advertising, and branding strategy and
product/service quality that seems to have started around 1999?
Is there one brand you can identify as the leader in your industry? Is
If there was software that explained
'step by step' how to do your own
dentistry for $49.95, would you buy it and cap your own front tooth -
skipping the dentist?
Even if it worked, would you skip consulting with a dentist about solutions that could 'avoid the
cap' before you shave your tooth down to a point?
the risk? It's just a logo, a name, a brand? Right?
about risk in any step you skip.
you are slightly concerned that:
budget cuts went too
the cost of doing things right might be the 'more
could be going better, or could go wrong
measures are increasing risk
not 100% sure the name you chose is 'safe'
harder to get a full night's rest
of other people's potential nightmares could be yours
read here is more true
what you read on this page is more true than not, it may help to try to
make others understand since your concerns are
might not even know you skipped a step.
Design avoided problems in the past, like trademark problems, brand
issues, printing issues, marketing problems, and much more - while helping
companies make all the right decisions.
This took time and effort, still does, nothing changed (except these
days fewer people are doing more things, and often things they aren't
very good at doing).
Remember all the layoffs
and cost-cutting back in 1999/2000? Had an effect...
we primarily fix problems - for a select few - that never would happen if
steps were not skipped.
haven't cut back too far, in fact we plan on cutting more!
Cummings believes that many people are under the elusion that nearly all
the corners can be cut and that they still can succeed, a 100% turnaround
from the days before 1999.
Skipping truly important steps, they put
themselves at risk - often unaware until the company-killing trademark
Opposition or production failure, or both.
this 'cut and hope to still succeed' mentality happened as a result of the free-spending years preceding the burst of the Internet bubble - yet the
burst of the Internet bubble (in Rob's mind) was taken far too much to
heart - and was only related to a few silly Internet businesses - not all
Coupled with scandalous accounting practices - like ENRON, Andersen
Consulting (now Accenture), Worldcom, and others (nothing to do with
the Internet), and 9/11 (nothing to do with the Internet or scandalous
accounting practices), all of a sudden things changed.
Many companies failed around 1999, yet many now enjoy great success...
online and off. The Duh Decade provides numerous opportunities for
those able and willing to invest in Non-Duh thinking and
happened between 1999 and today?
In the 1970's, 1980's, and 1990's, companies made the investment and took
the time and effort to truly create exceptional brand strategies... and it
paid off. These companies became recognized leaders that people trusted.
Then came 1999. The Internet bubble burst, Enron and Worldcom and others
went belly up, there was talk of a recession, and, day by day, month by
month, the only sound you could hear from corporate America was cut, cut,
cut - along with outsource and eliminate.
those who may not clearly recall how many companies were involved and how
many people lost their jobs (in numerous companies), the Quality
Testing Labs web Site will appear updated at Cummings Design
The cut, cut, cut never stopped - and the results are becoming
Today, it seems that everything
we knew about doing things properly - with care, due diligence, and
careful thought - no
longer matters that much, if at all.
Things that produced real results that came from serious, thoughtful
consideration... like brand positioning, true competitive
thorough research and analysis, innovation, even product/service quality...and other
aspects that the world's leading ad agencies,
design firms, strategists and brand managers of the 70's to
the 90's held as vital... appear to have nearly vanished.
In the creative fields, many of the most talented have simply called it
quits - and today may literally be serving you a mocha latte.
Projects that formerly took months have been reduced to days - and it
shows - immediately, or later down the road.
Many of the trademark problems we help resolve are the result of little or
no thought, and no advice. Considering that a trademark is the basis of an
entire company or product line (and a successful opposition could cause
its demise), you begin to see what we do... and that maybe budget cuts have gone too
Nothing changed in terms of the steps that should be taken in the creative
to develop and assess a truly great and comprehensive solution...
... yet the computer on everyone's desk somehow made people think that the
answer was all in that box - or in the next version of the software - or a
click away online. Templates replaced original concepts, stock images
replaced compelling photographs. Operators replaced truly brilliant
creative professionals who spent their lives thinking about what motivates
Because computers couldn't think, a great deal of the conceptual thought,
psychology and strategy, which was the foundation of great promotions of
earlier days, also disappeared - replaced by images that didn't make much
sense and didn't compel people to really buy, but looked 'pretty
people are not aware of issues, including but not limited to trademark
problems, they don't even think or know to ask. Then 'uh-oh'.
Just like the person that relies on spell check yet can't spell,
issues are not always caught, many are overlooked.
and loose are both spelled properly, so spell check doesn't 'bring it up'.
things - like names - become
huge liabilities - yet are entirely overlooked, until one day, maybe
years later, uh-oh - opposition.
With a computer and the right software, everyone's an expert?
computer will never replace a brilliant mind. It's a tool. The creative
process never changed - nor did the steps required to create big ideas.
Computers, initially seen as a boon to the industry, enabled virtually anyone with a mouse to create some form of
graphic design, advertising, and promotion - as well as a business plan, a
marketing plan, and more.
As the cuts continued, the truly talented pros were replaced by anyone
available who could move a mouse around and skim through a software
In far too many companies today, an admin with no marketing background
whatsoever, or an overburdened Sales or Marketing Director (who should be
concentrating on sales or marketing), or the boss's son or daughter is now developing nearly all of the company's
marketing and promotional materials, and perhaps the packaging in Microsoft
Word as well. In many cases these materials critical to success are based
on no business or marketing plan, or one hastily created with Business
Who are we kidding but ourselves? And at what risk?
Budget cuts have trimmed advertising, marketing and creative budgets to a point where many
companies would be far better off doing nothing at all since the image presented by poor
execution and strategy can hurt more than it helps.
Then there's customer service, that used to provide competitive advantage,
but that too has been given a back seat - either outsourced offshore or
Is less turning out to be best - or too risky?
It's no longer a matter of which vendor is best... it's become more a
matter of which vendor is not as bad as the other one. And this is
America in the 21st century? Is this the world today?
Have you been
an increased number of
that are not
in major ads, brochures, on television? That's minor
compared to the larger errors being made - just due to cutting too
far - or today 'two farre'.
Is do it yourself (whether you can or cannot) the smart way?
Have you noticed:
unaware, companies are losing customers all the time, while unseen
'competitors' - by being smarter - creep up in the back yard.
Companies that understand the value of and embrace image enhancement,
brand development, competitive advantage, real strategy, and reducing all
risk, can and have come
out of nowhere, appearing far larger and more capable than their
competitors, and stealing market share overnight.
Remember IBM in better
Look at recent history and take a tally of the winners and losers. Who
would have imagined things would be as they are in America in the 21st
knows about a lot of things - from training, self-education, and life
We dramatically reduce the risk of fizzle - and
avoid risk - always for better outcomes - and often at reduced short and
long term cost.
Cummings Design is not for everyone... but Cummings Design
is for those who want all things seriously considered - and who want to
win, not just play.
First of all, we leave the kids at home. We are a team of leading
professionals with at least 15 years of experience, and some with much
Though we're not entirely unsympathetic to the increasing costs
businesses today must bear for things like increased fuel and transportation
costs, insurance, and the other necessary and unavoidable costs of doing
business - we're not going to recommend cutting corners where corners
should not be cut.
We're not going to low ball an estimate just to get you in the door, and
we're not going to tell you the corner-cutting methods are the correct
ones and without risk.
example, if we help develop your brand, we're not going to recommend
skipping the trademark search. If we help develop an ad campaign, we're
not going to recommend you skip the market research and analysis. If we
help develop a web presence, we're not going to recommend the same
template-based solution available to your competitors. In other words,
we're not going to encourage you to skip the steps that increase the risk
of failure somewhere down the line.
A professional, responsible approach can be 'priceless'.
This page was written as Cummings Design finds itself making more money
today on fixing problems than developing brilliant solutions that avoid
them and work better.
problems have become our primary business, and can put you right out of
would not have these kind of problems - if we helped.
We are professional and seasoned and aware of the right way
things need to be done, all the things that need to be done, and how to
get everything that needs to be done properly and in the correct order.
More often than not, this saves money at the outset and saves money and
reduces risk over the long term.
We're smart enough to realize that computers are simply another tool to
get the job done, yet, in the creative business, we're keenly aware that
computers did not reduce the time that it takes to assess a problem, and
discuss alternatives, and develop and refine a thoroughly conceived and
Therefore, we try our best to keep costs reasonable, but, as
professionals, we are not able to steer companies down a path of
destruction, cutting corners just to make ourselves a few bucks.
On the other hand, we also have a great deal of experience and can often
save money in many areas by making smarter choices in the way things are
We're young enough to be hip, yet old enough to be wise - and safe.
Located everywhere, we're amongst the best, the brightest, the most
talented, and, from the 'old school' (but not that old), the most committed to true
We follow trends but don't fall prey to fads that are here today, gone
We know both the old and the new processes and techniques, understand
them, and know the advantages and the drawbacks.
We know how to assess and judge solutions, and how to help others
assess and make the right choices, avoiding the wrong ones.
If you're thinking 'maybe we should be a bit concerned', contact
1979 Cummings Design, now located in Orange County, Southern California
but serving clients nationwide, has combined the services of a traditional
advertising agency, design firm and PR firm - all in one - and more.
Design is likely not the least
expensive, yet, in both the short and long term, we help make all the
right choices for real business success. See pricing.
what we can do for you >>
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