Two Cents’ Worth

Helpful advice on marketing, branding, growing businesses, and doing life well.

As a marketing firm specializing in promoting companies that sell “big-ticket” services to home owners we try to give our readers helpful information about the process of attracting qualified customers and growing their business. We’re not scared to delve into the philosophical issues surrounding our work and although marketing can be very complex we believe it needn’t be mysterious.

What we are reading and watching: Jan/Feb 2017

At Compass, we love to read…and we love to watch movies that inspire us. Every few months we would like to share these with you! Here…

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Connecting the dots…

Last week a group of very interesting people met at a bar in Hamilton. These people came from different backgrounds but were all interested …

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A rocking Congress 2017

The booths are packed away, the carpet’s been rolled up and Tony D’s guitar is back in it’s case. Thank you Landscape Onta…

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No loyalty? Really?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about millennials and the way they show up in the workplace. You may have seen the very popular vide…

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Why you should consider video

With each passing minute, 72 hours worth of video content is uploaded to YouTube with users spending over 3 billion hours each month absorb…

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Fighting small battles!

Happy New Year everyone! For some of you, this may be your first day back on the job in quite some time. For those of you who were able to t…

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Celebrate small wins!

Christmas is a beautiful time of year. It’s a rich celebration bursting with eternal significance. We sing. We give gifts. Collectivel…

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2016 in review

It’s been such a great year! We’ve worked with a lot of remarkable companies and we’re excited for them as they go forward…

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Reflecting on New England GROWS 2016

I recently had the pleasure of attending one of the US landscaping industry’s biggest annual trade shows, New England Grows. I had a g…

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If you treasure it, measure it

We are now into the home stretch before the end of the year. It’s time for that final push to reach your target numbers. That is, of c…

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Fusion Labworks: Kids learning hands-on skills

Do you believe that every young person is capable of doing more than they think is possible? Do you believe youth are capable, resilient, an…

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The risk of living artfully

Have you ever poured your heart into something you thought was really important? Put all your energy toward creating something you thought w…

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Marketing: Getting started

Do you know a skilled craftsman who can build almost anything you ask him to but his own business only seems to be limping along. Are you th…

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Landscapers: Dig deep!

Marketing was a hot topic at Landscape Ontario’s Congress again this year. Aside from the presentations focused on specific marketing …

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Congress 2016. Memorable indeed.

Have you ever heard someone say, “My memory is actually quite good, it’s just really short”? Have you yourself ever had tr…

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There is something new at Compass…

We’ve now packed away the tinsel, swept the place clean, taken out the recycling and cracked open a brand new daytimer. It’s a t…

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Ending a whirlwind year with gratitude

Well, 2015 has flown by in a whirlwind of phone calls, meetings, project notes, brainstorming sessions, whiteboard scribbles, concept sketch…

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Business is beautiful!

If you are an average healthy, able-bodied North American you will spend at least half of all the waking hours in your life at work (which, …

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Seven keys to marketing results

This is a guest blog post by Pete Kuehni. Pete is a friend, leader, business owner, mentor, coach, husband, father, granddad and author of t…

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Helping clients succeed

Many years ago, while driving out of town to meet a potential new client, I put in a CD that had been given to me by a colleague a few weeks…

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Flora Canada 2017

A couple years ago I travelled to the Netherlands to attend Floriade a year-long horticultural expo where visitors are treated to wildly c…

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What’s in a NALP?

In the latest issue of PLANET News the recently re-named National Association of Landscape Professionals unveiled its new name and brand i…

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Embracing change

Have you ever had the experience where somebody casually shares a thought in conversation and in that otherwise insignificant moment you a…

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Google says responsive web design is a must

We first started talking about responsive web design almost four years ago. For those not familiar with the term, a responsive website is…

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Congress: an inspiring start to 2015

Anyone that works with the landscape industry knows how much landscape professionals love their jobs – they love to be outdoors! So …

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Year in rear view video 2014

If you can handle just one more holiday greeting, allow me this opportunity to say, on behalf of everyone here at Compass Creative, “T…

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How to write a gooder advertisement

I recently read a vintage ad-writing book by Victor Schwab, one of the kingpins of direct mail copywriting in New York during the mid–…

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Telling the outdoor lifestyle story

In all the years we’ve been doing portfolio photography for our clients in the home building and landscaping industries, we’ve…

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In remembrance and gratitude

As we head into Remembrance Day this year, the weight of honouring our fallen is already heavy on our hearts. Photo credit It’s bee…

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New projects: Launched!

We’ve been in a bit of a whirlwind of productivity lately. A lot of new strategies and creative ideas have materialized this fall, par…

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Thank you for your patronage, Mr. Kauffman

The world of business doesn’t use the word patronage so much anymore. We’re more apt to hear, “Thank you for your business…

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Inspiring website content

It’s interesting how websites have evolved since we first started making them back in the late 90s. Back then all you needed to have w…

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How to build a website

Part 1 – Purpose and planning This post is the first in a three-part series we’re running on what’s involved in the build…

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Copy & Paste

Has your home or property ever been broken into? I’ve been told it’s a sick feeling you experience when you open the door and …

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Tools of the trade: chainsaw, dump truck and a website

A couple Saturdays ago, a scene unfolded in front me that was nothing short of a contractor’s dream. And not only a contractor&rsquo…

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Marketing

For every profession there is a stereotype. Farmers are complainers. Mechanics rip you off. Builders cut corners. Landscapers are Dutch (oh …

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Marketing with Photography

A few weeks ago, we posted on our Facebook page reminding our clients of our photography services. We were glad to see a thought-provoking…

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Compass Campus: Campfire

Last summer, I was asked to spend a couple of days at Campfire Bible Camp teaching a crash course in photography to a group of teenagers. …

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Compass Campus: Music

Elaine was 65 when she suffered a stroke that left her unable to speak. She understood everything that was going on around her but couldn&…

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Come Alive Outside

Yesterday our team finished the ninth and final lesson in the Come Alive Outside training challenge. Come Alive Outside is the name Jim Palu…

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Driving brand consistency

“Remember, proper, consistent implementation of (your) brand identity will drive success.” This is a reminder we place on…

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Landscape Ontario visit

Last Friday our entire team had the distinct privilege of sharing lunch together with Tony DiGiovanni, Executive Director of the largest l…

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Cedar Springs launches Landscape Calculator

Recently I had the privilege of hearing Adrian Bartels of Cedar Springs Landscape Group speak at the Landscape Ontario Contractor Lecture Se…

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Snow, ice and the Winter Olympics

The Sochi Olympics are in full swing and it’s great to see our excitement, appreciation and enthusiasm for Canada! Who hasn’t …

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Is 2014 the year you plan to get serious about your IT?

It’s amazing how much technology we actually use these days. Especially in our businesses, technology allows us to automate tasks and …

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A hero’s legacy

Do you have a hero in your life? Someone you look up to and admire? Someone whose example you try to follow? Have you considered that you…

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Merry Christmas!

I love Christmas. The message of love, redemption and salvation expressed in the celebrations, the colours, the carols and the good cheer …

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Outing to Type Directors Club

It was a dark and stormy… mid-morning. At 11am last Friday, we lost all power at the Compass office. Luckily for a few of us, we ha…

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Landscapers encouraged to do more marketing

Every year about this time, over 18,000 landscape contractors, equipment manufacturers and service providers in the Green industry converge …

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Compass Campus: Nick’s forging day

At Compass Creative we make brands for people who work with their hands but it’s not often we get to do hands-on work ourselves. For m…

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Summer photo contest

Summer is over and the kids are back in school. Those lazy days at the beach seem far behind us already. The campfires have died out and it&…

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What does it take to grow?

Recently a severe summer storm ripped through Southern Ontario. After the unbearably hot and humid days that preceded it, it was a relief …

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Ad Messaging - Rise above the noise

As a consumer, you’re likely aware of hundreds of marketing messages trying to get your attention. Each one aiming to drill a tunnel…

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Compass Campus: Josh’s woodworking day

It was with great excitement and trepidation that I set out on my Compass Campus Day to make something out of wood…in a single day. …

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“Free Design” is a bad sign

I know some people in the sign business. They’re good people. They work hard. Some are in fact quite creative. They’ve seen re…

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Putting the “edible” in some incredible landscapes

Remember the Victory Gardens of WWII? It seems we’ve been harkening back to the wisdom of these simpler times recently. Once again, en…

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Marketing with photography and video

Over the last couple of years we’ve been busy improving the way the landscaping, home building renovation industries present the bea…

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The whole package

Trade shows offer a powerful opportunity for brands to engage potential customers. Being an exhibitor can be an expensive experience &mdas…

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We’re a great company. I swear!

A landscaping firm was doing some work for an elderly couple living in a quaint neighbourhood. They were rather proper folk, and one day t…

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We’re moving!

It’s been about 12 years since our last moving notice. Back then I was moving out of my basement studio on Palmer Drive in Burlingto…

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Smart business vs. small business

We typically classify businesses under two main categories: small business and big business. These are not very helpful distinctions in my…

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Compass Campus: Carol’s Typography Day

Typography is an element of design that I’ve always admired, so a recent Compass Campus Day gave me the perfect opportunity to explo…

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Does a contractor really need a vision?

You’d probably agree that having an unimpaired view of where you’re headed is wise. Well, there is virtually nothing that impa…

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Always be…

Have you ever been on a landscaping sales call and the potential customer you’re meeting with details a long list of costly features…

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Compass clients win big at landscape awards ceremony

The landscaping industry’s annual gathering in Southern Ontario, called LO Congress, celebrated it’s 40th anniversary earlier th…

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Pop marketing quiz

I came across a clever info graphic the other day that compared the logos of Pepsi and Coca-Cola. On one side, it shows the Pepsi logo under…

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We’ll be home for Christmas

This past week has been a hectic one. Despite the many warnings to the contrary I have not been able to avoid busyness. In the last 5 days…

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I don’t have time for your slow website

I find it challenging to write articles about web development without boring you with the nitty gritty of web programming. Chances are you…

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Compass Campus Day

As a creative company, we are always looking to expand the scope and quality of the ideas that we bring to the table. Imagination and innova…

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Business is risky

What inspired you to go into business? Did you have something new to offer the world? Did you like the idea of being your own boss? Were y…

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Building a brand

After working with many professional tradespeople over the years we’ve come to see that building things like homes and landscapes re…

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Do you understand your customer’s pain?

A regular pastime here at the office is the sharing and critiquing of noteworthy ad campaigns. Ads currently on the market, shared for our c…

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Mission Aviation Fellowship’s new graphic identity takes flight around the globe

Early this morning, Mission Aviation Fellowship offices around the world started releasing images of their new logo. This is an exciting d…

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Compass Creative joins Landscape Ontario and Ontario Home Builders Association

BURLINGTON (July 16, 2012) Compass Creative Studio Inc. is excited to announce their new memberships to both Landscape Ontario and the Ont…

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Personal reflections on a homeland

On a recent business trip to Europe, I took some additional time to travel around the Netherlands and become re-acquainted with my parents&r…

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Is your website responsive?

When Henry Ford invented the automobile, it had a different name. It was first dubbed the “horseless carriage.” The contraption …

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Welcoming Ryan Mans

We continue to see exciting growth here at Compass Creative – along with an increasingly busy schedule. To be honest, we’ve be…

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Solutions.

One of the curses of working in marketing is that I can’t walk or drive two minutes without critiquing a billboard, display ad, store …

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California landscape photography

Our colleague Joel Reynolds just returned from a weeklong road trip up the coast of California along the picturesque Highway 1. Joel took …

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Interview with Strive! (Part 3)

The following is the third and final part to the interview between Ralph Kikkert, Strive!, and Jason Bouwman, Compass Creative. In this segm…

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Interview with Strive! (Part 2)

The following is the second part of a recent interview between Ralph Kikkert of Strive! and Jason Bouwman, Compass Creative. In this segment…

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Interview with Strive! (Part 1)

_Recently, Compass Creative principal Jason Bouwman sat down for an interview with Ralph Kikkert of Strive!, a company helping organizations…

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Sustainable, maintainable websites

Smile if you’ve participated in or overheard a conversation like this: “Our site is seriously out of date. We may need to red…

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iPad joins the face-to-face meeting

We are probably just weeks away from another of Apple’s signature product reveals. Up next, it is expected that Apple will unveil an…

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The new Four P’s of Marketing

If you’ve studied marketing, or have read some of the popular books in the genre, you’ve probably heard of the 4 P’s of …

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Four reasons to let your web designer choose your hosting provider

So you’ve decided you’re going to redesign your website. You’ve carefully researched and selected the right web developm…

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Choose your heroes carefully

Last year we lost an iconic product designer, marketing guru and powerful businessman in Steve Jobs. The day after he died I posted a brie…

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Christmas greetings

Every year, just before Christmas, the doors of Compass Creative close. The computers are shut down. The lights are turned off. The studio…

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A 5 star website for a 5 star landscaper

This past month we launched a new website which is sure to raise the bar in the highly competitive landscaping industry. The site features a…

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New look and website to get people moving

Burlington Taxi is an established resource in Burlington for students, shoppers, seniors, bar patrons and commuters in a market that looks f…

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Slotegraaf Construction website wins award

This past week, our client Slotegraaf Construction won the Waterloo Region Homebuilders’ Association’s Award of Distinction fo…

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Steve Jobs: A reflection on Apple’s influential CEO

I did not know Steve Jobs personally, but the better part of my life has been spent staring at at least one of the products created by the…

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Silver commemorative coin designed by Jason Bouwman

20 Dollar Pure Silver Commemorative Coin For a limited time, this new $20 pure silver coin is available for only $20. VIEW AT MINT.CA The…

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Summer holidays

Summer holidays – those warm, carefree days spent oblivious of time, enjoying the simple pleasures of being in the outdoors with fam…

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New Release: Final coin in Canadian wildlife series

The Royal Canadian Mint’s newest coin depicts the black footed ferret. Like the other coins in this series, the wildlife artwork was…

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Crazy cool landscape idea

It’s been said that ideas are a dime a dozen but it’s the execution that counts. Certainly true words in the case of this landsc…

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Mike Fisher gets Music City makeover

In the life of a professional athlete, change can happen fast. Compass Creative client and NHL hockey player Mike Fisher saw that first ha…

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A new face for Burlington’s favourite summer event

It’s been over thirty years since the Sound of Music Festival started drawing crowds to downtown Burlington for a free weekend of gr…

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Marketing Integrity

Look at the mission statements or advertising slogans from local small businesses to not-for-profits to multinational corporations, and it w…

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Are you a master of your domain?

Every day, millions of dollars spent by organizations on branding and marketing are seriously undermined, put at risk, or worse, lost by u…

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What do you see?

I always wanted to be an artist rather than a businessman. I imagined artists to be more virtuous somehow, more empathetic – certain…

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The design axiom

We’ve been developing some infographics lately for a client of ours. It gave us the idea for this venn diagram explaining the age old …

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The problem with landscape marketing

You wouldn’t know it from the weather this past week but we’re pretty sure that spring is just around the corner here in Souther…

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Unexpected marketing lesson at Christmas dinner

Last night we had the pleasure of celebrating as a team at our annual Christmas dinner. We celebrated our accomplishments, our growth, and o…

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Selling with pictures (part 2)

A few weeks ago, we wrote a short piece on selling with pictures. We highlighted the benefits of expanding and enhancing your portfolio with…

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Bragging or complaining?

I came across this statement the other day emblazoned on a retail store’s front window in red puffy type and asked myself “Is th…

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Local builder gets extreme makeover

Slotegraaf is a fine home renovator and builder in the Cambridge area with that rare quality in a contracting company – a really good …

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Selling with pictures (part 1)

A picture is worth a thousand words. Quality imagery is critical in the successful marketing of any landscape firm. It is an essential build…

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What’s in a name?

If you are starting a new business, or are going through a rebranding process, selecting the right name for your company could be one of the…

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Local companies rebrand to re-engage market

We’re excited to showcase some of the latest work we’ve done for our clients – two local companies who have shown courage …

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Putting the mission into statements

Do you feel like writing a mission statement is, well…mission impossible? Have you endured too many marathon committee meetings? Hav…

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Design currency

Consider for a moment what good design brings to your business. Its value really extends beyond return on investment values to a bigger pict…

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Branding lessons from Playa del Carmen

Consumers who are given three identical choices will base their decision on price. Poorly positioned companies, therefore, find themselves…

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Burlington for Haiti gala dinner & art auction

This past week we were asked to design a poster for an upcoming event in Burlington to raise funds for the recovery efforts in Haiti. The ne…

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The value of design

We’ve always maintained that one of the most important lines in any design is the bottom one. The value of design goes much deeper tha…

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Do something!

Long before Nike’s popular tagline became part of the North American lexicon, my mother was the embodiment of those words in action. S…

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Let’s get real about success

It’s amazing what a little crisis can do for one’s appetite for learning. Faced this past year with rapid changes in our industr…

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Merry Christmas everyone!

Thank you for the many opportunities to work together this past year. 2009 was another interesting, exciting and challenging year, to say …

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Let’s get real about search engine optimization

Are you concerned about losing potential clients to your competition because your website does not rank high on search engines? Are you stru…

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Not just another pretty face

For immediate release: Compass Creative, a Burlington-based brand design consultancy, is challenging clients to get real about marketing, b…

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Nomination for international coin award

The coin bearing Jason Bouwman’s first coin design, which commemorates the centennial anniversary of the Mint in 2008, has recently …

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Women’s ice hockey Olympic coin release for circulation

If you’ve been trying to collect the three Olympic Winter Moments coins in your pocket change, but have only come up with the Men&rs…

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Remembering D-Day, 65 years later

“ …I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full vic…

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Just Released: Olympic coins designed by Jason Bouwman

BURLINGTON (September 29, 2009) – Local artist Jason Bouwman is looking forward to seeing the new Special Edition Uncirculated coin …

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3 things you need to know before redesigning your website

Does your website accurately reflect your company or do you secretly hope no one ever sees it? Does your website compel or repel visitors?…

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Insight before website

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” —MARK TWAIN You may n…

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The New York Times: Warmer, Fuzzier: The Refreshed Logo

Can design really help your organization win in an economic downturn? We think so. The prevailing strategy to stand out in today’s cl…

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2009 silver dollar designed by local artist, Jason Bouwman

BURLINGTON (January 12, 2009) - Local artist Jason Bouwman is looking forward to seeing the new 2009 Special Edition Proof Silver Dollar w…

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Launch of Mike Fisher’s website

We are pleased to announce the website launch of NHL forward Mike Fisher. For those of you who don’t know, Mike is a veteran centre …

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Compass Creative Studio Version 2.0

Our office renovations are finally complete and we are now a bigger and more functional creative studio! When you come in to see us you…

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Winners of Business Excellence Award

We’re pleased to announce that Compass Creative Studio has been awarded a Burlington Chamber of Commerce Award for Business Excellen…

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Finalist for Business Excellence Award

We’re pleased to announce that we have been chosen as a finalist for the 2006 Business Excellence Awards from the Burlington Chamber o…

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