Ever heard of Madison Avenue?

Yup, it’s the name of the street in New York City well-known for big advertising agencies (like on the TV show, Mad Men).  These agencies have been the driving force behind the identities of many Fortune 500 companies, crafting marketing campaigns that have turned products and brands into household names and pop culture memes.  They can launch a coordinated marketing assault that ties together television and print advertising, custom web sites and social media, youtube videos, e-mail marketing, product packaging, direct mail, brochures, catalogs, hand-outs… the list goes on.  And all of it will be expertly-produced with consistent logos, graphics, and design.  This is what we expect from major brands like Apple, Coke, and Ford.  It’s extremely powerful stuff, and it can be yours too if you’re willing to sign on with a retainer that starts in the six-figures.

Hmm, that probably doesn’t exactly work for you if you’re the average small or even medium-sized business.  Small businesses still need web sites, business cards, and brochures, but the price tag needs to be less.  A lot less.  So here’s how it typically goes:

  1. You need a website, so you find a web designer and hope they’re up-to-date on how to build a site that works on any computer, smart phone, or tablet.
  2. With the web site done, you need something physical you can give to people.  No, the web developer doesn’t do print work, so you go to your local quick-print shop.  First thing they need is your logo.  Your web guy sends the one he put on your web site.  It’s a low-res JPG, and it’ll look like crap when it’s printed.
  3. The print shop helps you design some business cards; they even help you throw together a brochure too.  It doesn’t match your web site very well though.
  4. You realize that the photos you took with your iPhone aren’t looking very professional, so you’d better look up a decent photographer too.  No, not someone who does weddings and baby portraits.
  5. Video has become super important, so you’ll want to get someone who can help with that.
  6. You find that you’re not getting very much traffic on your web site.  The college kid who built your site doesn’t have much to say about running an SEO campaign, so time to find a firm that can help you with search engine optimization.
  7. You decide to run an ad in the paper or a trade magazine.  Oh cool, they’ll design the ad for free.  It kind of looks like it was designed for free too.
  8. Some colleagues mention how they’ve been getting a lot of business through social media.  You add to your to-do list to figure out how to setup a Facebook page, Google+ page, Instagram account, Twitter account, and Pinterest board.
  9. An important trade show is coming up and you need to have a presence there.  Time to find a booth manufacturer and figure out a good design for your graphics.
  10. You decide to host an event or open house, and you need some banners and other large-format graphics.  Find a vendor to print the graphics, and they can probably design it for you too.  Just don’t expect it to look all that great.

It’s kind of daunting when you think about pulling it all together.  Even harder will be getting your brand to stay consistent with so many different vendors involved.  It’ll be nearly impossible to keep your image and production quality up to par across everything you need to produce.  Now you’re starting to wish you had the $100K to hire that larger agency.

Well, there is another solution.

River Design is Madison Avenue for Main St.

We bring Madison Avenue scope to Main Street businesses.

We insist on high production-value in everything we produce; we advocate an integrated marketing approach, keeping your brand consistent; and we can accomplish this brand consistency by producing pretty much anything you need for marketing your business.