Sandstorm Blog

Karen
Mystery Offsite Mandatory Marketing Meeting Revealed

Our Sandstorm Design staff couldn’t stop talking about the mystery “Offsite Mandatory Meeting” scheduled for Friday. Concerns included what type of meeting this would be, exactly how far off site we would be going, and what type of clothing we would need (hiking gear, perhaps?).

With the meeting scheduled for 3:00 PM, Sandy called our anxious staff into a conference room at 2:45 PM to reveal that we would not be having a meeting after all. We would, however, be going off site – to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 on opening day! After a few excited updates to Facebook and text messages to jealous family members, we threw on our coats, jumped in the cars, passed out the tickets, claimed a row in the theater, and sat back to enjoy the Friday afternoon show. Sandy sure knows how to keep a smile on our faces! Thanks from all of us!

This blog was posted by Karen on November 22, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

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Karen

Sandstorm Design is hiring! We're looking for a freelance ASP.NET Developer with Sitecore CMS experience. We have been (and will be) busy creating the concepts, designs and information architecture for a site for a large local non-profit and need your development skills to build it. The project will be starting in development in January 2011 with some up front consultation needed immediately. Ideally, we would like to find a local Chicago ASP.NET contractor with whom we can build a long-term relationship to help with this project as well as future projects.

Candidates must have 4+ years .NET experience, preferably with a Microsoft certification, 1+ years hands-on experience using Sitecore CMS and 2+ years experience with MsSQL. We would like someone with experience developing high volume web applications, and the ability to design database tables, stored procedures and SQL Queries. You will need to know HTML and CSS. We also need you to be able to meet project timelines and budgets, collaborate with peers on a project to meet client needs, and have strong written and verbal communication skills. We're looking for a highly motivated, detail-oriented individual with excellent problem solving skills and a passion for delivering high quality products and creating highly usable web sites that optimize the user experience. A few pluses that will give you an edge: experience with AJAX/Jquery, developing e-commerce sites, and/or familiarity with Shopsite shopping site software.

Think you might be the one we are seeking? Submit your resume and work samples and/or links to jobs@sandstormdesign.com. Please NO phone calls.

This blog was posted by Karen on November 15, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

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Karen

We are proud to announce the launch of the new F.H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen web site! We love working with this construction company, some say we’re almost as “Paschen”-ate as they are. Great people, great work, and a great history. We couldn’t wait for this site launch!

In addition to a new branded look and feel, the web site is filled with interactive video and functionality. We built a searchable project database that includes over 100 of their top projects. We also created an interactive experience on the homepage, new custom videos, an interactive map and a dynamically building ‘Contact Us’ form. To top it all off, custom photography highlights one of the company's strongest points of pride – their people. We couldn’t be more passionate about launching this web site for F.H. Paschen, a company we are proud to call our client and partner.

This blog was posted by Karen on November 15, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Karen

It’s easy to love your job when you work for Sandstorm Design, and it’s even easier when the projects that come your way are for organizations that are working to make the world a better place – like The Cradle, an open adoption agency in Chicago. Along with giving them a fresh, new look, we also made their site easy to update by completing development in Drupal so that they can change their content regularly with current news, new waiting families, and new stories of success.

We loved working with The Cradle and being a part of helping birthparents, adoptive families, and adopted children come together to create their own unique family stories. We are so proud to launch this web site!

This blog was posted by Karen on .
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Holly

At Sandstorm Design, we live and work by the “Yes, and” marketing strategy. It is one of our core values and reflective in absolutely everything we do. So what is the “Yes, and” marketing strategy? For us, “Yes, and” is a way of thinking. It is being open to new ideas, thinking outside of the box, and drawing outside the lines. It is doing what is asked for, or expected, and then coming up with something new and interesting to also think about. It is always striving to be better, and innovative, and three steps ahead of what’s next.

If you’ve worked with us before, the “Yes, and” marketing strategy is very evident in our creative work. Usually, we will give you one concept that’s exactly what you want (we hope), and another that gives you a new idea to consider. The goal is that, regardless of which concept you go with, we challenge you and show you something unexpected.

And, until now, we sort of thought that we coined the “Yes, and” marketing strategy phrase. Recently, I came across this article that proved otherwise. It also outlined how special “Yes, and” truly is (we invent airplanes ☺), and how the counterpart “Yes, but” also plays into the mix.

This blog was posted by Holly on October 28, 2010.
Holly Brinkman

About the Author

Holly Brinkman

Holly's title at Sandstorm Design is Strategy, Research, and Writing, as she does a little bit of everything. She loves clever advertisements, strong brands, social media, and intuitive web sites.

Karen
New Law Firm Gets a New Web Site

Sandstorm Design is so excited to announce the launch of a new web site for a new firm, Partridge IP Law. Having the opportunity to work with this unique law firm from inception has been such a privilege.

We created their new identity and brand, starting with the logo and print work before moving to the web. While the firm might be new, the attorneys are experienced. Their new web site showcases this expertise with detailed bios and a very active blog. We absolutely loved working with Partridge IP Law, and couldn’t be happier to announce this launch!

This blog was posted by Karen on October 25, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Karen
Secret Ingredient Wins Marketing Firm's Guac-Off

Tasting the guacamole

The Sandstorm crew gathered on Sunday afternoon with bowls of guacamole in hand for our marketing firm’s annual Guac-Off. I had suspected the competition would be steep, but my poor minimalist recipe really didn’t stand a chance. The colors and flavors of the different guacamoles on the table were diverse, intriguing, and sometimes shocking (chocolate guacamole?!). Once the tasting began, some of us couldn’t even tell which was ours. I personally made one round to taste them all, and a second round to try to identify mine.

In the end, it was a snazzy, secret ingredient that made the winning dish stand out. Janna and her husband Tim used smoked paprika (yes, smoked paprika) in their recipe and won the trophy! There were so many tasty guacamoles, but this one was definitely one of the more creative. Congratulations Janna and Tim!

This blog was posted by Karen on October 25, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

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Karen

Sandstorm Design is proud to announce the launch of our second interactive health care web application. Federal employees have the opportunity to answer a series of questions and get a customized recommendation to help them find the right insurance plan. Along the way, learning moments are integrated throughout the experience, educating the user to make better decisions.

We love working with our clients as much as we love creating interactive tools to make people’s lives a little easier, and that’s why we’re so excited to launch this quick and easy-to-use web application to help Federal employees!

This blog was posted by Karen on October 22, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Holly

The idea of Google advertising on TV is a little weird to me. They’re a search engine, and the leader in their industry...what do they need to advertise for? But when I saw the first commercial in their “Search Stories” campaign, I was very impressed. They took something as quick and trivial as a 20-second search, and demonstrated the monumental impact that it has on a person’s life.

Before learning search engine optimization and working at an interactive marketing agency, I never really understood the importance of search engines. But in today’s world, Google is the first place that most people turn for literally every decision they make. If you have a question, odds are that Google can answer it.

And that is a really important thing. Because in doing so, Google, a search engine that is mathematically pulling data based on relevance, obtains a persona and a voice. It’s your trusted advice-giver, resource, and industry-expert for everything life throws your way. And it knows me so well! Today, I found this fun little tool that lets you create your own Google Search Story. I built a quick one about a user’s first experience with Sandstorm Design. Check it out, and please share your stories with us too!

This blog was posted by Holly on October 21, 2010.
Holly Brinkman

About the Author

Holly Brinkman

Holly's title at Sandstorm Design is Strategy, Research, and Writing, as she does a little bit of everything. She loves clever advertisements, strong brands, social media, and intuitive web sites.

Karen
Marketing Firm Guac-Off to Knock Our Socks Off

How do you improve upon something you already feel is absolutely, fantastically wonderful? With Sandstorm Design’s annual Guac-Off approaching this Sunday at 4:00pm, this question keeps nudging its way into my head. Let me make this clear: I love guacamole.

I am a frequent visitor of the many awesome Mexican restaurants all over Chicago, and I have yet to try a guacamole I didn’t like. The flavors and textures span such a wide range with so few ingredients – smooth avocado, sweet onion, bold cilantro and tangy lime paired with salty corn tortilla chips. How could I possibly enhance such a winning equation in order to win our marketing firm’s Guac-Off? And as the newest member of the team at Sandstorm Design, I must say, I am certain my competition is steep.

Creativity is, after all, how we use marketing and web design to improve upon already excellent brands. Even as a newcomer it is quite apparent to me that taking something great and making it better is what our marketing firm does everyday. So I can only imagine what this team can do with a couple avocados! Lucky for me, I love guacamole just a smidgen more than I love winning. So even if my dish doesn’t win, my tummy most definitely will.

This blog was posted by Karen on October 20, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

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