Clique Takes Home Five Awards for Web Design, Mobile Apps, and Branding During the 19th Annual Communicator Awards

Friday, May 10, 2013 — by Kate Moon

Clique Studios has been honored with two Awards of Excellence and three Awards of Distinction for the 19th Annual Communicator Awards. The Communicator Awards is the leading international awards program honoring creative excellence for communication professionals.

Communicator Awards

Clique Studios won awards in the following categories:

  • 2013 Award of Excellence: DinnDinn App, Mobile Apps - Guides/Ratings/Reviews
  • 2013 Award of Excellence: Emote, Website - Health Care Services
  • 2013 Award of Distinction: Retrofit, website homepage
  • 2013 Award of Distinction: 33 Realty, Website - Real Estate
  • 2013 Award of Distinction: Geofeedia, Website - Branding
  • With over 6,000 entries received from across the U.S. and around the world, the Communicator Awards is the largest and most competitive awards program honoring the creative excellence for communications professionals. The Communicator Awards are judged and overseen by the International Academy of the Visual Arts (IAVA), a 600+ member organization of leading professionals from various disciplines of the visual arts dedicated to embracing progress and the evolving nature of traditional and interactive media. Current IAVA membership represents a "Who's Who" of acclaimed media, advertising, and marketing firms including: AirType Studio, Condè Nast, Disney, Keller Crescent, Lockheed Martin,, MTV, rabble+rouser, Time Inc., Tribal DDB, Yahoo!, and many others.

    “We are both excited and amazed by the quality of work received for the 19th Annual Communicator Awards. This year’s class of entries is a true reflection of the progressive and innovative nature of marketing and communications,” noted Linda Day, executive director of the International Academy of the Visual Arts. She added, “On behalf of the entire Academy I want to applaud this year’s Communicator Awards entrants and winners for their dedication to perfecting their craft as they continue to push the envelope of creativity.

Recent Happenings at Clique

Tuesday, April 02, 2013 — by Kate Moon

Clique Studios has been busy over the last few weeks with exciting work worth mentioning in web design, mobile commerce and ecommerce.

New Site Launch: Tennessee Junk Cars

TN Junk Cars approached Clique Studios to create a new marketing website for its car trade-in business. The objective was to create a fresh design that would allow viewers to get a quote for their car. TN Junk Cars wanted a website with buzz worthy design and a simple user experience that would captivate its audience and promote sharing among friends. Using HTML5 animations and CSS3, Clique built the custom quote calculator to feature their higher quotes for junk cars compared to their competition.

Upon launch of the site, new car acquisitions started immediately with organic traffic on par with paid search in the first week. The success of the design is going beyond the web as the homepage has already been converted to a billboard advertisement which will push traffic to a mobile version of the site.


Smashing Magazine: Clique Partner Derek Nelson Writes on Mobile eCommerce Strategies

This March, Clique Studios was thrilled to contribute an article to Smashing Magazine, a leading user experience industry publication. Partner and Creative Director, Derek Nelson gives an in-depth look at important best practices to create the best user experience.

As mobile commerce continues to grow, mobile design needs to reflect a simple, user-friendly checkout process. At the end of the day, the shopper needs to have an easy way to complete a purchase. Derek’s article offers solid tips on how to design mobile commerce checkouts, what’s being done well, and why it’s so important to think about issues like geolocation, leveraging UI elements, simplifying fields, and showing checkout progress.

Mobile commerce is just starting to reach its full potential. Smart companies realize that their revenue will be positively impacted with a well-designed checkout process.


DDI System Conference: Clique Partner Ted Novak Speaks on eCommerce for B2B Businesses Undergoing B2C Transition

We were honored to have Clique Studios’ own Ted Novak speak at DDI System’s recent annual User Conference. DDI provides premiere software solutions for wholesale distributors. An industry that has companies that have been successful for decades without the need for an online shopping component now have the opportunity to enhance their existing B2B relationships while opening new doors to B2C marketing through ecommerce and enhancing their online presence.

Ted’s presentation explained how these companies can look at their business's online channels differently. Ted highlighted the new Inform Ecommerce 2 platform that our team helped implement to enhance DDI's B2B focused platform, and dove deeper into our DDI integrated Magento solution for those looking to move more aggressively into the B2C market.  Using case studies, Ted showed how design, SEO, and SEM not only build presence and market a brand, but are now key components in today's competitive online marketplace. 

Ecommerce Outside of the Box

Friday, March 08, 2013 — by Ted Novak

The Task:

Larsen Packaging is a premier supplier of packaging goods and services. Their previous online presence was limiting their ability to fully leverage their online channel, and was misrepresenting their brand and their products.

Larsen needed an online presence that enabled them to strengthen their existing B2B relationships through an online ordering interface, while delivering a B2C experience tailored to the consumer market and prospective new business clients.

The Solution:

With the need for an enterprise level scalable ecommerce solution, our team delivered a highly customized implementation of Magento eCommerce. Larsen’s business needs were far from an off the shelf solution, and our Magento team implemented highly customized features and processes including:

  • Customer Pricing Algorithms

  • Dynamic Quantity Discounts

  • Custom Re-Order interface

  • Bulk Pricing Management



Cardboard is used to ship 90 percent of all products in the U.S.

Funding the Next Energy Entrepreneurs

Thursday, February 07, 2013 — by Ted Novak

The Task:

Energy Foundry is an impact venture fund with a focus on catalyzing entrepreneurs who are forming the revolution in Illinois energy. To coincide with the launch of their new venture, an online presence was needed.

The Solution:

We helped launch the new initiative online with a tailored CMS, featuring powerful messaging and an immediate call to action for entrepreneurs. With a goal of simplicity and uniqueness, the site educates while establishing an exciting new brand in the marketplace.



“The 2011 Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act authorized a $3.2 billion investment over the next ten years in Illinois electricity infrastructure improvements, including more than $1 billion in smart grid-related investments.”

Clique Studios Earns Three 2012 Silver Davey Awards

Thursday, October 25, 2012 — by Derek Nelson

Clique Studios is proud to be recently awarded with not one, but three 2012 Silver Davey Awards for website excellence. The International Davey Awards recognizes small businesses with great ideas and exceptional execution in interactive and traditional media. 

Our winning web site designs include Swingbyte (Sports Website), Park Grill (Food and Beverage), and Retrofit (Professional Services).  

It's an honor to be selected out of the nearly 4,000 entries as an example of the finest work around the world.  

Why did your web project fail?

Monday, August 13, 2012 — by Phil Orlandi

Here's the scenario: You have invested vast amounts of time and dollars in launching a new web and mobile site. You have trained everyone on the new features; and you have made their lives so much easier (or so you think).

Yet months later, people still persist in their old ways: Where are the business improvements you expected? And when will the disruption you're experiencing subside?


The fact is that organizations don't just change because of new systems or processes. They change because the people within the organization adapt and change too – they become engaged. Only when the people within it have made their own personal transitions can an organization truly reap the benefits of change. Have you set up your people for success?

The problem that many companies fall into is stopping with the “launch”. Did you know that 70% of major change initiatives fail after the launch or implementation? Why? Leaders walk away from the project before the change is rooted in the cultural DNA.


Assuming you are the person who needs to make changes within your organization stick, the challenge is not only to get the systems, process and structures right, but also to help and support people through these transitions. The easier you can make this journey for people, the sooner your organization will benefit, the more engaged your employees will be, and the more likely you are to be successful.

What was true more than two thousand years ago is just as true today. We live in a world where "business as usual" IS change. New initiatives, project-based working, technology improvements, staying ahead of the competition - these things come together to drive ongoing changes to the way we work.

You have to work hard to change an organization successfully. When you plan carefully and build the proper foundation, implementing change can be much easier, and you'll improve the chances of success.


Change leadership consists of two sides: a technical side and a human side. To achieve success, you have to address both sides effectively. Most new web site initiatives focus exclusively on the “technical side” of a given change: getting the site up and running. Yet the “people side” often goes overlooked, leading to resistance, frustration, disengaged workers, and eventual rejection of new initiatives by the employees who are impacted by supporting the change.

The illustration above is a peek into the importance of getting your people engaged on the changes and the important roles you play as a change leader. Do you feel you are set up for sustainable change? Are your people?

I Want to.... Give Away a Free Car

Thursday, April 12, 2012 — by Jeff Molitor

Marketing “currency” is your key to building an effective promotion that receives big attention. Win consumers, tie in with a cool brand, and engage an entire audience.

Ever wonder how can they afford to give a car away for free? As a marketer there is a tendency to think that a game-changing promotion offering away tens of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise requires a huge budget, along with huge expectations of delivery by your superiors.

It doesn’t, and it’s easier than you think to make it happen.

Lessons from the Lunch Room

Think back when you were in grade school devising a plan in the lunchroom (barter battleground central) to trade that Suzie-Q in your Mork & Mindy lunchbox for a week’s worth of Milk Duds and Mike & Ike. Suzie-Qs (and Ding Dongs & Ho-Hos for that matter) were major currency in the grade school lunchroom domain. It’s the same premise in the grown up world: you can use your media and marketing exposure as your own adult-world Suzie-Q.

Lessons from My Beagle

It happens in everyday life all around us. My beagle, Cooper, is a great companion who is stubborn as a mule but understands that the intangibles he can offer (those angelic eyes) can get him almost anything from the dinner table. Cooper’s asset is his ability to be the perfectly behaved dog at the perfect time with the perfect look. It’s his currency.

Define your currency and the approach to use it and you’ll have a great base from which to secure partner support at no cost to you.

What are You Worth?

To understand what it takes to make partnership opportunities happen for your brand, your category, or your company, do a simple audit of your assets and determine your own currency. The key is to define what is valuable within your current media and marketing efforts and place a value to each of those.

Look at your media and marketing plan and determine 1) what space you would be willing to provide to a potential partner (print, digital, broadcast, in-store, etc), and 2) the $ value of that space. You will be surprised at how realistic an opportunity it is to provide space to a potential partner, without sacrificing the real estate to your own brand, as well as the dollar-value you can offer to a partner to negotiate.

What Partner is Right for You?

Once a currency inventory and a value is determined the next step is to determine a “wish list” partner profile that aligns with your brand. Ubiquity in a partner offering (i.e. cars, electronics, etc.) is always a positive route unless you have a very specific need that requires a specific partner brand. Think big but not too big. Be aggressive in your approach but be realistic. When considering to offer up free product for a marketing initiative, most partners usually work off of an exposure-to-product value ratio - i.e. Cool Car Company may operate on a 20-1 ratio; marketing/media exposure to vehicle retail value. So as an example, Ford will offer up a free $30,000 vehicle (retail value) in exchange for a marketing and media value of $600,000 (20:1 ratio)

How Should I Approach a Partner?

Before approaching a potential partner, make sure to establish your full currency position. This includes the marketing and media asset and space to offer, but also the company/brand demographic and psychographic information, full media statistics (web hits, in store traffic, impressions and interactions, etc), and a full benefit statement for the partner to consider (the “why” statement). We also suggest compiling this information into your own 1-sheet format that is creatively designed to show the partner concisely what they are being offered. Make it easy for them to understand the opportunity at hand and not just another item on their ‘to-do’ list.

You will be surprised, not only at the volume of partners that will be receptive to your outreach, but also have internal directives (and budget) to make it happen.

Launching A Successful Promotion

And once you do land a partner (and you will!) be diligent in your efforts to monitor the promotion, measure its performance (the good and bad) and make the data available to the partner. They will immediately realize the value of the partnership. Based on how successful the program, you can use it to continue the partnership for additional promotions and increase the impact from there.

Seek an Advisor

Another good tactic is to use a go-between: a trusted third party that can work on your behalf to minimize depletion of your internal labor resources while providing an advisory role to help maximize your currency position in keeping you on track to make the right currency valuation and partnership opportunity.

Sleep Soundly @ Night

Another supposed obstacle in dipping the proverbial marketing toe in the partnership waters is the apprehension about the legal red tape that may be involved in putting together the program, both from a consumer deployment and a program liability perspective. 95% of this is a perceived obstacle and one that is overcome with the right counsel from the right advisor. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and help - align yourself with experts in their field and you’ll sleep like a baby at night (or during the day under your desk if you are George Costanza - any Seinfeld fans out there?).

...and please, let us know when that partnership kicks off for your brand. We want to have a chance to win a free car too.

Community = Opportunity. But don't blow it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012 — by Ted Novak

Your customers are people, and people are using the online channels to casually communicate on a daily basis. Many digital strategies focus on "attracting customers", but aren't we really talking about "engaging people"?

While SEO, PPC, Banners, Squeeze Pages and various other digital marketing strategies can multiply the size of your business and have huge ROI, there are other conversations going on online besides customers looking for products and services.  As technology has become more accessible and easier to use, it is becoming less and less of a "tool", and more of a "behavior".  Businesses need to realize that people will make their own choices on how to use digital media and ultimately engage your brand, be it through a search engine, mobile device, or through one of the various social communities.

The opportunity is to have a presence where the conversations are happening. 

A common mistake in this approach is abusing it.  Remember, it's a conversation you are trying to enter... nobody likes a loud mouth who interrupts and won't shut up!  Just like the rude person at the office, come on too strong and you'll quickly train people to ignore you at which point the opportunity is lost.

Instead, you need to bring something to the conversation that will naturally inspire engagement.  You are pushing product and services into a conversation you weren't meant to be in, and people did not expect to see you in.  Respect that and your chances for leveraging online communities will increase dramatically.

Clique U: The Curriculum

Thursday, March 01, 2012 — by Phil Orlandi

Change: Change is the price of survival.

  • Change management
  • Introduction to why and how we change
  • A Change Methodology: EPIC Process (Explore, Prepare, Implement, Consolidate)
  • Communicating Change
  • Managing Resistance
  • Championing the Change
  • Sustaining the Change
  • Do people really change?
  • Why change?
  • How do we change?
  • The four realities of change
  • Action planning for change

Leadership: Is there a there from up there?

  • Executive Coaching
  • Delegation
  • Identifying Talent
  • Identifying Priorities
  • Creating your elevator speech
  • The Hero's Journey
  • Behavioral Interviewing
  • Time management
  • Giving performance reviews
  • Management development
  • Leadership and Organizational Behavior
  • The High Performance Organization
  • Rewards and Performance Management
  • Organizational Culture
  • Teams
  • Leadership and Followership
  • Communication
  • Decision Making

Innovation: What is your six-word story?

  • Business Planning
  • The Hero's Journey
  • Web site does and don'ts
  • App or no app for your business
  • Corporate promotion 101
  • Creating and leveraging Facebook apps
  • SEO 101: “How to play by the rules and get on the first page of Google."
  • Why Brand design is critical for business relevancy
  • Ecommerce trends
  • Story telling in visual formats
  • Building a Micro sites
  • Building a Web site
  • Branding
  • Ecommerce trends
  • Going Mobile

Quality: Everything in business is negotiable, except quality.

  • Developing SMART Goals
  • Behavioral Interviewing
  • Giving performance reviews
  • Project management

Uniqueness: Not all those who wander are lost.

  • Business writing
  • The Hero's Journey
  • Web site does and don'ts
  • App or no app for your business
  • Corporate promotion 101
  • Creating and leveraging Facebook apps
  • SEO 101: “How to play by the rules and get on the first page of Google."
  • Why Brand design is critical for business relevancy
  • Ecommerce trends
  • Story telling in visual formats
  • Going Mobile

Engagement: The space between boredom and anxiety.

  • How to engaging your employees with your web site makeover
  • Action Planning: tips, techniques and best practices
  • Employee Engagement vs. Employee Satisfaction: What do you really want:
  • First Break All the Rules: A Book Club discussion and best practices
  • Employee Engagement in a mobile setting
  • Team Building
  • Managing Conflict

More Than Design

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 — by Phil Orlandi

Introducing Clique University: Sometimes we teach, sometimes we learn, but we always move forward side by side.

At Clique Studios, we believe it is part of our job to be your complete business partner. Our executive team has over 50 years of international business experience working with fortune 100 senior executives specializing in increasing revenue and improving employee engagement for their companies. We want to share that experience with you.

Launched in 2011, Clique University aims to be a learning organization rooted in the concept of helping companies help themselves. By providing seminars, workshops, conferences, white papers, research, and more, we share our knowledge in the hopes that we both will benefit. In its present incarnation on this website, it will serve as a running blog of what is happening at Clique, updates on future events, course offerings, and reading recommendations. Below are the pillars for success -- we will add further light to these in the coming days. We are happy to discuss your needs, tailor our offerings to meet your demands, or create something together.

Pillars of Success 

  • Change: Change is the price of survival.
  • Leadership: Is there a there from up there?
  • Innovation: What is your six-word story?
  • Quality: Everything in business is negotiable, except quality.
  • Uniqueness: Not all those who wander are lost.
  • Engagement: The space between boredom and anxiety.
We will check in on Thursday with more details on the curriculum. Until then!

More Information

Clique University

Launched in 2011, Clique University aims to be a learning organization rooted in the concept of helping companies help themselves. By providing seminars, workshops, conferences, white papers, and more, we give our knowledge away in the hopes that you can benefit.

In its present incarnation on this website, it will serve as a running blog of what is happening at Clique, updates on future events, and more. Stay tuned.


As we grow to serve an ever-larger group of clients, we're determined to never forget what got us here: a simple, entrepreneurial faith in hard work. We're looking for kindred spirits to join us.

Contact Us

Got a project coming up? We'd love to meet up or talk to you over the phone. Give us a ring today.


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