Much to blog about.

National Down Syndrome Congress logo

Bohlsen Group enhances National Down Syndrome Congress brand

June 24, 2015 | by Karen Hurt

Bohlsen Group was first introduced to the National Down Syndrome Congress when NDSC held their national convention in Indianapolis last year. When we started to work with them on refreshed branding and a new website, we had to overcome one of the organization’s biggest challenges—few people knew what they did annually outside of Convention. The team at Bohlsen Group started the website process by addressing brand issues within the NDSC to make sure they started out on a solid foundation that would serve the organization for years to come.


Our team conducted interviews with NDSC staff, professionals, board members, and families to clearly understand NDSC’s work and brand. From there, we created a brand guide to unify the organization’s voice, bring the nonprofit’s work to the forefront and position Convention as a program of the NDSC, rather than the most important part of the NDSC. The Convention is internally referred to as a “family reunion,” and family was a theme that ran through many of the conversations we had with the NDSC.

After we streamlined the brand information, our design team went to work to address the visual portion of NDSC’s brand. We took the existing NDSC logo and colors, unified the colors to one palette, and strengthened them to mirror the new, focused brand.

Read more about rebranding from Bohlsen Group: Six Signs It’s Time to Rebrand and Revolution vs. Evolution

The NDSC website BEFORE

The NDSC website BEFORE

Website Design

One of our biggest challenges was addressing the large amount of content and functionalities of the site. As the NDSC acts as an encyclopedia and go-to resource for family and friends of individuals with Down syndrome, the site includes a large repertoire of informational content. Our team drafted a new site map and web content to organize this robust content based on the organization’s newly approved brand guide.

“With the extensive volume of content the client needed to provide its audience, it became apparent that in order to achieve an optimal user experience—particularly, avoiding overwhelmingly long pages—we would need to create regulated ‘levels’ of exposure to the site content with collapsible content that had the ability to continually expand, as needed, revealing deeper context on a specific topic,” said Terry Million, Executive of Creative & Experience Design, who oversaw the project.

Screenshot of new National Down Syndrome Congress website

NDSC website created by Bohlsen Group

“We’ve coupled this approach with a robust search system that allows users to quickly retrieve various types of content, whether it be standard page content, related post data or even external document content hosted on the site, for increased accessibility of the all the information on the site.”

The Bohlsen Group web design team worked closely with the NDSC to transfer all the functionality of the old site to the new one, while our content team clearly organized all the information in the site framework and within pages. The design team also helped to create solutions within the site to present all the information in a way that wouldn’t be overwhelming.


The new NDSC website launched in April 2015, generating positive feedback about the streamlined user experience from staff members and end users alike.

Bohlsen Group also trained the NDSC staff on using the new site, so that they will be able to maintain and change the information easily in the future within the existing framework. The National Down Syndrome Congress does extraordinary work for people with Down syndrome and their families. A new, more functional website further positions them as a go-to resource for individuals affected by Down syndrome.

Interested in more nonprofit case studies click here.

The Bohlsen Group employees volunteer with Girls Inc.

We Want to B a Part of the Change

June 19, 2015 | by Vicki Bohlsen

This post originally appeared on the Indy Hub blog.

Our company mantra is simple: I want people and clients to do well when they are with Bohlsen Group and to do even better if/when they leave. I understand that running a marketing and public relations agency isn’t going to save the world, but I’ve always made a conscious decision to make an effort to drive more than just capital.

So, when I heard about B Corp certification, measuring social and environmental impact for business, I was more than excited. I was moved… into action.

By voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance, I could make a statement about how I think all companies should operate both internally and externally.

This year, Bohlsen Group became the only certified B Corporation in Indiana, and I hope that many more follow us in Indianapolis and around the state.

I want the staff to thrive mentally, emotionally, physically and educationally while employed at Bohlsen Group.

We create this experience by committing to internal continuing education opportunities; allowing staff to volunteer on company time; implementing flexible work schedules, including work-from-home Mondays; and creating initiatives for health and wellness including incentives for biking or walking to work.

It’s why we sponsor events like IndyHub’s IndyVolved 2015 and encourage our team to find a space to volunteer.

I want clients to receive comprehensive strategic planning and execution, with open and consistent communication and proven results, at the fairest price possible.

We create this experience by focusing on nonprofit client work; offering a generous pro bono and an automatic give-back program; matching board financial commitments for staff; providing free seminars and ongoing education to the community; and saying no to clients for which we don’t think we can make a difference.

Do you think it is possible for a company to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems?

I do. The B Corp certification endorsed what I wanted potential hires, clients and the community to know about Bohlsen Group. Bohlsen Group is committed to showing the world that not only do we care for the health of the company, but also for the health of its employees, the community and the environment.

To be a great company, we have to have great people at the company – people who also want to do good for themselves and for others. More than nine in 10 Americans look to companies to support social or environmental issues in some capacity, according to the 2013 Social Impact Study.

By the year 2020, 40% of the workforce will be millennials, so it is extremely important to consider how to attract and retain these individuals. Consider these findings in a recent study by Intelligence Group:

  • 64% of them say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place.
  • 72% would like to be their own boss. But if they do have to work for a boss, 79% of them would want that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor.
  • 88% prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one.
  • 74% want flexible work schedules.
  • 88% want “work-life integration,” which isn’t the same as work-life balance, since work and life now blend together inextricably.

One of our staff members, Jake Doll, puts it best in what he looks for in a workplace:

Millennials are terrified of losing their personal hopes and passions in a cubicle. I feel strongly committed to becoming better—personally and professional. During the work day, I listen to podcasts, walk on the treadmill (or outside) to stay active and collaborate with others to enhance creative projects or strategies. These are all aspects of my day that Bohlsen Group provides and supports. I love working for a company that encourages me to improve in more ways than just being more efficient with spreadsheets.

I know that there are plenty of companies that have the same services as Bohlsen Group, but we strive to have a different effect than our competition. Bohlsen Group isn’t only committed to being the best in Indianapolis, but to being the best for Indianapolis.

Chopsaver recording video at Bohlsen Group

How to get the most out of your agency relationship

June 11, 2015 | by Mandy Bray

Partnering with an agency for your marketing and public relations can be a powerful experience with new energy and results for a brand. Agencies bring a new perspective, insights on your target audience, and a team of experts to expand your team’s capacity and implement ideas.

Yet, not unlike personal relationships, what starts out as a high-energy, client-agency relationship can sometimes slide into mutual frustration by the end of a contract. What goes wrong?

Mandy Bray Bohlsen Group

Mandy Bray

I’ve been on both sides of this equation, as an in-house specialist managing an agency and now as an agency director. While the fault can fall with both parties, here are some tips on how you as a client can design a true partnership wired for success—and get the most return on your marketing dollars.

Make them a part of your team

Think of your marketing agency as an extension of your in-house team. It’s important for your agency team to have access to know what’s going on in your organization as a whole. They might pick up on something that you never thought of as a public relations opportunity or glean insights about the structure of your organization that helps understand your needs and process.

Some practical ways to do this might be:

  • Include your agency in your monthly marketing meeting or call
  • Invite your agency to your annual conference
  • Give your agency a chance to interview an executive about the business

If you’re concerned about confidentiality, communicate clearly which information should or should not be shared publicly.

Set benchmarks

Services, particularly public relations and social engagement, can be hard to quantify, but don’t let that keep you from asking for benchmarks and goals up front. While limited, industry metrics such as impressions, number of placements, engagement, etc. are fantastic touch points to discuss at the beginning of a relationship to align your expectations with the client. If you aren’t sure what a realistic metric is for your brand or campaign, choose an agency with expertise in your industry that can recommend goals benchmarks for you.

Six months down the line, you can come back to your original goals and plan for reference if you feel that you’re losing focus.

Give access to analytics

Sometimes on the agency side, we work extremely hard, pull off the campaign of a lifetime and proudly send a stellar report to our client. We might hear “Great job!” but we don’t always hear the end of the story. How did the customers react? What effect did it have on your sales?

Don’t leave us hanging. Tell us how our work impacted the big picture of your marketing. Even better, give us access to your Google Analytics so we can watch the magic happen. On the other side, if a campaign falls flat, we want to be the first to know so we can adjust our tactics.

Consolidate services

Corporate marketing and public relations plans often resemble a sticky web of disconnected vendors and constantly changing platforms. Rather than wasting time communicating your different initiatives and messaging to a separate media relations vendor, social media vendor, website vendor, etc., find an agency that can streamline your process by managing multiple facets of your marketing plan.

Simplify approvals

To make your brand relevant, you need to create and publish timely content. Don’t make the mistake of asking your agency to write a topical blog post, which then takes three weeks to approve through multiple channels and departments, which will then no longer be relevant by the time it’s posted.

Before you begin work, build a workflow of who needs to approve which documents. If it’s more than two people on your side, try to consolidate your internal process. If you are in a regulated industry with legal approvals required by law, make sure to have this discussion with your agency upfront as it will change the nature of what content you should pursue.

Ask for an audit

Most companies have some functions that are managed in-house and others that need the extra help or special expertise of an agency. If you trust your agency, ask them to provide an audit of your annual marketing plan or other aspects of your marketing to help make recommendations for ways to improve. You hired us to make you look good for your clients; let us do the same when it comes time to present to your boss.

Don’t settle for less. Your agency experience should be phenomenal! What are the qualities of the best agencies you’ve worked with? Tweet to us at @BohlsenGroup or drop us a line if you’d like to work with us.


Phrases to stop using today in your communications

June 9, 2015 | by Mandy Bray

Bohlsen Briefs Marketing tips from Bohlsen Group Indianapolis

In writing a press release or other external communications pieces, it’s important to avoid hype and words that don’t add value. Consumers, especially millennials, have an acute awareness of when they are being marketed or sold to; make sure that your self-descriptions are earned. Most commonly, the culprits are adjectives.

Mandy Bray, Director of Copywriting at Bohlsen Group shares several words and phrases of which you should be wary. Andrew Hayenga hosts this installment of Bohlsen Briefs.

Download our takeaway to get Mandy’s advice on the phrase you need to stop using today in your communications.

Dunkin' Donuts

Indy Loves Donuts

June 4, 2015 | by Mandy Bray

If there’s one thing Indy loves, it’s racing. Checkered flags adorn houses and businesses from Meridian Street to the Speedway during the Month of May, proudly displaying Indianapolis pride.

Marry that with donuts, and you have an irresistible recipe for success. When Bohlsen Group partnered with Dunkin’ Donuts in the Indianapolis area to create a local campaign to excite Indy-area fans, we might have underestimated just how much this city would love donuts and racing in the same bite.

Bohlsen Group worked with Dunkin’ Donuts to create a local campaign to excite Indy-area race fans.

Local stations including WISH, WTHR, RTV 6, WRTV, and WIBC covered the limited-run checkered donuts as part of their race week coverage in addition to online news stories by The Flyer Group and The Auto Channel. On social media, word spread quickly. Bohlsen Group jumped in to coordinate media drops and social sharing from the new @DunkinIndy Twitter account in a one of the busiest weeks of the year for the city.

Did you miss out on the checkered flag donuts? Here are some other reasons to be excited about donuts in Indy:

National Donut Day

Don’t forget that this Friday, June 5 is National Donut Day. Stop by any of the 15 locations in Greater Indianapolis or six locations in Greater Ft. Wayne to receive a free donut with the purchase of a beverage (excludes Croissant Donuts and Cheesecake Squares).

New CHIPS AHOY!® Donuts

Beginning June 1, Dunkin’ Donuts introduced a new food and beverage lineup featuring the classic flavors of OREO® and CHIPS AHOY!®, available through summer at participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants nationwide. Donut varieties include the CHIPS AHOY!® Crème Donut and CHIPS AHOY!® Crunch Donut.