Zeal40: The Creative Agency

Zeal40: The Creative Agency

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Our new graphic design columnist offers tips and strategies to help give your marketing plan a boost this spring.

Like every other Cincinnatian, the ladies behind the Zeal40 logo were lobbying hard for Punxsutawney Phil not to see his shadow on Groundhog Day and get the spring show on the road. Like you, they’ve seen enough gray skies and are counting the days until they can bring out those white jeans and strappy sandals.

Cincinnati natives Nicole Fariello and Stacy Koenig, cofounders of creative agency Zeal40, understand the pain of our seemingly endless winters and are looking ahead to spring. They’re leading their clients through what could be called “spring cleaning”; dusting off anything that needs a refresh and opening the windows to reveal a new and improved brand. Zeal40’s suite of creative services can also help you position your brand for growth potential by connecting you to new clients and delivering an even better experience to existing clients. Meeting your brand’s marketing, design and strategy needs is their passion, and their many years of creative experience can bring your vision to life.

Every industry can identify “trends”, and they’re not all fickle, fly-by-night ideas that will come and go. Paying attention to seasonal developments and changing trends in your industry can by dizzying. The Zeal40 team invites you to listen in as they highlight some ideas to give your brand the spring boost it needs.

Tell your story with photos:

The right professional photos can truly elevate your message. Those images can help define who you are and what you do. Do you even remember when you last had a headshot taken? (The selfie you took when you were having a good hair day does not count.) If it is more than a couple years old, or two hairstyles ago, it’s time for a new one. Spring and summer offer so many more options when it comes to outdoor photography, so now is the time to get a photoshoot on the books. Stacy advises highlighting your brand’s personality and culture with photos of your team, the services you offer, and your products. Think outside the box to put forward creative images of your services and products in different environments to make a statement.   

Color Theory:

Spring means ushering in a fresh, vibrant color palette. This may also be the ideal time to think about your brand’s color strategy. Your product probably already has a color “story”, but do you need to add secondary colors to help decipher product or service lines? Perhaps you need to streamline or simplify your brand guidelines. Refreshing icons, colors or fonts periodically helps keep your brand current. You might even need a complete stylistic overhaul and bringing in fresh eyes should be part of your strategy to make that happen. The team’s advice is to determine a brand message to ensure consistency and differentiate you from your competition. 

Enhancing your Web presence:

Think about how potential clients are finding you. Chances are, it involves a web search, at which point they will land on your website. Take a hard look to determine if your site really tells your story. Do the content and photos offer a true reflection of your image?  If your website redesign was a New Year’s resolution that failed by January 17th, you’re not alone. It’s something that slips to the back burner again and again, but it’s time to put it front and center on your to-do list. If you’re not taking advantage of the latest technology to really tell your story, and your photos and content don’t offer a current reflection of who you are, what you do, and why you’re relevant, it’s time to seek professional guidance. 

Put it in Print:

Yes, many of you are focusing more on digital content, and sustainability and eco-friendly options are top of mind, as they should be. But knowing how and when to incorporate print material into your strategy is crucial. If you attend tradeshows and conferences to promote your products or services, the need to stand out is vital. From the eye-catching design of your booth to the promotional materials you use, smart design will attract the right consumers. Stacy notes that Zeal40 does this kind of work for many of their clients and cites the importance of giving potential customers the right overview and contact information. New printing techniques can help you make the right choices when choosing items you want to use as promotional materials for your business.


Making your mark in a crowded field means exploring all avenues of advertising. There are many ways to advertise, some you may not even have considered, so seeking expertise in this area is the key to spending effectively. Not every type of marketing is right for you, and you need to be sure you’re getting the most bang for your advertising buck. Considering that small businesses may want to spend between seven and twenty percent of revenue on marketing, you want to spend well. Choosing an agency with expertise in this area will help you make the best use of your marketing budget, no matter which end of the range it falls.

Cutting Edge:

While video is not exactly cutting edge, it is something many businesses do not utilize to their full advantage. Video is a platform that every business can capitalize on. Social media outlets and websites are ideal places to post video, and video can be a vital means of communication at conferences, tradeshows and events. Even email campaigns can benefit from short videos.

Zeal40 can help you create the ideal video, from pre- to post-production, and can even edit existing footage. Stacy and Nicole feel that personalized video is especially important and is helpful in multiple settings; company recruitment, internal or external communication, announcements or presenting services.

Now is the perfect time to recharge your brand with new, invigorating ideas. Zeal40 would love to help you fine tune your marketing plan to give your clients a true and clear picture of who you are. Reach out to chat!