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Fresh Thinking

Counterintuity Wins PLATINUM at the 2018 National MarCom Awards

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The prestigious website award was presented to the Burbank-based marketing agency for the first time. Counterintuity also won a 2018 GOLD Award from MarCom.

Amy Kramer, President; and Lee Wochner, CEO of Counterintuity are thrilled to announce that their 11-year-old marketing and strategy company has won two prestigious website design awards from MarCom:


Platinum Award  – Top Honor – for Burbank Plastic Surgery’s new website (Business to Consumer Category)

“Previously, this client’s services were nested inside another website operated at the same facility, leading to customer confusion and a reduced brand awareness. Meanwhile, the lead plastic surgeon is highly recognized locally, and repeatedly awarded ‘Best of’ awards in local voting,” Wochner said. “Counterintuity’s goal was to communicate what makes them special — from copy to design — to show the impact that world-class plastic surgery could make, and to focus attention on the immediate calls-to-action: Call, Book a Consult, or Sign Up for More Information.”


Gold Award for Pasadena Symphony’s new website (Nonprofit Category)

“With sold-out pops shows in the Los Angeles Arboretum, and critically acclaimed concerts in the Ambassador Auditorium, tickets for the Pasadena Symphony are in high demand. The previous website (which Counterintuity also designed) made ticket selling easy; this completely new website made use of next-gen HTML5 capability to further brand the Symphony’s two recognized brand ambassadors by making them ‘pop out’ via a 3D effect. The goal was to improve the customer experience — and also brand awareness and ROI for the client.”

“We always approach every website design with a dual eye – aesthetics and function,” said Kramer, who also serves as the company’s Creative Director. “A website that looks gorgeous but is impossible to navigate is almost as inadequate as an ugly site with reasonable functionality. We pride ourselves on being able to balance these two critical principles to create dynamic user experiences that sell. These awards further confirm the value of that approach.”


MarCom Awards is an international creative competition that recognizes outstanding achievement by marketing and communication professionals. Entries come from corporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, design shops, production companies and freelancers. The competition has grown to perhaps the largest of its kind in the world. MarCom Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. The international organization consists of several thousand creative professionals. The Association oversees awards and recognition programs, provides judges and sets standards for excellence.

Being a Platinum or Gold Winner is a tremendous achievement symbolized by the intricately detailed MarCom statuette. The MarCom graces the trophy cases of some of the top business and communication firms in the world. Entries receiving scores of 90-100 are Platinum Winners. Scores of 80-89 are Gold Winners and 70-79 are Honorable Mention Winners. There may be no winners or multiple winners in a category. AMCP is the industry’s preeminent third-party evaluator of creative work. The organization has judged over 200,000 entries since its formation in 1994. Details at marcomawards.com


Annual Report for the Coalition for Responsible Community Development

By | Clients, Design | No Comments

When the Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD) requested an annual report, we felt an emotion that most might not: excitement. We actually love annual reports. Creating these informative documents presents a fantastic opportunity for our client to reflect on their company and a chance for our designers to showcase their serious skills.

The CRCD is a youth-focused, neighborhood-based program designed to better address the needs of low-income, working-class residents and small businesses in South Los Angeles. To put it simply, our friends at CRCD run an important, inspiring organization – and they deserved an annual report to match.

Our focus was on telling the CRCD’s story, illustrating its achievements, and sharing testimonials from people involved with and affected by its extensive community contributions. We knew images would be key to our vision, so we immediately scheduled a photo shoot. We included these photographs along with engaging infographics, which enhanced our bold design based off their colorful logo and vibrant branding.

There are so many fascinating aspects to the CRCD’s operation, and this project allowed us a deeper understanding of our client. We went through numerous revisions – tweaking text, trying different page layouts, adding new information – until the client had something that truly represented their business.

Want your next annual report to be something special? Make our day; shoot us a message and check out our portfolio of Print & Digital Design Work here.

Counterintuity w3 awards Pasadena Symphony

Counterintuity Wins a W3 Award for Pasadena Symphony & POPS

By | Awards, Design, Websites | No Comments

It’s nice to be recognized.

That’s why we’re feeling pretty proud of our 2018 W3 Awards Silver for the Pasadena Symphony & POPS website under the category Website Features – Visual Appeal – Utility.

With sold-out POPS shows in the Los Angeles Arboretum and critically acclaimed concerts in the Ambassador Auditorium, tickets for the Pasadena Symphony are in high demand. The previous website (which we also designed) made ticket selling easy; this completely new website made use of next-gen HTML5 capability to further brand the Symphony’s two recognized brand ambassadors by making them “pop out” via a 3D effect. As always, our goal was to improve the customer experience – and also brand awareness and ROI for the client.

We’re sure you’ve heard us mention the W3 Awards before – we’ve had the privilege of winning a few of its prestigious awards – but we can’t stress enough how great this organization is. The W3 Awards honors excellence by sifting through the digital world for the best websites, apps, social content, web marketing and video created by marketing firms of all sizes.

We’d like to thank this program for seeing something special in our website design – and congratulate the Pasadena Symphony on an award-winning website!

In the market for a digital upgrade? We’re happy to work our magic on your website, too. Contact us today.

Burbank Plastic Surgery

Digital Augmentation: Creating the Burbank Plastic Surgery Website

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Previously, this client’s services were nested inside another website operated at the same facility, leading to customer confusion and a reduced brand awareness. Meanwhile, the lead plastic surgeon is highly recognized locally, and repeatedly awarded “Best of Burbank” awards in local voting.

Our goal was to communicate what makes them special — from copy to design — to show the impact that world-class plastic surgery could make, and to focus attention on the immediate calls-to-action. The site features a profile on the “Best Of Burbank” Award-winning head surgeon and before-and-after surgery photos (utilizing an innovative web-slider) throughout.

In creating the new Burbank Plastic Surgery website, we have allowed both of the client’s businesses to have their own keyword-optimized, emotionally-on-point presences that speak to each entity’s ideal customer.

Can your website use a facelift? Counterintuity can help.

Counterintuity Marketing: Step I, Make a Plan; Step II, Improvise

Step I, Make a Plan; Step II, Improvise

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Great marketing agencies rely on equal parts preparation and improvisation to execute sales-driving initiatives. Without a positioning statement, marketing budget, and clearly identified goals, your marketing doesn’t have a starting point, and therefore really can’t start (at least, not on the best possible footing). On the other hand, without the ability to analyze results, react to trends in your market, generate new ideas, and learn from both mistakes and successes, unattended marketing can become stagnant – and, in the digital age, quickly irrelevant.

This is the first of two articles that you can consider before embarking on your own outbound marketing (or before engaging a creative agency such as Counterintuity). And if you’re having trouble addressing these items? We can help – that’s precisely what our custom Strategy Sessions are designed to do.


Positioning Statement

What does your business do and why do you exist? What’s the product or service that you provide and why is it important that you provide it? What is the mission of your business and what makes you unique in your field? (For more about the importance of your business uniqueness, check out our last post.) You may operate an ice cream shop or a manufacturing plant or an attorney’s office – but why?

Entrepreneurs: Why did you start this business in the first place?

Small business managers: You have marketable skills, so what keeps you engaged  at this company right now?

The answers to these questions, distilled into 3 or 4 pithy sentences, are the heart from which all of your marketing will stem.

Marketing Budget

How do you set a marketing budget? That can be a complicated question to answer, and depends upon what you’re trying to achieve, and how, and in what timeframe. All sorts of numbers get thrown out, and it’s not uncommon to hear that marketing “should be” 20% of your budget. After more than a decade in business helping clients set marketing budgets, we can say this about that: sometimes yes, sometimes no. Every business has its own opportunities, and has to evaluate them individually.

One thing we recommend unequivocally: Budgeted marketing dollars should be attached to expected results. If you’re not getting an ROI on your marketing, either your marketing or your marketing budget needs to change.


Setting reasonable goals can be tricky, especially with your business’s first foray into marketing. Whether it’s digital advertising you’re doing, or social media, SEO campaigns, or other strategic initiatives, there’s always a learning curve. Aside from the obvious mission to “get more sales” or, even better, “generate as many sales as possible,” we’d encourage your first-ever marketing plan to factor in these the achievements of generating awareness and solidifying your online positioning.

Awareness Within Your Industry

Even if you’re not closing deals left and right, the more your peers and colleagues are aware of your work (and your uniqueness!), the better poised you will be for greater success. There are many methods of increasing your supporter base:  From a social following to a built-up email list to event attendees, the more your ideal customers know you and what you do, the more likely you are to be hired, referred and considered.

Solidify Online Positioning

Search engine optimization is real! The more real links, press articles, legit blog posts, and backlinks there are that connect your business to your potential customers, the more likely you are to be found on the World Wide Web.

Of course, you want to sell – and we want to sell for you – but establishing a base in these critical areas will set you up for future success! Check back in a few weeks for our take on how to Improvise Within Your Marketing Plan.

Need help preparing to grow?
Drop us a line. We’ll break down our specially-designed small business marketing process. 


The greatest strength of your small business: you, exactly who you are

By | Strategy | One Comment

“Today you are you!
That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

     – Dr. Seuss

Sure it’s inspirational. Sure it’s even a little fluffy, but it also happens unequivocally to be true:

the greatest asset that your small business has is what makes you unique:  what you do, and how you do it, and who you are.

Counterintuity clients are used to a certain set of questions when we start working on their project, whether it’s a new website or anything else.

  • What are your services?
  • What do you do better than anyone else?
  • Which of your services are rare, highly thought of, or specialized?

These questions help us identify your uniqueness – that singular thing that gives your business value above your competitors. That uniqueness can take any number of forms, ranging from a highly specialized set of skills (like MKL who specialize in brokering the sale and purchase of insurance agencies – not a lot of folks even do that) to extraordinary ability (such as the Pasadena POPS, who can sport the international icon Michael Feinstein as their music director).

Sometimes that uniqueness is more nuanced—it could be a process, or a worldview, or a core value. If you are a plastic surgeon and you choose to use images of “real people” instead of photoshopped super models on your website because you believe in establishing reasonable expectations for your patients, you’re going to stand out from competitors who are happy to settle for the industry standard, despite its misleading pretense. More importantly, by establishing your uniqueness as informed by your core values, you’re going to speak loudest to clients who share in your beliefs and value your approach.

If clients value you, they will hire you and stay with you. (And we’re living proof.)

In a world of Amazon.com, outsourced services, and infinite price matching – it’s impossible for even the most highly skilled small business to compete purely on price. Small businesses need to compete on expertise, customer service, and core values. And the more specific your business is in expressing your uniqueness and core values, and then following through with your clients’ needs, the more successful you will be.

What is your uniqueness? How do you talk about it? We can help you figure it out.

Contact us for a complimentary 14-minute consultation. 


The 37 Doors of Indecision

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Sometimes, when it’s hard to know what to do and you’re confronted with many options, you try doing a little bit of everything. That’s like being in a hallway with 37 doors. The problem isn’t that you don’t have time to go through all 37 doors. The problem is that all of them send you back to the hallway – because you already know you’ve got lots of other options to pick from. And so…

You never get out of the hallway.

In my 25 years of working with clients, I’ve seen a lot of that. And I understand the allure. It’s hard not to ask yourself, “Wait! Let me just see what was behind that door.” And you check, and find it doesn’t lead anywhere useful, so then you’re back in the hallway, again wondering, “Well… maybe if I check just one more door…..”

And you wind up back in the hallway. And never make an actual decision.

What’s the opposite of endless options? Focus. And what is the number one thing that most very successful people say led them to real success? Focus.

Focused people still face just as many options as the rest of us. (Often more.) The difference is, they’re not opening each and every door to see where it might take them. They already know where they want to go, so it’s easy to rule out most of the doors because they lead someplace else. They’re good at listening for sounds coming through the door before they open it, and ruling it out if it doesn’t sound like where they’re heading. They may wind up trying a few doors to see if they lead to the right place – to their goal, that glorious place they can envision – but they’re not going to try all of them.

Sometimes, indecision is a symptom of bad decision-making. But more often, it’s a reflection of lack of focus. You don’t know where you want to go, so you try all 37 doors to see which room looks more alluring. The better way is to focus on what you’re trying to achieve, and to remove everything you can that’s in the way.

And then open the appropriate door.

East Hollywood Business Improvement District logo

In the News: East Hollywood BID Debuts New Logo

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Source: Hollywood Business Advocate Jan/Feb 2018

After months of research and development by the Digital Marketing Agency Counterintuity, a new logo for the East Hollywood Business Improvement District (BID) was recently approved by its Board of Governors. The logo was selected from a pool of potential logos that were inspired by the results of a survey conducted among property owners. This survey was distributed online, mailed, and conducted in person by volunteers who walked the district to ensure more accurate results. The results of the survey highlight a distinct identity for the district, one that is grounded in history but has developed into a funky and artsy area. This gave the BID’s marketing consultant guiding principles for the design and look of the new logo. This logo embodies the best qualities of East Hollywood that have made it a truly unique place with a rich history. The BID has not begun using the logo in all its communications and plans to place the logo on BID trash cans and street signs. This is one of several efforts the BID is launching to revitalize and improve East Hollywood.