Over our last 30 years, we have had the distinct honor of partnering with incredible organizations that have trusted us with unforgettable projects. So, in recognition of our 30th anniversary, we’re going into the vault and sharing 30 projects.
To see each of them, use the numbered tabs below.
Brunswick Bowling was one of ddm’s most unique accounts. It combined sports, entertainment, and product marketing all rolled into one client relationship.
Some of our initial projects centered around the business of bowling. We used actual bowling center proprietors to help promote Brunswick products like lane oil and pinsetter parts. We traveled around the country interviewing, photographing, and getting testimonials from some of Brunswick's most loyal customers.
From there, we branched off into helping Brunswick’s Capital Equipment division promote their latest line of bowling center furniture, ball returns, pinsetters, and automatic scoring systems and software. During that time, Brunswick was leading the way in Bowling Center Entertainment and was working to change the way people viewed of bowling “alleys." We spent a week in Las Vegas shooting a number of different age groups for print collateral and web. Digital photography was still in its infancy, so we shot Polaroids as test shots and had film developed every night to make sure we captured everything we needed, including unique and challenging midnight glow bowling shots.
Some of the most rewarding and challenging work was for the Brunswick ball group. Our goal was to promote their products in industry publications geared toward league bowlers. This included product naming, logo development, and product advertising. Brunswick allowed ddm to push the envelope in all three of those tasks. Brunswick had a very strong presence in the market but had lost market share to a number of competitors. We were able to help them carve out a niche with a strong line of high-performance balls that included a number of spin-off names. The logos were a unique project because in order to keep costs down during the manufacturing process, each logo had to be easily engraved in production and painted. The challenge was creating something with simple and continuous lines that could run through an automated process while still maintaining a unique and creative design. Previously, most bowling ball ads were very technical in nature. The image was typically the ball on the lane with charts and copy that explained the features and benefits. Brunswick let us push things and even allowed ddm to make the ball less of a hero in a “Never want to let go” campaign. We featured one actor who always had a Brunswick BVP ball in his hands. We shot him on the golf course, the movies and even in a delivery room. It’s the type of work you only get to do when the client has trust in you, which is typically only earned over years of working together.
The Brunswick partnership was one of ddm’s most unique and enjoyable experiences in our 30 years of serving clients.
Community Health Centers Inc.
Even as one of central Florida’s largest non-profit organizations, Community Health Centers, Inc. was struggling to increase awareness of its mission among key business and industry influencers. As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) caring for nearly 70,000 patients annually, CHC contributes more than $78 million in economic impact to the region and has a very strong story to tell.
Healthcare is where we shine, and this project was right up our alley. We worked closely with the CHC executive team to develop a targeted digital, social, and public relations strategy designed to reach community and business influencers in the greater Orlando market.
CSI: Bible Symposium
ddm’s partnership with Christian Schools International (CSI) began in 2017. CSI was looking for guidance on how to communicate all of its core services to member schools. What began as a communications audit and strategic plan development expanded to the development of a new website.
From there, CSI asked us to help promote its inaugural Bible Instruction Symposium. CSI leadership wanted to achieve full enrollment for the event, and we succeeded! There’s nothing better than giving our clients exactly what they hoped for.
D.A. Blodgett: Gala videos
D.A. Blodgett – St. Johns is a non-profit organization located in Grand Rapids, MI, that helps children and families by providing safety, advocacy, and support. The organization’s services include adoption, counseling, foster care, mentoring, and residential care. In 2018, D.A. Blodgett asked us to assist them with two videos: one to highlight the overall work that the organization does, and another to feature a foster child who was adopted into a new family.
These were emotional stories. These were important stories. They were meant to educate, challenge, and inspire. Projects like this allow us to flex our storytelling muscles to capture people’s hearts. It’s a privilege to know that the work we do has the power to impact lives and further the mission of selfless organizations.
Ferris State University
In the mid-1990s, two of ddm’s partners, Mark Blodger and Mike McCarthy, contacted their alma mater, Ferris State University, in discussions about a potential relationship. The education that was provided by Ferris State University had provided both Mark and Mike with the practical knowledge and skills to enable them to quickly succeed in their marketing careers. At the time, FSU was experiencing declining enrollment among both traditional (age 18-24) and continuing education (age 24+) students at its main campus as well at its numerous satellite campuses throughout Michigan. ddm partnered with FSU to develop campaigns that successfully accomplished several objectives:
- Increased enrollment among traditional students at the main campus in Big Rapids
- Increased enrollment among non-traditional working adult students at the satellite campuses, including an expanded campus in Grand Rapids
- Created a perception of FSU as a university that provides an applied education, which prepares students for immediate contributions to their employers upon graduating as well as preparing them for long-term success
The relationship between Ferris State University and ddm lasted for nearly 10 years, during which time the enrollment at Ferris steadily increased among all categories of students.
Frontier Computer Corp.
Frontier Computer Corp. has been a ddm client since 2013. The relationship began when Frontier was searching for a new partner to help manage its paid search campaigns in, what was then called, Google AdWords. Throughout the course of the partnership, Frontier and ddm have worked closely to develop annual marketing strategies that align with Frontier’s yearly business objectives. Frontier has also engaged with us for other services such as content marketing and social media.
What’s great about this partnership is the shared mindset and desire to accomplish the same goals. As an extension of Frontier’s marketing team, we share in celebrating their many successes.
Hastings Piston Rings
Our relationship with Hastings began in 2010 when they came to us asking for a new brand direction. From the beginning, we knew this first project was in our wheelhouse and we were excited to begin. Working closely with Hastings Manufacturing leadership and marketing department, ddm relaunched the Hastings Piston Rings brand reflective of its heritage—hard-working, built to last, and committed to leading for years to come. Pioneers, but always advancing as a global leader in piston ring technology. In a short period of time, this reinvigorated brand was applied across all facets of its marketing efforts. Key priorities within this effort included a refresh of both the Hastings Manufacturing logo and their “Tough Guy" mascot.
ddm's relationship with Haworth began in 2000 when we were asked to assist the company in building 27 product brochures. We met with Haworth’s product marketing teams to develop the messaging around product features and benefits. From there, we worked with writers to help craft the message and photographers to capture the product details. This was before the era of digital photography, so we had to pay close attention to the color throughout the photography sessions and print production.
This work was special because it leveraged the full power of our ddm team. Art directors were on-set while account leadership and project manager met with the client. In-house designers kept things moving in layout and at the printer. And, remember, this was all before cell phones! This was one of the largest projects ddm worked on in its early years, and it took over a year to complete.
ddm and HME Ahrens-Fox have been partners since 2013. The company is a leader in the fire apparatus industry. HME leadership asked ddm to assist them in developing a website that reflected the brand’s new level of production agility and integration of advanced technologies.
The website project involved a collaborative team made up of designers, web developers, and wordsmiths to develop a site that truly served HME’s audience and met its goals. But seriously, when you have a rugged 20-ton, sleek, monster machine as a product, everything looks cool!
Hurley Medical Center: Babies
Hurley Medical Center is a non-profit, teaching medical center located in Flint, MI. Our relationship with Hurley began in the early '90s. What was so fun about this project in particular was that many ddmers' kids were featured in printed materials we created for Hurley, including ddm principal Mark Blodger’s son, Ian, who was featured on billboards along I-96.
Hurley Medical Center: Bariatric Services
Since its inception, Hurley Medical Center had relied on a third party for management and marketing of its bariatric program. For business reasons, it was prepared to take these efforts in-house. The change would require Hurley to develop its own brand while maintaining the equity of the past five years in the transition. The relationship created between Hurley and patients was critical to the future success of the program.
ddm developed a presence by listening to past and present patients. Their experiences and feelings became the cornerstone for developing the voice and visual experience for the ‘new’ Hurley Bariatric Center. With their critical contribution, the Hurley Bariatric Center marketing campaign integrated advertising with website, literature, and seminars to offer Hurley a comprehensive lead management solution. Initial leads doubled over the previous best month—while still in ramp-up mode! Over 600 unique visitors have sought out the new website and over 10% of those people immediately filled out the contact page. On the first day of print advertising, over 200 calls were made to the Hurley Bariatric Center inbound call center.
Innovative Office Products
Late last year, Innovative Office Products acquired four complementary companies in a short period of time. With only a small internal marketing team, they needed swift and robust support to manage this sudden growth and new marketing opportunities. Innovative turned to ddm for expertise and additional horsepower in brand strategy, design, web development, digital media, and content creation.
Our first order of business was to develop a brand strategy for their handful of similar, but different companies and sales channels. The reorganization of brands then required the creation of a new overarching parent brand, and the rebranding of three of Innovative’s new companies. Launch of the new brands is scheduled for January 2021. ddm teams are working in an integrated capacity with the Innovative marketing team to produce all the necessary marketing collateral, websites, and launch campaign strategy and tactics.
ITP/The Rapid (previously GRATA)
Up until 2000, public transportation in Grand Rapids, MI, was managed by the Grand Rapids Area Transit Authority (GRATA). But a new partnership was created between six cities, known as the Interurban Transportation Partnership (ITP) with the outward service brand of The Rapid. ddm has had the unique opportunity to serve both entities and therefore own a front-row seat to watch the organization influence how public transportation evolved in a small, but growing, Midwest community.
In the time ddm has been partnering with The Rapid, it has played an instrumental role in educating the marketplace about transportation services, communicating the broader benefit of public transportation to our community, launching new services including the Silver Line, and developing a robust web/digital platform. In that time, ridership has regularly set new records and The Rapid has earned national recognition for its efforts.
Lumbermen’s: Great American Spaces
Lumbermen’s reached out to ddm to help the company create a new national brand based on products they acquired when they purchased Michigan PreStain. The vinage planking products were going to be sold in Lowe’s Home Improvement stores, and Lumberman’s didn’t have experience in selling a product line that had to be manufactured, branded, and marketed.
ddm worked with Lumbermen’s to develop a new brand from the ground up. Along with a new name—Great American Spaces—we helped create the brand identity and positioning in the marketplace.
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The Marshall & Ilsley (M&I) > Harris Bank > BMO Global Asset Management Story
In 2011, our original client contact at Old Kent Bank took a marketing role with Marshall & Ilsley (M&I) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He immediately called ddm to partner with him to streamline its marketing processes as we had done for him in his previous position. We set up an automated data workflow and quickly integrated all of M&I’s data-reliant mutual fund marketing materials to use it.
In 2012, Bank of Montreal (BMO) purchased M&I, adding it to its other U.S. affiliate, Harris Bank, and introduced the two firms as the new BMO Global Asset Management U.S. (BMO GAM). These combined companies worked with ddm to broaden the automated workflow to include all of the U.S. mutual fund marketing tools, revising these pieces to reflect the look of the already established BMO brand. ddm continues to work with BMO GAM on a wide range of projects from print to web.
Mercantile Bank: Bank Like A Somebody
Our relationship with Mercantile Bank began in 2009 and continued for a decade. One of our favorite projects began with Mercantile’s desire to reach out to personal banking customers. The organization was always strongly positioned as a commercial/retail bank, but it wanted to leverage its personal touch and skills in relationship development with consumers.
A campaign like ours —Bank Like a Somebody—had never been done in banking. It was thinking outside the box. The campaign highlighted a variety of different people who banked with them, to show that anybody could bank with Mercantile. It was truly innovative, and people couldn’t stop talking about it.
Read about more Merc work
Metro Health – University of Michigan Health
ddm began its partnership with Metro Health at a very unique moment. The organization had just begun a new affiliation with the University of Michigan Health System. The affiliation brought a new name—Metro Health – University of Michigan Health—and identity and changed the trajectory of Metro Health’s position in West Michigan healthcare. Our role in communicating the affiliation included:
- Developing a new visual and messaging ecosystem that signaled Metro Health’s revised position in the marketplace
- Communicating the value and capabilities that came with a Michigan Medicine affiliation
- Onboarding more than 100 employed physicians new to Metro Health through creation and distribution of relevant content, including social media program management, to reach audiences throughout West Michigan
- Developing inbound digital marketing efforts to be found online by key audiences seeking care across a wide spectrum of services
- Implementing physician communication tools to provide convenient access to system updates, service line capabilities, and referral resources
This was just the start.
Michigan International Speedway (MIS): Logo
ddm’s relationship with MIS began in 2004 and continued through 2018. In that time, we provided full-service advertising, literature, video, and media services. In 2007, ddm was awarded a huge opportunity to create and implement a new national brand identity for one of the 24 NASCAR tracks. In February 2008, we flew down to Daytona for Race Week to stand with the MIS president as he unveiled the new logo. The identity at a NASCAR track isn’t a simple logo on a letterhead. It’s everywhere: from permanent signage to wayfinding, banners and flags to merchandise, and facility branding, grass paint, and vehicles to official documents.
Michigan International Speedway (MIS): TV Ads
What’s not to love about this project? We had spots airing in the Daytona 500! It was consumer advertising at a national level, and it was a privilege to produce these videos. We were trusted with full access, up-close and personal with any and all drivers and locations, in the pits, garages, and trackside. It was an intensive and thrilling experience. The latitude and trust MIS showed in our team for creativity and execution was extremely rewarding.
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Mol Belting Systems
Mol Belting Systems, founded in 1986 and based in Grand Rapids, MI, is an industry leader in belting and conveyance technology in the checkstand, treadmill, and food/logistics categories. In fact, the reason most of the food-grade belting in the United States and Europe is blue is because Mol Belting wanted a higher-sanitary design than the standard white belt. So cool!
To better tell the company’s story and increase the amount of qualified leads, Mol Belting Systems partnered with ddm to build a modern website that matched the company’s rich history of quality and innovation.
While the initial architecture was being determined, Mol and ddm also refined and enhanced the Mol Belting Systems brand and honed its key messaging. Additionally, brand new photography and video was shot to better support the Mol story. The result is a cohesive, modern, and functional new website experience that works on any screen and speaks to the key audiences and industries Mol wants to reach.
ODL and ddm have a long history of working together. ddm has played a role in developing/revising its corporate identity as well as working with various categories of business.
One particular project was initiated with the retail division of ODL. The division had designed and manufactured a series of products to be available in retail stores across the United States. The products included tubular skylights, add-on entry door blinds, and retractable screens. Our efforts included developing positioning for new products, equipping ODL teams for presentations and line reviews, packaging, POS displays, and advertising.
Old Kent Bank > Fifth Third Bank
In late 2000, ddm got a call from a marketing executive at Old Kent Bank in Grand Rapids, MI, asking if ddm could help with a data-intensive 180-page quarterly PowerPoint presentation that showcased their mutual funds. ddm stepped in to update the presentation, impressing the client with our speed, accuracy, and can-do attitude. It was the start of something that has grown into one of ddm’s most successful business lines. In 2001, Old Kent Bank was purchased by Fifth Third Bank and the combined firms worked with ddm to develop an automated system to create and update hundreds of pieces of data-driven literature accurately and much more quickly than that work had been done in the past. The partnership continued and this business line has grown organically from there with each of our Fifth Third contacts taking us with them to their next job because they valued the partnership.
Priority Health: Marketing Automation
The ddm team has been assisting Priority Health with its marketing automation strategy since 2014. Our first project started with a variety of humble responsive email templates. From there, the ddm team integrated with Priority Health’s digital operations team to strategize and implement many automated multi-channel customer journeys. Using Salesforce CRM and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, we’ve been able to increase open and click rates, while decreasing bounce rates, customer service calls, and physical mailings. Most importantly, we’ve created quality digital experiences for members, agents, employers, employees, and providers.
What makes this client partnership so special is how truly integrated our ddm team is with Priority Health’s team. Our relationships run deep. It’s what sets us apart time and time again.
S-Curve Reconstruction (with MDOT)
ddm has a history of moving into office spaces near major construction areas. We survived the construction of the Van Andel Arena when our office was on Ionia Avenue. Then in 2000, we moved our offices to 100 Grandville Avenue SW, the building infamous for being closest to an interstate highway. This time it worked in our favor. We not only survived the S-curve reconstruction, we branded the communications campaign when we worked alongside Wondergem Consulting for PR. We created an awareness campaign for the rerouting that had to happen, worked on a website, printed materials, maps, billboards, and presentation materials for media events. The S-curve project was completed—and we're still in the building.
Our role with Spectrum Health started as a one-time project. The goal? To find a voice for Spectrum Health that resonated with the market but told the story of a health system that had become the preeminent provider in West Michigan. This ‘project’ turned into a long-term partnership for ddm lasting over six years. ddm’s role was to help Spectrum Health synthesize a variety of unique messages into a cohesive integrated presence and then amplify it to the market. Spectrum Health’s Greater Possibilities campaign helped affirm what people experienced within the health system every day.
ddm and Stiles have been in partnership for 10 years! What started with a new company website that enabled Stiles to easily house all of its machine options, highlight services, and explain unique offerings has expanded over the years to focus on some complex and evolving work between the two companies.
One of our favorites is the Assets and Machines List app. We securely process a nightly client feed that contains specific data to fuel the app. This provides up-to-date inventory information, gives access to a library of proposals for easy quoting on the fly, and houses a library of brochures, videos, and images to help a sales rep meet with a client in the field. Proposal requests and leasing information are provided quickly and accurately, which gives Stiles the upper hand in a fast-paced selling environment.
We look forward to our continued work with Stiles and anticipate many great and innovative results to come out of our partnership.
Get more of the Stiles story
Van Andel Arena
Turning vision into reality is much of what we have done in partnering with Van Andel Arena over the years. Our partnership began back in 2014 and, ever since, we have been assisting with various large format graphic projects like the mural that can be found in the venue’s restaurant called The Intermission and its 20th anniversary graphics. Most recently, in 2019, we assisted with new large-format interior graphics, designed and installed in the VIP room for events and shows. Seeing concepts come to life on such a large scale is a unique and rewarding experience.
Viking: Valve & System Support App
Viking and ddm partnered for a challenging but incredibly rewarding project: an augmented reality app dubbed the Viking Valve & System Support app.
This project was interesting in a lot of ways. For one, learning a new industry, especially a highly technical one like fire protection, always presents a learning curve. Second, this project encouraged our interactive team to explore new ways of developing one app for multiple platforms via Unity. And of course, the AR features were a whole new frontier for us that really stretched our knowledge and pushed us to stay on the cutting edge of app development.
We worked closely with Viking’s internal marketing and technical teams to develop an industry-leading app that continues to provide expert technical assistance to installers and service technicians in the field
View our full Viking case study
In 2017, Virtus Investment Partners acquired RidgeWorth Investments, a long-time ddm client. RidgeWorth introduced the growing firm Virtus to the services ddm provides, allowing us the opportunity to partner with them as their firm continues to grow. Since then, our work with Virtus has touched nearly every service capability at ddm: from websites, apps and email, to automated fact sheets, PowerPoint presentations, and printed materials.
We detailed how Virtus was able to double its online product offerings and consolidate data sources to our content management system in an online case study.
Zondervan: TNIV Bible in Rolling Stone
In the early 2000s, Zondervan was on the cusp of introducing a new bible translation, combining clear modern language with uncompromised accuracy. Targeting 18- to 34-year-olds, Zondervan committed to reaching its audience in the places where they were, including Modern Bride, The Onion, and Rolling Stone Magazine. But at the point when Rolling Stone received ddm’s ad, they suddenly had concerns about a bible ad in America’s most famous music publication. The ad placement timed to hit at Easter was suddenly in doubt. Coincidentally, Zondervan was scheduled for an interview with USA Today regarding their new bible. The circumstances with Rolling Stone delayed the Zondervan team slightly. What started as a quick apology became the cornerstone for significant national attention that included a full national coverage—far beyond what the ad itself could have ever expected.