Wow, how time flies! I can’t believe we’ve been building brands for companies for 15 years now. I think it’s only fitting that I use this important celebration as the excuse to begin blogging again!
Here’s the story of Hummingbird Creative Group, Inc.:
In 1995, I was working for a small non-profit doing event planning, graphic design and marketing, and decided it was not the right fit. I moved on with no idea what was in store for me next, starting a design business called Design by Wendy. I walked into the Cary Chamber of Commerce Expo that year and it all began! There I met Michael Currin of Greenscape, Mike Anderson of Advent Screenprinting and Ken Pasfield of Carolina Job Finder, our first 3 customers – thanks so much to all of them for helping me get it off the ground!
My philosophy was simple… if someone asked if I could do it, the answer was yes and I would figure it out from there! In 1996, I hired my first team member and began doing business as Hummingbird Designs.
From 1995 to 1998, we served as a boutique graphic design firm, providing typesetting services, illustration and logo designs to small start-up companies in the local area. From 1998 to 2000, Hummingbird expanded into a brand identity firm, expanding services to include all the elements of branding from stationery to brochures to signage and promotional items. During these early years, work was done only on a per-project basis.
In 2000, just in the nick of time, the company began formulating a retainer model, offering customers full-service branding and marketing outsourcing for a fixed monthly fee. This strategy increased regular cash-flow, helping the company survive through tough times in 2001 and 2002 in the aftermath of September 11.
Since 2002, the company has continued a model offering both project fees and retainer programs to meet different sizes of companies and different budgets. This has led to increased revenues and greater financial stability for the company.
In more recent years, technology services have become imperative to the marketing world. In 2003, the company began offering web services, and we now offer everything from web design and development to search engine optimization to email blasts and personalized urls.
Since 2005, the firm has developed strategic alliances with several different companies to introduce a full-range of web marketing services through a division called h2 Interactive. Beyond website design, we now offer email marketing and tracking services, search engine optimization, online press relations, landing page consultation and design, content writing, pay-per-click consulting and personalized URL’s, which are a new wave that ties a direct mail piece directly to a personalized website and has been shown to increase the response rate of direct mail campaigns from 2% on average to as much as 9%. We believe it’s imperative to stay current with these industry trends.
The talent of the Hummingbird Creative team, along with wonderful clients who allow us to do great work, has brought us many accolades over the years, including:
2009 MAME Awards Best Logo – Inwood Forest
2009 MAME Awards Best Brochure for a Community – Inwood Forest
2008 Bronze Summit International Design Award – The Business Clinic Logo
2007 American Graphic Design Award – The Castleton Group Website Design
2007 American Graphic Design Award – CORE Building Company Logo
2006 American Graphic Design Award – Special Events Rentals Promo Card
2006 American Graphic Design Award – Carolinas Wireless Association Logo
2006 American Corporate Identity Award – Footlights Logo
2006 American Corporate Identity Award – execUchange Logo
2006 American Corporate Identity Award – Heritage Aesthetic Dentistry Stationery
2006 Bronze Addy Award – Hummingbird 10th Anniversary Logo
2005 Silver Addy Award – Iatria Print Ads2005 Silver Addy Award – Silver Medal Campaign
2005 Silver Addy Award – Regional Addy Campaign2005 Bronze Addy Award – Urban Blends Holiday Labels
2004 Gold, Bronze, Judge’s Choice Addy Awards – Urban Blends Identity, Web, Labels
2001 Silver Summit International Design Award – Cornerstone Architecture Logo
2001 Bronze Summit International Design Award – Cirrus Technologies Logo
2000 Silver Summit International Design Award – Pit Stop Tire Service Logo
2000 Bronze Summit International Design Award – Encore Events Logo
1999 PICA Award – Classic Coffees Stationery
2010 Business Leader Top 50 Entrepreneurs Award
2008 Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle Award
2008 Business Leader Impact Women Business Owners
2007 Business Leader Women Extraordinaire/Movers & Shakers
2007 Cary Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year
2005 Triangle Business Journal Women in Business Award
2004 Triangle Business Journal 40 Under 40 Leadership Award
2001 Cary Chamber of Commerce Employer of the Year Award
1999 Cary Chamber of Commerce Successful Achievement Award
Hummingbird’s team members are encouraged to participate in community initiatives as volunteers, and we hold many board and committee positions, including:
2007 – 2010 Hospice of Wake County Board of DirectorsThe Carying Place Board of Directors
2010 W5/Wake County Women’s Center Bachelor Bid for Charity Planning Committee
2006 – 2010 Carolinas Wireless Association PR and Technology Committee Chairs
2003 – 2007 Hospice of Wake County Big Bad Ball Planning Committee2006 – 2007 Cary Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors
2004 – 2007 Capital City Club Young Executives BoardGreater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Communications Board
2007 NCSU Entrepreneurial Education Initiative Board of Advisors
2005 – 2006 Cary Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee
Capital City Club Membership Council
2005 Chair PR/Marketing Advisory Committee for Hospice of Wake County Foundation
Greater Raleigh Chamber Economic Dev. Communications Task Force
Cary MacGregor Rotary Communications Committee
2003 – 2004 Ad Club of the Triangle Board of Directors – Addy Chair
2003 NCCBI Small Business Advisory Board
2002 Hospice of Wake County Looking Glass Auction Planning Committee
1998 – 2000 Cary Chamber of Commerce Small Business Committee
Cary Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors
National Association of Women Business Owners Newsletter Committee
Our team members also frequently speak on topics such as branding, marketing, advertising and design, including presentations to NAWBO, the Kenan-Flagler Business School, Wake Tech, Durham Tech, the Capital City Club, The Women in Business Today Television Show, SCORE, the Cary Chamber of Commerce, the Wake County Realtors Association, the EwomenNetwork, the International Special Events Society, the Castleton Institute, Cary High School, the Specialty Coffee Association of America, NC State University, Wake County WBON and the American Institute of Architects. Staff members also frequently judge ADDY competitions in other markets in the Southeast.
Hummingbird Creative Group has offered discounts and pro-bono design work for many community organizations over the years, totaling over $350,000.00, including:
Ad Club of the Triangle
Assistance League of the Triangle
Capital City Club Young Executives
Carolina East Hospice
Carolinas Wireless Association
Creating Assets Reaching Youth (C.A.R.Y.)
The DeWayne Washington Foundation
Downtown Raleigh Alliance
Greater Triangle Crimestoppers
Hospice of Wake County
Jack Fanning Memorial Foundation
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
NC Association of Community College Trustees
National Association of Women Business Owners
The Recovery Advisory Network
Veterans Freedom Project
Women Business Owners Network of Cary
Women’s Center of Wake County
Our company core values are as follows:
- We demonstrate CREATIVITY on all levels by pursuing continuous excellence in maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit; defining and following the design process; working with our hearts as well as our heads; exploring multiple perspectives to determine the best solutions; and surpassing client expectations as well as our own expectations.
- We demonstrate RESPECT for ideas and individuals through telling the truth; doing the right thing; understanding human and cultural differences; consideration of others’ wants and needs; and rigidly adhering to the company’s core values.
- We demonstrate EXPERTISE in our industry by maintaining stringent selection criteria for staff and partners including: exhibiting results of a well-rounded background; excellence in areas of both creativity and strategic planning; maintaining fact and diplomacy; exhibiting self-confidence, pride and enthusiasm for work; and knowing how to listen to really hear the needs of clients and coworkers.
- We demonstrate REWARD by providing an environment in which we recognize excellence in staff and partners’ work; encourage participation in competitions and shows; and recognize and encourage excellence in local student work by providing venues for student shows and competitions.
- We demonstrate SERVICE by actively participating in the community to industry organizations grow and thrive by serving on boards and committees, as well as help local charities grow and thrive and provide venues for fundraising.
Please join us as we celebrate 15 years in business – we’ll be announcing many fun events this year and hope to see you all there!