What Kind of a Nut Buys a Phone Bank During the Great Recession, pt.3!

As some of you may or may not know, last year, against all conventional wisdom, I decided to buy the phone bank I've been using for the past 25 years. I've been running Standage Market Research  for a little over a year now and am excited to announce we've made a LOT of changes.

When I bought Standage from Ruby Standage's heirs, it was a pretty bare-bones operation. Just an old office space with work stations and phones (and rooms full of paper!). Ruby had never worried about branding or advertising the phonebank, but in order to make this business viable I think it's necessary to put Standage out there and show people what differentiates us. One of the first things we did was go about creating a brand for Standage - a company that has never had a website... let alone a logo!

To go about the logo, we used a service called 99designs.  I was very pleasantly surprised by how it worked - you essentially create a proposal, telling what you want, the colors you want (or don't want) and then submit it. Graphic designers all around the world look at your proposal and submit their designs. You can then poll people on which design they like better, or just pick your favorite... very cool! Once you decided, you pay the designer a flat fee, and the logo is yours. This is what we came up with:

I really like the way they incorporated the Denver Broncos colors into the logo, definitely gives a good representation of us being from Denver.

The second order of business was launching a website. Standage honestly has minimal needs for a website, but clients need to be able to at least look you up online. So  we created a basic website, which to me functions more or less the way the good old yellow pages used to [for anyone under 30 reading, you can Google yellow pages]. I think it came out better than expected. We use a site called Squarespace.com to build and manage the site. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out at www.standageresearch.com

 But the biggest update so far - for the first time since opening in 1987, we've gone digital! That's right, we've installed a CATI (computer assisted telephone interviewing) system.

Previously, we had been doing all of our surveys using the tried and true method of pencils, papers, and printed out samples. Honestly, there was nothing wrong with that system but it lacked some of the technological advantages that CATI systems offer like sample management and built-in logic and question randomization.  Plus, it eliminates data entry and the death of an awful lot of trees.  

It's been a big adjustment, especially for our phone bank manager Kathie, but with the help of a local Denver IT company, (Illumen) we've finally got all 25 computers in and the system is up and running. 

I was out at Standage two months ago to see the first survey done on the new equipment.  Last week in Denver I even managed to snap a few pictures.