Lowenstein and Associates, PC

Lowenstein and Associates PC is a small, family-run certified public accounting firm specializing in accounting software development.

Develop a strong visual identity, marketing strategy and website that establish the firm’s presence in the industry and help create new sales opportunities.

Lion’s Share created a new logo and branding, including trade show materials, while overhauling Lowenstein and Associates’ existing website to add improved functionality.

The new website and logo project the professional image the company was seeking while offering more efficient service to loyal customers. New brochures and other trade show materials have generated important sales leads, positioning the company for growth in the near future.

Customer Response
“Sharon and her team are terrific to work with. We needed a brand and an image and we needed to be educated about marketing—they have filled all of these needs. As we go forward we’re in a great position to build sales and grow the company.”


The Full Story

A licensed CPA firm Lowenstein and Associates, PC, develops regulatory-compliant loan accounting software for lenders. The company’s products help clients simplify the transfer of loan data, generate automated transaction uploads, manage construction loan servicing and other key functions. Founded almost 30 years ago by accountant Don Lowenstein, the company remains a small, family-run business.

While Lowenstein and Associates found its customer niche early on through word of mouth, acting as what Lowenstein refers to as a “pilot fish” to the larger companies that handled most of its sales, the firm was looking to expand its customer base. After two decades in business the still-relatively small company had limited resources but needed a marketing boost and a more comprehensive communications strategy that was integrated with its business goals. “We didn’t have the money to build an in-house marketing department but we needed someone with experience and insight to help us think bigger,” Lowenstein says.

Lowenstein and Associates also lacked an overarching visual identity across its marketing materials. The company’s logo—created shortly after its inception—was out of date, as was its website. With new products to offer, the firm started appearing at trade shows but needed help getting noticed and attracting customers among the sea of booths.

As a first step, Lion’s Share helped Lowenstein and Associates elevate its brand through a logo redesign. What had always differentiated the company from its competitors was its color palate of red and black, and Lion’s Share decided to keep these colors while adding oranges and gold to emphasize its energy and enthusiasm. The signature spiral with arrows emanating from the L was reimagined in a simpler, more concise design that captured the flexibility and dynamism of the software products while conveying confidence and reliability.

“Sharon’s team sent me dozens of logos to review and it really helped us to rethink what we were trying to communicate and what we wanted our image to be,” Lowenstein says. “She also helped us think through the process of transitioning from one logo to the other.” Logos were also developed for each of the company’s products, making them easily recognizable on the website and collateral material.

Instead of trying to mask the fact that Lowenstein and Associates was a small, family-owned business, Lion’s Share developed messaging that embraced the company’s story and emphasized its agility and personal approach to customer service.

Lion’s Share gave the company’s website an overhaul, adding functionality such as end user support via real-time help sessions with support logs on the company side. While the site had always offered software updates to customers, Lion’s Share added the ability to accept data files directly from a customer in need of more assistance.

Most recently, the company was preparing a booth for an annual trade show and, with the guidance of Lion’s Share, implemented a new marketing strategy to focus on its newest product, hoping to attract a single, large-scale customer. On a very limited timeline, Lion’s Share redesigned the trade show booth, giveaway swag and brochures with the specific pool of buyers in mind.

Over the years, collaboration with Lion’s Share has helped Lowenstein think through his organization’s objectives and how to best achieve them. “Sharon really got to know and understand who we are and how we do things. Most importantly she knew intuitively the best ways we could differentiate ourselves. In the great big ocean of software companies, we are a minnow, but she helped us to see that being lean and mean could be an advantage.” At the same time, Lion’s Share helped Lowenstein and Associates begin to professionalize its visual identity and develop a sound marketing strategy that carried across its web presence, collateral materials and trade show appearances.

At the recent trade show, customers immediately took notice of the focused booth and stronger marketing materials. “One of the leaders of the organization was walking around the show floor and saw our booth and remarked that it really stood out.” That interaction helped Lowenstein get the business he was looking for, with an opportunity to tap into the larger company’s customers and sell automated accounting software on a larger scale.

“Sharon and her team are terrific to work with. We needed a brand and an image and we needed to be educated about marketing—she has filled all of these needs. As we go forward we’re in a great position to build sales and grow the company.”

Spring Creek NeedleArt

Spring Creek NeedleArt is a small design business that specializes in quilting patterns for both retail and wholesaler markets.

Revamp the company’s visual identity and collateral while building a mobile-responsive e-commerce website.

Lion’s Share developed a new logo and branding for the company and built an efficient site with easy-to-use content management and payment systems.

The new website better showcases the company’s products, appealing to new customers and improving the purchasing process for existing customers.

Client Response
“Lion’s Share is equally creative and technologically savvy, always finding the right solution. I think they really understand what it is to be a small business and the particular challenges we face. I can’t say enough about how wonderful this experience was and how happy I am with the end product.”

The Full Story

Founded in 1988, Spring Creek NeedleArt produces applique and pieced-quilt patterns for both retail and wholesale customers. The company’s emphasis on accessibility and products for all levels of interest has attracted both novice and seasoned quilter. The patterns are carried in stores around the United States as well as in nationally distributed catalogs such as Annie’s, Nancy’s Notions and Keepsake Quilting. Since the company has never operated a bricks and mortar storefront, Spring Creek’s website has played an important role both in facilitating direct to consumer sales and serving as its most visible signpost.

The original Spring Creek NeedleArt website was developed by company founder Nancy Richoux in the 1990s who tackled the project with true DIY entrepreneurial spirit. “This was back in the time when any website was a good website,” she says. For its time, the site was efficient and useful: Customers would place an order and mail a check. In the 2000s, Richoux added the ability to take credit card payments online, though it was not a one-step process. She continued to update the site by hand-coding each new product and feature herself.

However, over the next few years Richoux realized that the site—her most important interface with customers—was no longer fulfilling her needs. With over 70 products, all the maintenance became unwieldy and the site itself wasn’t keeping pace with technological and design developments. In particular, it wasn’t mobile responsive and the e-commerce features were sorely out of date. Worst of all, her Google ranking was sinking, making it even less visible in searches.
Along with the website, Spring Creek’s visual identity—defined only by a characteristic but now dated font—was due for an overhaul.

Lion’s Share worked closely with Richoux to first rethink her brand’s identity and part of that process was educating her as a business owner about the importance of a proper logo. “I had several phone meetings with the Lion’s Share team about the world of quilting and our average customer and what might speak to them. We really wanted the design to resonate with current and potential buyers.”

After a few rounds, Richoux and the team settled on the current logo—the N for NeedleArt is now fashioned to look like a needle with a blue thread run through its eye. “I love that it’s very subtle and yet customers have really noticed it.”

With the revamped logo in place, Lion’s Share designed new pattern fronts or packaging for the patterns that feature the new look.

The next order of business was rebuilding Richoux’s website, using a content management system that would simplify her process of adding new products and images on a regular basis. “There’s no coding necessary. I can just upload an image and type in the price and name and it’s ready to go.”

The new site is integrated with Paypal, streamlining and securing the payment process for customers as well as adding a shopping cart and other commerce features. “Before I would manually have to take the credit cared information and process the card myself on online and email the customer when the transaction was complete. This way, it’s automatically processed which is a great timesaver.”

The site also got an aesthetic upgrade, with the new logo setting a cleaner, more contemporary tone and a more intuitive and searchable interface. A slideshow displays exciting new products and gift ideas, while the homepage also shows the most popular categories. Best of all, shoppers can now view and purchase items from any device.

The initial response from both individual customers and distributors to the new website and logo has been one of pleasant surprise. “Some said they were not entirely sure they had landed on the right page, at first because they had been so used to the old site,” Richoux says. “They can see right away that it’s more of the moment. It’s much easier to navigate now, with both the navigation bar on the top and some of the product categories pictured as you scroll down the home page. There are multiple ways to find the product you’re looking for and this is very useful for boosting sales.”

Working with Lion’s Share made what might have seemed like a daunting process quite easy. The entire job, which took about three months, was seamless, Richoux says. “Along the way Lion’s Share kept us apprised of what was going on, and they always wanted to know about my customer base, which was very important to me. Sharon and her team are equally creative and technologically savvy, always finding the right solution. I think they really understand what it is to be a small business and the particular challenges we face. I can’t say enough about how wonderful this experience was and how happy I am with the end product.”

Districts Mutual Insurance

Districts Mutual Insurance is an insurance consortium representing 16 technical colleges in Wisconsin. The 10-year-old company processes $6.5 million in annual premiums and delivers risk management services and consultation to its college members.

Build a highly secure, user-friendly website with a public face and private, members-only resources.

Lion’s Share, working in conjunction with associates furryLogic and Casey Weeks, developed a multifunctional website with defined, readily accessible segments, robust search capabilities and features that bolster interaction between members.

The site’s ease of use reduces administrative burden and improves DMI’s operations. A boost in registration numbers means that more users are taking advantage of the DMI website, positioning the company for better communication with its customers as it continues to expand its offerings.

Client Response
“I’ve been told that our new website looks like a website for a $100 million insurance company. Working with Lion’s Share was an excellent experience. The company’s reputation precedes it and we couldn’t be happier with the final product.”


The Full Story

Districts Mutual Insurance (DMI), a cooperative insurance company, supports the 16 schools of the Wisconsin Technical College Districts system. In addition to providing cost-effective insurance coverage, the company also offers risk management services and consulting to its members. Since its inception in 2004, DMI has grown these services, including targeted loss control programs and quarterly instructional training.

Even as the company expanded, however, its website wasn’t keeping pace.

DMI’s website was initially created when the company was formed. Over the course of a decade, the design had been tweaked but the site was sorely out of date. “We were outgrowing the ability to address the needs and wants of our customers,” says Steven Stoeger-Moore, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

The site, which drew 150 registered users, required multiple passwords, each for a different functional area. Users would routinely lose track of their passwords and request assistance from DMI.

DMI administrators were also fielding calls from members who had trouble locating documents they needed. With over a thousand such files, the website that should have been an efficient “one-stop-shop” resource was in essence creating more work for staff.

“It was hard to keep everyone appraised of what they needed to do and where they needed to go,” says Geri Justinger, administrative consultant. “As the number of our files grew, the unwieldy website became more and more of a problem.”

When DMI approached Lion’s Share, the organization knew a new website was in order. “We realized that we needed more than a Band-Aid for the problem this time. We needed to wholly redesign the site,” Stoeger-Moore says.

Enlisting the help of interactive designer Casey Weeks and furryLogic web development and consulting, Lion’s Share worked closely with DMI staff to develop a smart “workhorse” website that would at once serve as DMI’s public-facing resource and as a clearinghouse for private and proprietary customer information such as policies, templates, white papers and forms—no small feat.

The two distinct sections of the website had to be segregated and secured, with a single login and password for each user that would enable access across all functions.

A robust search capability, which was missing from the original website, was incorporated in the design, allowing users to quickly locate the documents they needed. In addition, users would now log in to a personal landing page with their own files and relevant information, eliminating the need for convoluted searches.

The new site also added features such as a shared calendar for keeping track of activities and appointments, as well as a forum where users could communicate among themselves.

Upon its unveiling, the response to the new site was immediate and enthusiastic. Users commented on the clarity of the design, the intuitive navigation and the accessibility of key information.

With its added functions and inviting interface, Justinger says the new design has encouraged users to engage more frequently with the site. Registration numbers have jumped and she anticipates that the number will continue to grow, helping the company to reach a larger audience and keep its customers informed of best practices, while facilitating more interaction and information sharing between college members.

Alleviating the administrative burden will in turn accord DMI the resources to focus on what it does best—developing more resources and services for its customers.

Projecting a polished, professional image, the site signifies a new era for the company. “One of the actuaries I showed it to remarked that it looked like a website for a $100 million insurance company,” Stoeger-Moore says.  “Working with Lion’s Share was an excellent experience. The company’s reputation precedes it and we couldn’t be happier with the final product.”