Latest Big Ideas
We won’t speak for you, but we find ourselves easily swept along by the headlines today, headlines that tend to polarize rather than foster a thoughtful discussion. The latest rush to judgment involves responsive design, the design and construction of a website that allows it to adjust automatically to different screen sizes—desktop, tablet or mobile.
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Brand Thinking Blog
Posted on May 24, 2013 at 12:40 pm
One of the strongest and unique features that Point & Clique V6 offers is the ability to relate pages, sidebars and sections. For professional services firms, this is huge. This eliminates the tedious task of having to manually relate 50 professionals to one or more practice areas, industries, etc. This capability is not available in WordPress.
Another plus for V6 lies within the customization of the CMS itself. Because each page template is created with the client during the wireframe development phase, they aren’t left with fields that they don’t need (as you would be with an WordPress’ pre-defined templates). So while it might be a quicker development time if you were to choose an open source CMS, you would have no control over or say in the templates they provide. Another benefit is the same people who built this are the same people who are running your website and are there to fix it if something goes wrong. We talk to clients directly for suggestions and requests on how to make upgrades to our CMS (where it would be quite difficult to find the “higher power” who would take your input into account for WordPress). Also, when updates are provided for open source platforms, they have been known to crash sites without warning because they haven’t been tested properly. With V6, updates are tested to the fullest degree to ensure they will work on every single one of our clients’ sites before they are pushed live.
Organization is key in V6. While you can have multiple sites on a platform such as WordPress, they make it extremely difficult to toggle between the two and clarify which information belongs to what site. With V6 however, you can easily manage multiple sites all under one V6 installation and one login. Folder structure is another point in V6’s court; while pages, sidebars and media are already separated into default sections, you can also create an endless amount of folders within those sections to make a filing process that makes sense to you.
While WordPress and other open source platforms have media libraries, they are not nearly as enriched and robust as V6’s media center.
Another great pro with V6 is its extensive administrative capabilities. A platform like WordPress only provides users with a handful of pre-defined roles that have pre-defined capabilities. V6, however, allows you to create an infinite amount of roles and breaks out functions of the site in the most granular way so you can customize your users permissions in the highest possible way.
Posted on May 24, 2013 at 12:18 pm
Summer is approaching and that means people will be traveling and vacationing more. But instead of relying solely on a set itinerary or wandering around lost, why not give Field Trip a shot. Field Trip, by Google, is an app for iOS and Android that keeps you informed of the cool, hidden & unique things in the world around you. It is like having a tour guide right in your pocket.
At its core, Field Trip is a location-based discovery app that notifies you of all the interesting attractions near you. From historic buildings and statues, to unique museums and other hidden gems. Field Trip offers seven different categories to incorporate into your discovery search. Finding something you are interested in is a piece of cake. Categories include:
- Historic Places & Events
- Food, Drinks & Fun
- Cool & Unique
- Art & Museums
The best part of Field Trip is that it takes little effort on the users end to discover & learn about what’s around you. With three different notification frequency settings (explore, feeling lucky and off), Field Trip informs you only on what you want, when you want. All of this runs in the background of your phone. No need to have the app open for Field Trip to gather information about the new exhibit in the museum you just walked by or the band playing later at the restaurant at which you plan to have lunch. It will all be streamed in your phone’s feed based on your distance from the attractions. There are maps, images and social media sharing available, so don’t worry if you don’t have time to take in all the attractions that Field Trip finds for you. You can save locations, so the next time you are in the area, you can hit up your saved spots.
Field Trip is free and available in both the Apple App store and Google Play store. If you are looking for a little adventure, let Field Trip guide the way.
Posted on May 24, 2013 at 11:55 am
The handwritten thank you note—a small gesture of thoughtfulness that goes a long way of demonstrating thoughtfulness. But so many of us pass on this because who really wants to drive to a crowded store, sift through countless occasions worth of cards (Ferris Wheel Day? Really?), then head to the post office only to wait in line for what feels like hours to ship off this tiny card? Worry not, because Felt is here to save the day.
Felt is an incredible new app for the iPad that lets you a) pick out a card from hundreds of templates for numerous occasions, b) hand write your note (as well as the mailing addresses on the envelope) directly on your screen using a stylist pen and c) mail it directly from the app for a flat rate of $3.99. Genius.
There are many different categories of cards to choose from (birthday, thank you, graduation, etc.). When writing your handwritten note, you can choose from different colors of ink and pen sizes. The cards are printed on premium Mohawk card stock and sent in a Kraft paper envelope. So next time you go to send a quick thank you email after a client meeting, think again and try a handwritten thank you note instead.
Posted on May 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm
I remember twenty years ago or so there was a show on TV that put brand promises to the test. I can’t remember the name, but picture a host washing a grass stained baseball jersey in the washing machine thirty times using Tide and then comparing it to the same, brand new shirt. Is it really still just as bright and shiny as new? I miss that show because I enjoyed watching people challenge the integrity of advertising. I feel like as consumers, we really should know the exact quality of what we are paying for and not be filled with false expectations. Well the show has been off the air for years, but two recent examples of how the social media backlash of a brand not delivering what the consumers expect or want brought this show to mind.
This weekend, I watched Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey. The episode was based on a couple who owned a restaurant called Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro (it’s a horrible name, but we’ll let that go for now). This was one of the first times Gordon Ramsey has walked out on a restaurant in need of help because the owners were too difficult to work with. For one thing, they blamed the customers for everything and did not take personal responsibility for their shortcomings. Secondly, and probably all other points are not necessary, the owner screams at people who didn’t like their food and physically kicks them out of the restaurant. After the show aired, I imagined that 99% of the viewers agreed with Gordon that these people didn’t deserve any help. However, the Facebook war that broke out afterwards is a true testimony of the power of social media. People took to Amy’s Facebook page to call them out for not baking their own cakes, for being horrible people, for not paying their staff enough, etc. Then Buzzfeed, a blog with a huge audience, gave the story even more exposure. Not only was the public humiliation on the show not enough for these two owners, they still didn’t learn their lesson and took to their Facebook account to insult their customers who gave feedback as well. Believe me, I will be checking back in a month or so to see if this doomed restaurant somehow miraculously survives. (Note: the owners have since posted a statement saying they believe their Facebook page had been hacked.)
Similarly, I read an article about a branding misstep taken by the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch. He admits to pulling sizes L and XL for women off the shelves because he doesn’t want heavy women wearing his brand. He also chooses to burn defective clothes off the production line rather than donate them to the poor so that homeless people are not sporting his brand. Well, the public didn’t like being marginalized like that and so they took to the streets to do a grassroots campaign against Abercrombie & Fitch to “rebrand” them. They handed out Abercrombie and Fitch branded apparel to the homeless on the streets of LAs skid row. They also shot a video to get others to participate in the donation of A&F clothing to local homeless shelters.
In the 80′s, it took an entire show, production team and cable station to work together to expose companies for their brand not delivering its promises. Today, it takes one person, one computer and a Facebook or YouTube account to start an entire “rebranding” campaign. Social media can put the customer in charge of your reputation as well as the company.
Please contact Greenfield/Belser if you have any questions on how to strategize a successful brand promise that keeps with the integrity of your firm or if you need help managing your social media reputation.
Posted on May 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm
Let’s face it, Google knows you better than you know yourself. The entire purpose of this Internet powerhouse is to understand the psychological characteristics and motivations of people. Naturally, it has a five-star app that knows you better than your best friend does. Google Now is an intelligent personal assistant app that answers questions through voice command, makes recommendations and delegates actions through web services. You can search the web faster and easier!
Manage your day-to-day activities with helpful cards that include information you’ll need throughout the day before you ask. Google Now pulls your boarding pass for flights so you won’t have to go through your suitcase to find it. It will check the traffic to make your next appointment and you’ll receive a notification on when you should leave. You’ll never be late again. The app even sends notifications for when packages have been shipped or if they’ve arrived.
Google Now allows you to stay connected with news and vital information. The app also allows you to view real estates listings on Zillow showing you listings nearby and pulling up all the pertinent information about a particular house.
Sports fan? Google Now keeps you updated on your favorite sports teams in real-time, so you can stay on top of live scores and upcoming games. Get local with features that include public transit schedules, suggestions for nearby bars and restaurants and events around the corner you might have missed out on before Google Now.
The app has many cool features that illustrate how well Google knows you. It has been praised for its ability to remind users of events based on location histories and check-ins. One of the most notable features is the voice command action that lets you speak your commands into the phone and wait for results.
Posted on May 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm
I keep this ad on my desktop for two reasons:
One, it reminds me to exercise. It’s a shame that anyone needs a reminder to do so, but if you’re not an inveterate gym rat—and I’m not—you take your perspiration inspirations wherever you can get them.
Two, speaking of inspiration, great ads (and marketing) speak to the heart and to the head, in that order. This outdoor “ad” reminds me that great communications convey a brand promise. And they don’t need a lot of copy to deliver that message. In this case, one word is enough. Brilliant. Nike‘s brand promise is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. I’d say they are on brand with this particular execution.
Yes, I know selling sneakers or beer or mobile phones is different than marketing a relationship-based service—like law, accounting, consulting, investment advice or higher education. That does not mean that the advertising for these organizations needs to be dry white toast. Most ads we see in the category are descriptive, not distinctive, or worse: easy to ignore during busy days and nights.
Another point before I run. At least a select few firms are still invested in advertising. Most have abandoned investments like these in a tidal swing to business development. It’s our educated view that the great recession and budget slashing has led to the wrongful death of advertising in the professions. But what’s the true cost? For starters, core awareness, differentiation and communication quality responsibilities have been sacrificed. That’s a shame too. Kudos to those who still just do it. And even higher praise to those who do it really well.
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