Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Taking your website to the next level Part 4

Today in Part 4 of taking your website to the next level we look at Mac vs PC.
This isn't about a chubby uncool guy and a cool hip guy standing side by side arguing over how Mac is better. The reality is they both co-exist and your website should look appealing through the various browsers.
Mac tends to use Safari or Mozilla, PC business users tend to use the default browser that comes with a PC, Explorer.

As you research this you come across a term, cross platform compatibility. One of Microsoft's cruel little jokes they played on humanity was Explorer 6.0. The code was such that it was nearly impossible to have a complex coded site appear on other browsers the same way it appeared on 6.0. This problem has been somewhat corrected in subsequent versions but there are still issues.

If you're not an advanced coder you may want to hire a company to assist with this all important part of your website development. That's why it's important at this stage to make sure you have your website content and look finalized. Because each time you need to go back to the developer, he or she will require more money to do the arduous cross platform browser capability testing and tweaking.

A handy link to see how your current site appears across the board is here Any Browser

Coming up next time, broken links and real text.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Geo Location - the new big buzz word

Geo location is, according to marketers, the future. The ability to have your smart phone tell you where the nearest vendor is, or what the special of the week is etc. Is geo location just a big blur to you?

Here's an excellent article that spells out some of the future directions and usages for Geo Location.

Geo Location

Monday, March 29, 2010

Taking your website to the next level - Part 2

Flash or no flash.

Motion is key on a website. You need it to be carefully planned out though, so that your visitor doesn't get whiplash trying to follow all the animated this and motion that, and not know where his/her eye should be going first.

However with motion, you also have to take into account the mobile factor. Smart phones don't... do...mobile. Mobile browsing only represents about 3% of the North American browsing market but it is a growing sector.

So if not flash, what's the alternative? Animated gifs are an older technology, however they can definitely accomplish the task.

Pros?
Your visitor doesn't need flash installed on his computer and can view through a mobile browser.

Cons?
The file size of the animation is a bit larger than a flash animation, and animated gifs won't allow the visitor to interact with the graphic.

Tomorrow, PC verses Mac viewing experiences.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays | finding the next great job

As we work our way through our careers occasionally we ponder about next opportunities. Enter the online job sites. There have been quite a few appear in the market place in the last ten years. It's difficult to make your brand stand out from the pack. Humour has been used effectively in this category.
Career Builder.com has been featured in the past in this space and today they make their second appearance with a series of new and older creative.

The goal of course is to try and establish water cooler talk and viral buzz.
Have you ever felt like you were on an island and no one "got you" ? Imagine how this woman feels.



And just in case that commercial didn't hammer things home, try this one.



Someone very wise once said, put kids or cute animals into your commercial and people will remember you. I think cute monkeys gets you bonus points.



And finally, the commercial billed "too hot for tv". It's a bit locker room and not everyone's humour to be sure. However, you can rest assured this will go viral.



These commercials are extremely entertaining. Our concern, would be the minor focus on the brand at the end. But with a proper media concentration and the feel good factor they would definitely translate into positive ripples; especially if the campaign is mirrored by out of home and static transit visual reminders so the logo has uninterrupted association with the already established television and online creative.

And let's face it, if it goes viral, the success quotient for brand retention tends to be high from sheer repetition.

Comments and suggestions for Creative Excellence Fridays are always welcome. Coming up Monday, more on "taking your website to the next level." Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Building your website. Taking it to the next level.

You're rebuilding the new website. Are there some rules you should be aware of? Things to avoid? Absolutely.

Rule 1
Sitemap is king.

Refocus your sitemap to ensure it reflects your current focus of business. If you have added services don't punch them on to your webpage as an ad on like a sticky note. At Ontrack we call it "re-funneling". Your sitemap is the equivalent of a blueprint for a house. You wouldn't start building if you hadn't made the determinations on what the house was going to look like, where the rooms are and how it will work best for ease of access for you and your family. A sitemap serves the same purpose. Don't be in a rush to dive into your website.

Take the sitemap for a test drive. Put it into a graphic form with major categories and enough detail of the content that it really starts to make sense and take shape. Bounce it through the major decision makers to ensure you've clearly prioritized company sell channels and that the key selling propositions are clearly stated.

Rule 2
Choose your colours wisely.
Don't choose black and white just because it looks cool. Similarly don't feel you have to be boring and choose ultra conservative themes. Try out your color choices on a mix of people before you get too far into your design.

Use colours to re-enforce the brand. Use colours to separate important ideas so it guides the eyes in conversion directions you are desire.
Colorcombos.com
Try the colours on for size. Here is a link that allows you to see various web colours side by side.

You can type in the Hex # for your established brand colour(s) and try out other colours beside them. Get a 2nd and 3rd opinion but most importantly, trust your gut.

Rule 3
Design. You talkin' to me?
The colours above roll into rule #3. What is the flavour you're going for visually? What fonts will you choose with the colours? Will the logo work nicely with your choices? Let your competition be your first benchmark. See what they're doing. Then research non competitive sites that are going after the same demographic and psychographic. It's like trying on a new shirt, or dress. Do a screen grab, drop your logo onto the site. If the immediate reaction is, yes I can see myself walking down the street with this, add that site to your design palette. You don't want to copy another site. You do want to feed it into the creative well, let it gestate with other visuals and ideas and the end choices for YOUR site will start to become very clear and unique.

Tomorrow is Creative Excellence Fridays. Please join us for a celebration of creative. Monday we'll resume with building your dream website - tips to take you to the next level.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

SEO Wednesdays - Ontrack Communications

Today part 1 in a series of checklist tips to keep in mind when looking at your website.

Everyone wants their site to be THE site your market/audience finds and drops by on a regular basis. Here are 2 quick tips to start the wheels in motion in making that happen.

Rule #1
Your website is like highschool. The more popular you are, the better. The more people who link to your site (incoming links), the more google regards it as a destination worth visiting.

Rule #2
Keep an organized pantry.
If you go into a store and everything is placed all over the place with no structure or logic, you get frustrated and soon leave. If you have a choice of going to store a, the organized store, or store b, you'll choose a every time.
Websites work the same way. If the visitor finds what they're looking for, they'll appreciate stopping by more often. And Google and Bing feel the same way. If they are able to find searchable text, Alt attribute text, and keyword-containing hyperlinks that support terms used on the page they'll rank you higher than your competition.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

TV Networks win the first battle in Canada

The CRTC has backed the television networks in the first go round of the "TV Tax" wars. CBC is the loser in this first set up rulings as they are told they will not be included because they are publicly sponsored.


Here is the release from Marketing Magazine.


Those CTV and Global shows that come into your home courtesy of a cable or satellite company could soon hike your monthly bill–or even face sudden blackout.

Canada's struggling broadcasters won their fight to negotiate a fee for their signals with cable and satellite providers after a landmark ruling by the country's telecommunications regulator Monday.

However, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said it wants the Federal Court of Appeal to review the new system before it kicks in.

If the court gives the green light, the industry will be in for a wild ride. Suddenly, cable and satellite companies would be forced to negotiate with conventional broadcasters for payment to carry their signals–a move broadcasters have argued will level the financial playing field.

The cable and satellite firms have already warned they'll pass those costs on to consumers.

TV stations would be able to withhold their signals completely from a cable or satellite company if they don't like the way negotiations are going.

In the United States, viewers saw this month what can happen when there's such a dispute: there was a short blackout at the beginning of the Oscars broadcast.

On the other hand, broadcasters will give up all their protections in the current system if they opt for getting paid for their signals. A cable company can drop them from their packages and give them whatever position they want on the dial.

Some broadcasters might prefer not to negotiate and simply live under the current system, which the CRTC says is their other option.

The CBC has been excluded from the new regime.

Private broadcasters will also get more flexibility in how much they spend on Canadian programming and how they move it around their various stations.

The CRTC now says it will look at how much a broadcasting group, including specialty and pay channels, spends on Canadian programming as a whole. It will require 30% of its spending be on Canadian shows, but will allow those networks to divvy the share up among all its channels.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Social media nightmare - Nestle



We all agree that social media is here to stay. Interfacing with grandkids and friends on Facebook has become as common place as picking up the phone. Facebook Nestle

But when a corporate Facebook account goes as wrong as Nestle's did last week, it gives pause for thought. If you follow the thread of posts on Friday, you start to see where choosing the person to respond to customer posts is key in the success or ultimate failure of social media.



The individual responding should do the following:

Be helpful, courteous, polite and most importantly agree to pass on any concerns to a higher power. When the social media corporate response person fuels topics into a debate that causes the stream of posts you see here, that person is completely inappropriate for that position.

It also goes to show that having an aptitude for social media is not enough. Public relations and social media departments need to be joined at the hip with clear cut policies for issue handling that will distinguish issues before they spread out of control. It's true, some fires will spread no matter what. But how you handle them is paramount to the success for failur of the campaign.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays Spring in the air

With two warm days in a row in Toronto, spring is in the air. Today on Creative Excellence Friday's, commercials designed to warm up the cockles of your heart and inspire you to put the mukluks on the top shelf of the closet and the winter parka into mothballs.

Today's first offering has a bit of a spring theme; but I'll say no more about it.
Credits:
Agency: WCRS, London Client:Transport for London Director: Dom & Nic Production Company: Outsider





And while we're on the spring theme -- here's a spot that fires on all cylinders and borrows heavily from the Nike playbook.




And one more Lance .. for the road.



Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tiger coming back

Tiger Woods is back. Well he will be soon enough. One might argue is Augusta the right tournament? It's such a huge affair (no pun intended) in golf; wouldn't it be better for him to make his return in a lower key event? I think it doesn't matter. No matter what it will be a media circus so this is probably as good as any event to try out the new clubs and get back into the swing of it.

Swingin'Tiger

In advance of Creative Excellence Fridays, here's a silly commercial which seemed to put way too much effort and expense towards a real let down pay off.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wired Wednesday Lions Gate uses Social Media

This Moment digital marketing in San Francisco has put a complete social media launch program together to help Lionsgate films promote their new movie "Kick Ass".

In other online news, Google's appetite for acquisition is continuing.

Google and online review company Yelp are in advanced acquisition negotiations according to TechCrunch. The price is supposedly at least $500 million.

Yelp was founded in 2004 as a way to let users leave reviews on local businesses. Comscore puts worldwide traffic at nearly 9 million monthly unique visitors, and it has been growing fast – the company says it’s real numbers are more like 25 million monthly uniques.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Colour Color, any way you spell it, it's a powerful emotional motivator

When approaching a new brand, aside from the logo itself, the second most powerful choice is colour when shaping a client's brand.

In a 2004 College Student Journal study, ninety-eight college students were asked to indicate their emotional responses to five principle hues (i.e., red, yellow, green, blue, purple), five intermediate hues (i.e., yellow-red, green-yellow, blue-green, purple-blue, and red-purple), and three achromatic colors (white, gray, and black) and the reasons for their choices. The colour stimuli were referenced from the Munsell Colour System. The results revealed that the principle hues comprised the highest number of positive emotional responses, followed by the intermediate hues and the achromatic colours. The colour green evoked mainly positive emotions such as relaxation and comfort because it reminded most of the respondents of nature. The colour green-yellow had the lowest number of positive responses because it was associated with vomit and elicited the feelings of sickness and disgust. For the achromatic colours, white attained a large number of positive responses, followed by the colors black and gray. The reasons for the colour-emotion associations are discussed and future research areas are suggested.

When guests check into the Chateau Avalon Hotel in Kansas City, Kan., they get to choose the colours they are feeling.

In each of the boutique's 62 hotel rooms is a two-person chromotherapy whirlpool spa, where guests can pick the colours they want using a touch pad.

The theory is that colours have healing energies and evoke certain emotions. For more on colour please look back to our January 7, 2010 blog.

Colour and emotion

Monday, March 15, 2010

Youtube introduces Mobile

Youtube has long been accused of not monetizing their property properly. They have probably been wise, however, in allowing more time for people to migrate to the site and make it an integral part of their online activity. Now that this has happened, Youtube is now aiming to the next great sector of online activity, mobile.

Youtube Mobile

Friday, March 12, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - Coke and Bubble Tweet

Happy Friday all. We know some of you are experiencing spring break with family. For the rest being left behind, below is a commercial from Coca Cola that definitely feeds you with some summer fever. Coca Cola's Australian division took the reigns on this one. All I want to know is, where do they sell those wind machines???



Next up, it's been getting a lot of buzz this week. It's BUBBLETWEET. What is BubbleTweet? It's a video add on to your regular tweets page. And a lot of people are quickly jumping on the band wagon. You can record up to 30 seconds of video of yourself, or upload a 30 second clip of any video you have on your computer to a Bubbletweet posting page. You can then in turn load that tweet up on your regular Twitter or even Facebook page. What is the purpose? Well, finally the web has an answer for the age old question "How do you write sarcasm into a line of text?"

Here's an example of a BubbleTweet loaded up by someone recently. It's a series of outtakes from CSI Special Victims unit.



Celebrities like Donnie Wahlberg are hopping onto this because it allows them to make a more human connection with their fans. The same can be said for anyone reaching out to contacts and associates in business.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Retail space - the past or the future of retail?

There is a misconception that people are flocking from the malls to online shopping. Yes people are getting more comfortable purchasing online, without question. But there are exceptions to this trend. Have you ever wondered into a Mac store on a Saturday afternoon? At Christmas time I attempted to purchase an Ipod at the Mac store in Manhattan. There were security staff helping ensure people were able to negotiate the stairs safely going in and out of the store. Shopping at a Mac store is truly an experience better spent in the company of other "mac-ites". Asking the staff which is a better fit for your habits. Do I really need THIS much memory? When is the new (fill in blank here) coming out?
Think of it this way. Would you drive a car without test driving it first? You need to have your hands on the keyboard. You have to picture yourself in front of the laptop. Pick it up. Feel the weight, the smoothness of the case against your fingers. You get the picture.
And with a growing trend of fashion designers online, many still need to touch the fabric, see if the European sizing really is in line with North American equivalents.

We are far from declaring the "experiential" walk in experience dead. Long live retail.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sense memory cinnamon goodness

Sense memory is defined by "Wisegeek.com" as something which is used in two very different ways. In the first way, it involves the interaction of the senses and the memory, and the ways in which certain sensory stimuli can trigger memories. People may also evoke the concept of sense memory in the context of an acting technique known as affective memory, in which actors attempt to use their senses to put themselves into the mindset of their characters.

For advertising purposes we obviously want to draw on the memory of that porridge smell from the kitchen you remember when you were five. The smell of cedar burning in the crisp air from the ski chalet last weekend. One a distant memory, one an ongoing memory; both drawing your mind to positive association.

How do we entice a consumer to pull the trigger on a purchase decision? There are two influencers. Price (rational) and feeling (emotional). Price may be the key motivator on some decisions, but ultimately if you, as a skilled marketer, are able to hardwire the emotions to rational thinking, you'll always come out ahead.
People want to own a Mercedes, but it's difficult to justify the extra cost. However, when it's proven that that particular Mercedes also is proven to be the best in its' class in crash safety tests, a huge lightbulb, no spotlight goes off in your head that screams "JUSTIFICATION". And there you have it. You are the owner of one of the finest pieces of automobiles every crafted, plus your family benefits from the added safety. They got you on both fronts. You didn't stand a chance.

Tomorrow - Retail space. A dying breed or a new launch pad to consumer connection?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sally Hogshead - The Jagermeister

Last week at the Art of Marketing Seminar Sally Hogshead spoke about Jagermeister. She asked: "Who has drank Jagermeister?"
Many put their hands up. "Who likes the taste of Jagermeister?"
Very few put their hands up.

The point she was making was that this is a beverage that's consumed as part of an environment, an experience; not for the taste. It's consumed when people are in full party mode and generally already well on their way to feeling no pain.

It also proves that, with the right "emotional hook" you can sell almost any product when you surround the right combination of experiences and "sense memory".

At Ontrack, we have always acknowledged our primary driving force is to build the hook around a primary unique selling proposition of the product, and determine the "emotional trigger."

Sally talked about some other trigger points for why people make decisions.

1.Mysticque - the lure of unanswered questions.
2.Power - controls and tells us how to act.
3.Lust - creating a craving, an openess.
4.Alarm - threatens negative consequences.
5.Prestige - Who doesn't want to own the best.
6.Vice - tweaking convention.
7.Trust - Personal relationships built over time.

And finally, to tie in with the title of her new book "Fascinate" we couldn't agree more with Sally's final point; be fascinating on Google. When we set up clients with their SEO we know how important it is to have that little group of words that defines them perfectly chosen. For future customers, their very first band exposure will come from their first experience from the little Google search window.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Art of Marketing Part 3 - Sally Hogshead

Sally Hogshead, author of the new book Fascinate, has a considerable background in creative and selling. Not just products, but herself, having written her first book in 2003 when she was going stir crazy on a medical leave after a difficult child birth.

At that point she wrote her first book "Radical Careering". These are the foundations of that first book.

    Radical Truth 5:
    Quality of work, quality of life, or quality of compensation. Pick one.

    Radical Truth 12:
    Luck is for wimps.

    Radical Truth 15:
    Aspire to be the dumbest person in the room.

    Radical Truth 19:
    Being in a crap job isn't your fault. Staying in a crap job is.

    Radical Truth 31:
    You can be comfortable, or outstanding, but not both.

    Radical Truth 47:
    Results + reputation + network = your market value

    Radical Truth 55:
    Never allow the size of your mortgage to exceed the quality of your work.

    Radical Truth 67:
    Mistakes are tuition.

    Radical Truth 77:
    Expect people to say you can't make it.

    Radical Truth 99:
    Expressing your truest self is the ultimate competitive advantage.

Tomorrow.. Sally's views on jagermeister.com

Friday, March 5, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - Tim Hortons, the debate

If you watched the Canadian feed of the Olympics coverage last weekend you saw a Tim Horton's commercial called Welcome Home that was said to have been "based on a true story".

It featured a new Canadian family with a heart wrenching tale of a family reuniting at the airport, seeing snow for the first time and being greeted with a parka and a cup of Tim Horton's coffee.

Wednesday night Mark Kelley's producers at CBCNew's Connect contacted me to come on and talk about it. The commercial is featured in the interview segment. (It has been removed from YouTube by Tim Horton's)



My point was that JWT, the producing agency, probably shouldn't have tagged it as such, but that you couldn't deny the commercial was extremely well done. Tim Horton's took a little bit of flack for this, but overall their image continues to be almost bullet proof.

Let's look at their recent history. I made the point that it's now common practice in Canada for marketers to "double brand". With the percentage of new Canadians to "legacy Canadians", rising every day it's imperative that advertisers speak to both. Tim Horton's has fostered an image of tolerance, acceptance and universal "Canadianism" over the last few years with well thought out commercials like this one. "Proud Father"





I especially like the part in this "Sid the kid" commercial where they blend Syd's current voice with his boyhood voice.



Should Tim Horton's and JWT have labeled "Welcome Home" as "based on a true story"? No. The lesson learned; don't muddy up exceptional work with inaccuracies. Let great work stand on its' own.

Coming up Monday, Part 3 in the highlight series from The Art of Marketing series held this week in Toronto. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Art of Marketing Part 2 Mitch Joel

Following up with part 2 of observations from Tuesdays "The Art of Marketing" sessions in Toronto, Mitch Joel is the author of the new book "6 pixels of Separation".
He mentioned the importance of keeping your customer from becoming "brand ignostic". We agree wholeheartedly. When price is the only option that matters, people become very difficult to convert.

An interesting statistic. 40% of people 25 and under watching TV are also... sleeping.
I'll bet you thought I'd say, also on their laptops. The research has revealed that the new generation of media consumers are so multi task conditioned, they need more stimulus. Otherwise their bodies shut down and they.... sleep.

This was the most important piece of research that Mitch shared;
allow people to post comments and reviews on your website. A negative review is 3 times as likely to translate into a sale as a positive one. Why? Because people recognize that you are transparent and honest with your product and its' abilities. The asterix is, of course, that the negative review is something like "This hotel room didn't have mints under my pillow and I noticed the occasional horn outside my window. Otherwise it was clean and didn't cost very much." You're staying in Manhattan, and clean and cheap is all you're looking for. Bam. Rack up one more sale.

And more quick stats if you're balking at the social media revolution.
There are more grandparents using Facebook than highschool students in the United States. Because they are trying to keep an eye on the grandchildren.
And half the YouTube audience is over 34 with the average Canadian watching 14 hours of video a month online.

Finally, 80 percent of your new customers will have their first brand experience being what they see in the search column on Google when you come up. You want to make sure you've put a lot of time into the wording and needs of your true customer.

Tomorrow - Creative Excellence Fridays looks at a Canadian icon.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Art of Marketing - Part 1 Seth Godin

I was fortunate enough to attend the Art of Marketing at the Convention Centre in Toronto yesterday. My thanks to 680News Toronto and Alex Smith for the invitation. We were treated to a day of new millenium thinking by guru Seth Godin, Mitch Joel, Dan Heath, Sally Hogshead, Max Lenderman and James Othmer.

Today - part 1 in the series.

Seth Godin

Seth Godin - Hailed as "America's Greatest Marketer" by American Way Magazine, Seth Godin is a best-selling author of ten books, the most popular ebook ever written, and the most popular marketing blog in the world.

Godin's first book Permission Marketing, was a New York Times best-seller that revolutionized the way corporations approach consumers and influenced the way people think about marketing, change and work. His other books include Tribes, Meatball Sundae and All Marketers are Liars. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages, and his ebooks are among the most popular ever published.

Godin is responsible for many words in the marketer's vocabulary, including permission marketing, ideaviruses, purple cows, the dip and sneezers. His irrepressible speaking style and no-holds-barred blog have helped him create a large following around the world. He holds an MBA from Stanford and was called "the Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age" by Business Week.

Here are some hilites from Seth's comments yesterday.

1. "There has been NO big brand in the last 10 years built on the back of interupting strangers." The point Seth was making was that the old school world of buying network television or a bunch of billboards or magazine ads is no longer the way to build buzz around a brand. People are used to an internet where they decide when they'll allow messaging into their minds, and the messaging needs to be crafted in a way that isn't offensive to their sensibilities.

2."Ideas that spread, win." It's a new viral world and great ideas that inspire, amuse, shock get shared, and so do the associated impressions.

3.Advertisers that craft with their mind on the organic footprint will win because people are recognizing the world does have an expiration date.

4."People want to buy and interact with brands that stand for something. "And people follow leaders. Brands that build a story, some meaning around their brand jump ahead of the competition and leave them in the dust. Story brands like Nike and Harley Davidson have set the bar high.

5."If I can write it down, I can do it cheaper. "Seth talked about the mechanics of business dating back to Henry Ford's assembly line. Even today, if you can come up with the big idea and commit it to words, that's the most difficult part of the process. Finding other's to put it into play is not nearly as difficult.

6."Solve interesting problems and lead." The survivor of the new economy will be the individual who sees problems, and determines ways to get around that hurdle, and then inspires others to join in and lift the company as a whole into a new realm of success.

Coming up tomorrow, Mitch Joel and some shocking statistics.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Toyota not as broken as many thought

Coming off the high of the Olympics it's time to get back to a regular routine. Toyota is still reeling from the recalls and all the negative publicity. But in spite of it all, they are getting trickles of good news today. It appears there is a base of Toyota fans who are staying loyal to the brand.
Measurements through Facebook, yes Facebook, are stating that the Toyota fanbase has actually grown 10% over the last month, in a show of support for the brand.

More and more smart marketers are recognizing the power of Social Media and figuring out how to make it work for the brand.

Story here Toyota on Facebook