Browsing articles tagged with "advertising & marketing Archives | april.holle.blog"
Dec
9

THE Brian Shaler

Brian Shaler

So I got to sit down with Brian Shaler yesterday during the Phoenix BarCamp and really pick his brain regarding his recent boost in popularity on the net.

I’ve been on a big personal branding kick and I’m trying to talk to anyone who’s someone to ask them how they “did it”. Not necessarily to find the best way “in” but to be able to at least assess my possibilities and think of it another way. So when I heard Brian was getting some SERIOUS digg attention and had over 6k followers on Twitter… I started to wonder if he was my next brain-sucking victim in the quest to become immoral. Sounds kinda creepy when I put it that way eh?

Anyhow, when Chuck Reynolds and I finally hog tied him and tossed him into the back of the van, after HOURS of threating to toss him into a vat of scorpions, THE Brian Shaler gave up his secret to his AMAZING popularity rise.

When he first found Twitter, he realized the growth potential of seeding the popularity contest that is viral marketing. How you ask? It’s brilliant really. You follow people… doesn’t matter who really, the more active the better I suppose. Lets say you start following… 3 thousand people… then all the sudden, even HALF of those people return the favor by following you. You instantly have a captured 1,500 user audience in which to broadcast yourself and things you want to become known. Once you have a decent size user audience, communication back and forth can continue the viral campaign, since every @brianshaler twitter statement someone makes is broadcast to all the users twitter followers as well, and these people start to ask, who is this person they’re talking to? Perhaps they too will start following you. All the sudden you have over 6 thousand twitter followers just like Brian Shaler.

He uses this captured market as a launching pad for things to become viral and tracks every link he sends out to this base group so that he can track the SEO effects of his experiment in viral activity. So, lets say… he has a site that he wants to promote. He sends out the link to his twitter followers saying, “Hey check this really cool thing out…”. Because of his extensive research on the SEO traffic produced by his Twittering alone, he knows that he can pretty much rely on about 100-300 click throughs from his Twitter followers alone. So perhaps his twitter followers actually think that this thing that he has sent them is a great idea, so they send it to a friend, two friends or three friends. The viral exponential factor already starts working its magic… but lets say that someone submits it to StumbleUpon or Digg, and the their own viral patterns start to build on top of this small 100-300 base click throughs. Suddenly you have created a mountain out of an ant hill.

The craziest thing about this, is that due to the way the internet naturally is a sharing device, people who will never ever meet Brian are now his number one fan. During the BarCamp we were recording and streaming the presentations. A Brian Shaler follower from Germany found out about the web broadcast and came into the web chat, this follower actually asked Brian to tell his friend (who was also a Shaler follower) that he had flown to Phoenix and had actually hung out with Brian. Crazy eh? Off of merely creating a viral platform to toss things out on, Brian has actually become internationally famous.

Besides creating that viral base for yourself, Brian also seriously recommended building your own brand of yourself. As cocky as this may seem, it really helps promote the idea of “he is someone” much like personalities such as Oprah or Michael Jordan. Then using this identity for everything that you toss out into the sea of the internet, or even in real life. Brian actually has business cards that just say “Brian Shaler” on them… on both sides, nothing else. Why? He says, “If you can’t contact me in 30 seconds using the information on that card, don’t contact me.” This very small piece of printed material just adds to the effect that Brian really is someone you should already know of.

Brian also chalks up his fame to some of the side projects he’s put effort into in the past, and believes that it’s better to have many sites to your brand with lower search rankings than one site with a high page rank. Why? Because different people have different interests and you can reach a larger, broader audience. He has recently broken out his blog from his personal portfolio site, widening his name sake that much more. But you can really see this effect in his creation crappygraphs.com. The whole site’s premise is crappy graphs that really don’t display accurate data at all, but more so a point. After creating only 20 crappy graphs, he decided to create a flash application on the site that allowed users to create their own crappy graphs and submit them to the site. After ten hours of intense manual labor over the course of one weekend, he now gave his crappy graph followers a way to really express themselves…crappily graphically. Crappy Graphs now has over a thousand graphs… why? Because of user submissions. These user submissions have been Dugg, StumbledUpon, and spread throughout the viral universe, and how did Brian accomplish this? By creating one, 10 hour application that allowed his users to express themselves.

So while the rest of us are trying to figure out the best way to market some silly viral ad campaign, Brian will be tossing links out into his twitter feed and reaping the click throughs, Diggs, and Stumbles.

** I was forced against my will to name the following links… part of the verbal agreement to be talked to by THE Brian Shaler. But do check them out anyhow. 😉 You’re welcome Brian. **

For those of you who DON’T know you Brian Shaler is, check out his blog, his personal portfolio site, his famous twitter account (6k followers and counting), the ShalerJump and of course Crappy Graphs.

Nov
28

2010 Winter Olympic Mascots Unveiled

2010 Winter Olympic Mascots

Meet the new mascots of the 2010 Winter Olympics! Quatchi the Sasquatch, Miga the Sea Bear, and Sumi the Thunderbird. Aren’t they just adorable??

The mascots were created by Vancouver-based Vicki Wong and Michael Murphy of Meomi Design.

There are some mixed reviews out there, many Canadians think the mascots aren’t…Canadian enough. At least they’re cuter and easier to entice children, unlike the Atlanta 1996 Izzy.

Nov
14

Forgetting Thanksgiving

I wondered into the grocery store the weekend after Halloween, only to be greeted with wrapping paper and Christmas cookies. What the hell? I had to check my calendar, nope, it’s still November.

Why does America choose to totally skip over Thanksgiving? Is there no money to be had on turkey and football in the backyard with the fam?

For me, Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. You don’t have to stress out about what to buy that Aunt you only see once a year, or get all creative on making a costume no one else has.  You slap on some jeans, a sweater, and fast for two days so that your tummy will be completely empty to take in all the gut busting goodness. You don’t worry about counting calories, and you have that second piece of pie. You come together with the ones you love to give thanks for all that has been bestowed upon you in the past year. You share stories of children learning to walk, raises at work and new additions to the family.

But appearantly, all that goodness isn’t good enough to keep the commercial beast at bay. I’m already getting red and green mailers, catalogs of expensive toys, and TV commercials about where you can get the cheapest candy canes and fake trees.

I just want some pumpkin pie, coffee and good conversation with family I don’t get to see often enough. But I suppose, you can’t sell that.

Nov
8

Reminder: Facebook Developers Garage

This is just a happy little reminder about the Phoenix Facebook Developers Garage event!

What is a Facebook Developers Garage? It’s an opportunity for developers, marketers and any one else to learn more about Facebook, Facebook applications, marketing through Facebook applications, building applications and everything in between. Highlights of the event include a presentation by Dave Morin of Facebook on Platform and a detailed look at the evolution of the Red Bull Roshambull application by Nate Warner of Red Bull. Seating is limited to the first 150 that RSVP to this event, so if you have interest be sure to get in early! Click here to RSVP


Date: Wed, Nov 14th, 2007

Time: 6-9 PM

Location:
Tempe Center for the Arts,
700 W. Rio Salado Parkway,
Tempe, AZ

Agenda:
6:00 pm – Networking & Refreshments
6:30 pm – Keynote Speaker: Dave Morin, Facebook
7:15 pm – Marketing Facebook Applications – Chris Johnson, Terralever
7:30 pm – Application Presentation: ‘Roshambull’ presented by Nate Warner, Red Bull
7:40 pm – Facebook Application Development, presented by Scott McAndrew & Joel Neubeck, Terralever
7:50 pm – 5-minute Apps and Ideas mini-presentations (If interested, contact one of the Event Admins)
8:30 pm – Live Social Networking
9:00 pm – Let the afterparty begin (location TBD)

Nov
6

Wanda Sykes: Spokesapple for Applebee's

Applebee’s has a new logo, and a new Spokesapple.  Brand New has a reveiw of the new logo, and most of the reviewers are as mixed as the logo elements themselves. Personally, I think the logo brings Applebee’s to the current design trends, but the offset of the apple illustration and the monotone between the company name and the slogan is a little bland. The font choice for the tagline is a bit much, perhaps too much serif going on here.

Identity aside, I like the way Applebee’s has introduced a viral marketing video as part of the rebranding. Setting up Apple auditions for a new Spokesapple. Some of the clips are pretty funny, including the pineapple, orange and pear who auditioned, or Alan the Karate Chopping Apple. Check out the auditions here.

When all auditions were through, Wanda Sykes is the new voice over for the new Spokesapple. I love Wanda, and I think she’ll really bring out the comedy in having a Spokesapple. She is fun, funky, and still very fresh.

Nov
2

The Long Wow: Keep Your Clients Coming Back

I subscribe to the Adaptive Path newsletter, and I suggest you do as well if you’re interested in user experience in the slightest. I’ve continously enjoyed the articles they write regarding users and how to keep them around.

The most recent article was The Long Wow by Brandon Schauer, an experience design director for Adaptive Path.

The Long Wow is a means to achieving long-term customer loyalty through systematically impressing your customers again and again. In other words, you have to keep up the awesome user experience all the time, not just the first time. Revising your product or service to continually introduce new features and examples of how this product can make your users lives amazing.

Brandon also explains that your common loyalty programs really don’t create customer loyalty at all. Just because you have a membership card usually isn’t the main reason you keep going back to a particular store.

For instance, I have a Basha’s discount card, a Frys discount card AND a Safeway discount card on my key chain. But I’m loyal to Safeway, but why? 50% of it I would have to say is because it’s the closest to where I live right now. 30% is the fact that I know my way around their store, I can find what I want and get in and out quickly. 10% is because I like the service there, everyone is friendly and they are helpful. 5% is because I feel that Safeway is cleaner than Frys (the next closest store) and I feel safer there. 5% is the fact that Kaleb, my boyfriend, worked for the Safeway company when he was younger. Notice the fact that I have a little card that gets me some discount doesn’t even play into that mix.

What is in the mix? Well, there’s location, ease of use, customer service, care of product, and personal connection to the brand.

So what are some new features Safeway could add to make my experience even better? Well what if they added a branch of my bank there so I could make deposits as well. Maybe they could open up another store even closer to me, since I still have to drive a distance to get to this one. Perhaps they could hire more checkers on Sunday evening since it’s always PACKED.

These types of constant user experience analysis really can make an impact on sales, marketing costs, and of course customer loyalty. Anyhow, check out the original article to read more about what Brandon and Adaptive Path have to say about this topic. 🙂

Oct
28

Internet Stars are Viral Video

If you spend any time at all watching viral videos online or are into viral marketing, you NEED to watch this video!

The team over at Cakke has mashed together some of the greatest viral moments (online and off) into one amazingly funny video. It’s really interesting to note just how many of them you have personally seen. Sometimes we don’t even know we’re participating in a viral activity, but this video really drives it home how many times we’re touched by this marketing magic.

In fact, I’m virally promoting this video right now… weird huh?

Oct
24

Facebook Developers Garage in Phoenix

What is a Facebook Developers Garage? It’s an opportunity for developers, marketers and any one else to learn more about Facebook, Facebook applications, marketing through Facebook applications, building applications and everything in between. Highlights of the event include a presentation by Dave Morin of Facebook on Platform and a detailed look at the evolution of the Red Bull Roshambull application by Nate Warner of Red Bull. Seating is limited to the first 150 that RSVP to this event, so if you have interest be sure to get in early! Click here to RSVP


Date: Wed, Nov 14th, 2007

Time: 6-9 PM

Location:
Tempe Center for the Arts,
700 W. Rio Salado Parkway,
Tempe, AZ

Agenda:
6:00 pm – Networking & Refreshments
6:30 pm – Keynote Speaker: Dave Morin, Facebook
7:15 pm – Marketing Facebook Applications – Chris Johnson, Terralever
7:30 pm – Application Presentation: ‘Roshambull’ presented by Nate Warner, Red Bull
7:40 pm – Facebook Application Development, presented by Scott McAndrew & Joel Neubeck, Terralever
7:50 pm – 5-minute Apps and Ideas mini-presentations (If interested, contact one of the Event Admins)
8:30 pm – Live Social Networking
9:00 pm – Let the afterparty begin (location TBD)

Oct
21

Local Lifestyle Magazines Recieve Facelift

I’m proud to announce that Terralever launched two new sites into the world wide web this week. We have just finished production on a redesign and large back-end content management system for Cities West Publishing sites, Phoenix Home and Garden and Phoenix Magazine.

I am really proud to have been part of this success. The website may seem large and elaborate, but with the use of themes, masterpages, and dynamic content the site itself is about 20 pages in total. This was the first website in which we were really able to experiment with large scale theme usage and I learned quite a bit about how to make the front end flexible enough to reskin.

Making sure css naming conventions were simple enough to reuse through out the process was a key piece of the puzzle. I used the content to determine the class and id naming instead of color or position since both of these could change dramatically. This was not only important to switch from theme to theme within the sections of the site, but also we chose to reuse quite a bit of code from one site to the next to save cost for our client. Thus, the reasoning in similar layout from one site to the other.

Making sure each piece of content knew what month and what section it appeared in was also a large undertaking in this process, thankfully our wonderful back end development team did an amazing job of coordinating how the data manipulated the themes and sections with in the site.

In addition to the amazing design and development that went on to create the front end look and feel, there was an amazing effort on the back end administration system. Back behind all that wonderful content is an editorial staff that needs to input it in every month in a quick efficient manner! To help them with this, Terralever created an amazing custom content management system that allows the editorial staff to select which issue an article appears, what section, enter in the content and add supplemental photos to each story.

For each story the editorial staff has full access to create and layout articles however they please. They can add as many photos, call outs, etc to make each layout custom to the story it holds. To help them with this process, we created five templates for them to start with, allowing them to enter content quickly and then make the necessary additions with more photos, more call outs, etc.

The administration also gives the staff full access for the featured flash piece on the homepage, to create and edit user polls, add events, showcase photos in galleries and have users sign up for news and emails.

While these sites were a big project and some nights were spent eating at my desk instead of in front of the TV, it’s always worth it in the end. To go to a live URL and see something you’ve invested so much and learned from is amazing.  These sites are definitely two projects I’m proud to have been a part of. I hope you enjoy using them as much as I enjoyed building them.

Oct
16

Seth Godin: How To Create a Great Website

Seth Godin recently posted his top 10 principles to create a great website. I really agreed with his perspective and wanted to elaborate with my own views.

1. Fire the committee. No great website in history has been conceived of by more than three people. Not one. This is a dealbreaker.

When you involve too many people into the process you start to conform and compromise until a great, original idea has transformed into a safe, bland piece of uninspiring web junk.

2. Change the interaction. What makes great websites great is that they are simultaneously effortless and new at the same time. That means that the site teaches you a new thing or new interaction or new connection, but you know how to use it right away. (Hey, if doing this were easy, everyone would do it.)

The web is all about interaction and ease of use, make it easy and make it essential to life. People flock to technologies and websites that make it easier to connect, share, do, and use in a way that wasn’t possible before. Take for instance, Flckr, it’s made photo sharing so remarkably easy that the whole world started sharing their snapshots. Or look at MySpace, making connecting to old friends easy, customizable so you can have your very own space on the web.

3. Less. Fewer words, fewer pages, less fine print.

There’s a new trend on the web where less is more. Don’t pitch to the client, don’t dance around the fact that you have a service they are interested in, just give it to them straight. If they weren’t interested, they wouldn’t be on your website, and they’re on your site for more concise, to the point information about you, the services you provide, and if you’re right for them. However, on the web, attention spans are at an all time low, so make it snappy!

4. What works, works. Theory is irrelevant.

Ultimately, there is no golden ticket to being a giant on the web. For years everyone thought we needed MORE everywhere on the web, and then came along Google: a logo, a text box, and a button. PERIOD. While you may think for a long time on how something may work, the true test is just to launch and see what happens.

5. Patience. Some sites test great and work great from the start. (Great if you can find one). Others need people to use them and adjust to them. At some point, your gut tells you to launch. Then stick with it, despite the critics, as you gain traction.

The bigger the site, the more complex, the more bugs you’re going to find. You can test EVERY scenario on how a user will try to use something, and then the day you launch, a user will show you a different approach you didn’t think of. The web is ever evolving, even if you launch today and it’s perfect, you’ll still need to update to stay fresh. Nothing on the web is forever. If you place your flag in the sand and wait two years to build on what you’ve created you’ll realize you have to totally rebuild because you’re washed up. Keep fresh, keep building on what you’ve made.

6. Measure. If you’re not improving, if the yield is negative… kill it.

You can spend a ton of money on a new site, but how do you know you’re getting a return on your investment? Do you know how many new contacts or sales are coming to the website? Do you know how many visitors you have and what your conversion rate is? If you’re not getting the numbers and contacts you want, where are your users bailing out of the system? Knowing all this information is key to making sure your investment is really being returned and that what you do next is really required to boost those numbers. Don’t be afraid to bail out of something that isn’t working after a period of time. Don’t beat a dead horse, just get up and move on to another approach.

7. Insight is good, clever is bad. Many websites say, “look at me.” Your goal ought to be to say, “here’s what you were looking for.”

Just because your site has all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean you’re going to draw in those users you want. Building on the less is more strategy, make sure that that select content you choose to include in your website is insightful and what the client is really looking for.

8. If you hire a professional: hire a great one. The best one. Let her do her job. 10 mediocre website consultants working in perfect harmony can’t do the work of one rock star.

Think of it as if you’re going to the doctor, would you tell him that your leg is broken and how to set, pin and cast it? No. Would you go to the illegal doctor working out of a shack instead of a highly trained doctor in a hospital? You should have the same regard for your interactive professional. Tell them where it hurts, tell them what other marketing meds you’re on, but don’t tell them how to do their operation. Even though you might save some money in the short term by going to a hole in the wall web shop, you’ll get want you pay for, junk. You’re going to reap the benefits of plunking down the dollars for a professional organized, designed and developed website.

9. One voice, one vision.

Make sure you know what you want to say and how you want to say it. You should have a solid idea of what you’re looking for. This will save time and money when you start looking at companies and solutions to help you build your website.

10. Don’t settle.

In the end, you ARE paying for a service. Don’t be steamrolled by a company who simply isn’t giving you what you need or thought you were going to get. Make sure the company you’ve selected for your project is right, and feel free to shop around. If your idea simply isn’t going to happen for your budget, more than likely several companies will tell you.

What is this?

This little blog happens to be the personal ramblings of one April Holle - I'm female, outspoken, webbie, a community evangelist, and Principal of Made Better Studio. Check out the about section for more info.

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