BoyDog Design
Design and more…

Okay, you’ve created an identity in social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like and now you want to give video a try. Most likely you’ll head over to YouTube to dip your toes into the video stream. Remember that viral campaigns are an added medium and not the be all end all in your marketing plan. Use video to complement and expand on your existing promotions.

Before engaging in any form of advertising and PR you should have already created a complete marketing plan. Know your market and how to communicate with them. Know how the public perceives your product or service and build on that perception or move to change it to your advantage. Introduce yourself to a new or expanding market. Be sure you know your goal and know how you will recognize when you’ve achieved it.

Keep the following concepts in mind as you put together your viral campaign:

Push for an emotional connection.

You need to engage your audience in a way that compels them to pay attention to your message. Whether you accomplish that via humor or a tug at the heart, you have but a few seconds to make that attachment. You want people to want to continue watching. Remember, they hold the controls – click on/click off.

Turn attention into interaction.

It’s one thing to post your video and hope for many viewings. If reaching a certain number of viewings is your only goal you have not utilized your viral campaign to its fullest potential. At the moment someone is watching and focused on your video you have their full attention. Offer them something. Tweak their curiosity or interest and link to a pertinent blog or another video related to your message. Offer a chance to acquire additional material such as ebooks, pdfs of articles, surveys, coupons. Link to an online store where they can purchase merchandise.

Keep your viral campaign open to everyone.

Share. Share. Share. In the same way that word of mouth can pass along your message to a large group of people, your viral campaign will benefit by allowing viewers to share your video with friends and family. Your exposure can multiply exponentially as it’s passed along from friend to friend to family to co-worker and on and on…

Posting a link to your viral campaign via social media outlets (think Twitter, Facebook, etc.) can also get the ball rolling. Retweets, shares, and likes are golden as your message spreads.

Get people talking.

Allow for comments. Be prepared for the good and the bad. Commentary lets you focus in on what your market thinks about that particular video. It also should enable you to gain a better understanding of how the public views your product or service. A carefully moderated conversation via comments can provide a wealth of useable information that you can use to continue to develop your marketing strategy.

Finally, be prepared to make adjustments.

It’s not uncommon to have to edit an existing viral campaign. You may find out that your message isn’t as clear as you thought. Adjust. You may find out that you’re receiving more negative feedback than you anticipated. Adjust. Maybe you’ve hit a homerun and you have the opportunity to expand on your message. Adjust.

I’m not ashamed to admit there was a time when I found it a bit daunting keeping pace with social media. How to do it. What to expect. The metrics of it all. Apparently I’m not alone. While we all know we need to have a presence in social media we are equally confused and stumped about how to measure our success.

According to this article by Kathy Crosett, “More Marketers to Seek Social CRM Systems,” http://bit.ly/eHttfg, we can expect new CRM services to be coming available this year. I look forward to this. Adding a reliable service to manage and analyse your data stream should result in a more profitable use of social media.

Update: Just received this pertinent email, “22 Hot New Social Media Tools Worth Exploring,” http://bit.ly/g4JW4T. Helpful tools.

Many businesses feel compelled to create a presence on Facebook. Most will create a Facebook page and promote it to their target market. Sounds like a simple process, but the expected results are not always that simple to achieve. It seems that most of us, business users of Facebook, don’t really have a grasp of why we’re there and how to utilize Facebook to communicate with our customers. In the rush to join the social media frenzy we’ve all been caught up in many of us have created a Facebook page without full consideration of our goals and expectations. And even worse, we haven’t communicated to people what they might expect in return for declaring that they “Like” us.

I never really thought about this lack of clarity until I read a recent article by Jay Baer, “Why You’re Pissing Off Half Your Facebook Fans,” http://bit.ly/eRgeRE. I came away understanding that if you don’t know your demographic and what they expect from you, there’s a good possibility that you will actually do more harm than good to your relationship with them. Take the time to define your market. Research until you understand their expectations of you. Finally, let your Facebook fans know what to expect from your page. A more knowledgeable approach to your Facebook identity should result in enhanced communication. Learn to use Facebook to establish a direct line of communication that meets everyone’s expectations.

We communicate on so many levels. Some obvious, some inherent without notice. Communicating via the deliberate use of design is a language unto itself. It is a universal language that sparks an emotional connection between the source and its audience. The impact of the message can vary based on the methods used to deliver it and the makeup of the target market. A better understanding of how we communicate visually, verbally, by sound and touch can empower a designer with the ability to tailor a message utilizing the best media with a balance between the stimuli that attract an audience.

I’ve written previously about how each of us favors one sense over another, “How Do You Communicate? Sight. Sound. Touch,” http://bit.ly/hDZKNO. To add to this understanding of how we communicate it is important to understand how to balance visual and verbal communication. Leaning too heavily toward one or the other can hamper comprehension. A recent article by Steven Bradley, “Do You Know When To Communicate Verbally And When To Communicate Visually?,” http://bit.ly/igQ9Os, breaks down the differences between verbal and visual communication.

As a designer I recognize the importance of understanding how humans communicate with one another. In order to connect to a wider audience it is important to develop the capacity to know when you have achieved a balance between verbal and visual and how the senses receive and process the media you choose to use.

http://bit.ly/e1xHMR

This article is based on Altimeter Group’s recent research. Worth reading…

A recent Marketing Forecast from Ad-ology, http://bit.ly/eJ6JUW, proposed the necessity to focus more on in-store pickup and shopping on the go. How true – that is something I already do. I found the recognition of this shift in a purchasing channel interesting. Not so much for the technology involved, but more for a secondary accomplishment using this method.

Let me use the Holiday season as my example. I have family living in Portland, Oregon. I  live in New York. At first, I relied on standard retail outlets to purchase and send gifts to them. As time passed and I came to know the area I became familiar with the various shops located in the Portland area. Portland is a very green city. I admire that and try to live a life with sustainability in mind. Shop Local is a mantra there and one I embrace at home.

For the past few years I’ve purchased items online from stores located in the Portland area. Whenever possible I set up the shipping so that my son can go to the store to pick up the items. Don’t be afraid to ask. This year I purchased some items from a local store that I had not purchased from in the past. Before I ordered the items online I emailed the store and explained that I wanted to Shop Local. Would they accommodate my Shop Local philosophy by allowing me to have the items picked up in the store? Yes. They responded immediately and were more than happy to allow this adjustment to their standard shipping process.

Over the years I’ve purchased items such as books, clothes, kitchenware, yoga gift certificates, sporting goods, etc. This method does mean that someone has to actually travel to the store. Hardly a requirement that would dissuade me from making the online purchase. All of these purchases leave me with a sense of accomplishment – I’ve maintained my desire to Shop Local while providing gifts to my family that I know they want and enjoy.

I hope retailers get the message. Adapt to the new technology. You may be surprised at the reward for your bottom line. If promoted properly you’ll be offering a quick outlet to purchase items and promote the benefits of the Shop Local philosophy.

Update: Here’s some more stats that support the emerging use of online shopping. “eReader Owners More Likely to Shop Online,” by Shannon Bryant, http://bit.ly/i3co9p

As a member of the design community who works solo,  I am always grateful for the way designers share information.

I have been in the middle of a project and desperately need an answer to a software question and a blog post has helped me out of the darkness. I have been caught in a funk and can’t wrap my head around any type of design only to discover a website full of inspiration through their use of color and art and typography. Even though it’s been many years since college I continue to be consumed with a passion for design that draws me to books, magazines, and websites that furnish me with a wide range of material related to design. For all of that, I am deeply grateful.

Today, as I clean out my computer’s closet of design media I am adding links to my blog. I’ve found all of these sites helpful and interesting and hope you do too. Please browse these sites and see if they possess a helpful spark to your creativity. I will continue to add links as I come across more sites and blogs of interest.

Enjoy!!!

PS – If you have a website or blog you’d like to recommend, please respond to this posting. I’d love to hear from you…

A symptom of Obsessive Design Disorder is the overwhelming sense that you must be in tune with every (and I mean EVERY) design trend, fact, tip, event, etc. In order to accommodate that compulsion I’ve found that I’ve developed a very time consuming and folder filling obsession with online RSS feeds, email, website bookmarking, and pdf conversion of online information that I feel I cannot live without. It started out simply – a mild interest in all of the information that was now available to a designer. Voluminous sources of commentary and tips and tricks are very seductive. The pages entice you with color, art, typography and relevant copy.

It wasn’t long before emails started to pile up and I created folders for each site. RSS feeds start to accumulate and before you know it one folder can have over 5,000 posts. I’ve bookmarked numerous websites. All of them are worthy of my attention. Really, they are… But after a bit you can’t help but forget which sites you’ve added and why. I’ve found some articles so compelling that I routinely convert them to a pdf that goes into a “Reference” folder for future use. The folder is very organized and I have actually gone there for help when I’m stuck trying to use software or need a jumpstart to get the design juices flowing. Having all of these resources is very soothing in one aspect and unfortunately, stressful in another.

I’ve been going through this mass of information lately. Being brave and kulling the items I think I can live without. As long as I have the URL I can always go back and find the information I need. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Let’s be truthful here. Being a designer requires an extraordinary ability to be organized. You have to organize your clients files – keeping track of copy, art, hours, billing, and correspondence. A client you’ve done work for two years ago will contact you for a follow-up on the last project you did for them. Can you find all of the files for that client? Are they the most up-to-date files? Can you step back into those shoes without missing a step and pick up where you left off two years ago? I’m familiar with this scenario and yes, I can do just that. Everything is at my fingertips.

Knowing that resources (all kinds of resources) are vital to your design process can hold many designers back from letting go of files, paper, online info. Ultimately, you reach a tipping point for information consumption and retainment. Once this happens your skills and effectiveness are no longer enhanced by the clutter you refer to as your reference material. The volume of these materials becomes oppressive and stress inducing. It is at this point that you must admit that you have lost the battle. The emails win. The RSS feeds have won. The websites are in charge. You have become an information hoarder. If you have the guts to admit it, it’s time to formulate a battle plan. A plan that will allow you to overcome your obsession while maintaining your ability to source your resources. I’ve started that process today. As painful as it was I hit the delete button many many times today. I will keep the website addresses and continue to receive email and RSS feeds, but I will no longer hang on to every file that comes my way. In a world where one can search online for every sort of minutia I’m sure I will adapt and thrive in my new environment. I finally realize that I am a better designer if I don’t strive to hold on to an every-growing stash of information. From now on resource material will no longer take up space in my head, my computer or my bookcase unless it’s vital and used on a regular basis. Everything else will have to camp out somewhere else and hopefully, when I need it, it will be waiting for me – one click away.