BoyDog Design
Design and more…

http://www.delicious.com/BoyDogDesign

I continue to be impressed with the willingness of the design community to share information. Links, tutorials, books, samples, templates, fonts – you name it and it can be found online. I’d like to contribute to this stash of information by making my www.delicious.com bookmarks available to anyone who browses my blog.

Delicious offers bookmarks collected by its members. The range of interests are vast. For me, you will find that my bookmarks coincide with my interest in graphic design, advertising, web design, marketing, industrial design, and the range of software used in those pursuits.

Please, feel free to browse the bookmarks. You just might find the information you need. I would also like to encourage you to add to my bookmark list via email, posting to my blog, or sharing via your delicious account.

The best thing about delicious bookmarks is that they are always available to you as long as you have access to a computer with an internet connection. I started using delicious because I wanted to have my bookmarks available to me wherever I was and on whichever computer I might be working on at the time.

Give delicious.com a try. Browse my bookmarks. I hope you find something of interest. Maybe you’ll find some answers for things that have you stumped. Enjoy!

http://www.delicious.com/BoyDogDesign

Good news for those of you who have struggled with the decision to add social media to your marketing mix. According to the Small Business Success Index small business adopted the use of social media at twice the rate of 2008 in 2009. These businesses are finding that social media offers them access to their market – enabling them to build their brand, engage their current customers, and attract new customers as well.

Here’s a link to useful information summarizing these finding: http://www.bit.ly/ceSbFP

It’s never too late to add social media to your marketing plan. BoyDog Design can assist you in sorting through the various social media sites, blogging options, directories, and more. Is it time to hone the social media persona of your business?

I continue to monitor the changing nature of our media. As a designer it’s important to stay on top of trends in design and production. More important – on a personal level – I try to source information about changing standards and practices. Lately I’ve pointed my attention to news – particularly the way it’s collected, processed, and distributed for public consumption. I’ve been trying to notice shifts in ethics, validity, and attachment to special interests. It’s a personal obsession at the moment…

I just came across this article by Edward Wasserman, published in The Miami Herald today. If you have any interest in who is writing the news, I recommend taking some time to read this. Form your own conclusions. Do your own research on the topic. I offer this link as another source of information.

Special interests write `news’ http://bit.ly/4sx9p7

I just came across these links and thought I’d share…

2010 Online Marketing Influencers: Trend Predictions in 140 characters by Trendsspotting http://bit.ly/876UgL

TrendsSpotting’s 2010 Consumer Trends Influencers http://bit.ly/7JPMmg

TrendsSpotting’s 2010 Social Media Influencers – Trend Predictions http://bit.ly/4OWZgV


A recent post on FishbowlNY (“FishbowlNY Readers Respond: What You’ll Pay For”, 12/29/09, http://bit.ly/6zzRMv) explores responder’s views on paying for online content. As someone who has struggled on a personal and professional level with the virtues of print versus digital sources of information I find the results of their poll in line with my own preferences. However, the more I think about this I realize that perhaps I am not evaluating the benefits and flaws of both media in a totally balanced manner.

Like most of you, I come from a predominantly print background. I learn by reading books. I acquire information about current events or areas of interest via magazines, both subscribed to and purchased based on need/want. I was educated in design and how to apply that knowledge to a print medium. Flash forward and I have had to re-educate myself to know how to utilize the vast amount of information and ideas that are readily available online. Professionally I have had to acquire the skills and knowledge that allows me to successfully navigate, filter, and utilize the tools needed to provide online content and to determine legitimate and worthy content from irrelevant fluff, spin, and misinformation.

It just occurred to me that perhaps I’ve been too swift in coming to the conclusion that I prefer receiving my information via a digital source versus a print one. I’ll use newspapers as my example. I’ve been a regular reader of newspapers. Before the advent of instant info via the web, I was happy to glean the facts about local, state, national and world news from my hometown paper. Whatever wasn’t covered in print would surely show up on the daily news on television. How simple life used to be… With the breadth of a tsunami wave online content has taken over as the main distribution channel for news. I can’t say I was adverse to the thought. I happily awaited the time when I could sit down in front of my computer and peruse the news of the day, research for information, and eventually have the ability to participate on a personal level with the addition of access to online content. At that point it seemed that the circle was complete. I could see what was going in, I could pull out what I wanted, and I could add to that circle of information at will. What a perfect setup!

Time passed and I began to realize that some of the information I was reading in the newspaper was “old news”. Why should I care to take the time to read about an event that was already covered online? How could the newspaper expand on what I thought I already knew? Little by little the articles started to shrink in size. The pages were being filled up more and more by ads for local businesses and the like. That’s perfectly o.k. if you have a need for that info, but for me, it started to look more like “fill” and less like substance. I will admit I became disinterested in the newspaper. It “didn’t get it” anymore… My days of relaxing and reading the paper were numbered.

Not to be left behind in the dust cloud of the progression to digital format I readily accepted the challenge. What I hadn’t prepared for was the volume of information at my fingertips. Literally at my fingertips. With a few key strokes I could access information from virtually anywhere in the world. I could zero in on commentary that matched my point of view. I could choose to disregard anything I deemed inappropriate, inaccurate or irrelevant to my needs. It didn’t take long to realize that I had not considered the amount of time and attention this channel of information required. Now, I had to source the media outlet I would choose to receive the latest info. Now, I had to sift through volumes of online pages and determine if I found the “facts” to be just that, factual or fiction. Now, I had to scutinize the source of information to determine who the messenger really was and did they have any particular point of view or allegiance that put a spin on their material. Of course, that scrutiny applies to printed material too. Perhaps I’m naive, but I think it’s easier to hide your true allegiances online.

At this point the flow of information appears limitless. As long as you leave the faucet open there will be a continuous flow of whatever you choose to tap into. How could this be a bad thing? In and of itself online content appears to be no detriment to society. I actually hope it develops into a trustworthy, reliable, accurate, unbiased, and predominantly positive source of information. I am in no way knocking its current and potential benefits. I do, however, wish to step back from my previous line of thought that I had to choose between print or digital – one OR the other. After more consideration I am inclined to reverse my intention to drop printed media in favor of online. Perhaps it’s too soon to jump ship. Instead I think I might paddle back to printed media if for nothing else but to balance my sources. Traditional printed media has been honed from years of service to the public to offer reliable, documented, timely, unbiased, and easily verifiable news. At least that is the presumption. Until the time comes when I can know with certainty that online content follows the same parameters in the presentation of information as print, I will continue to access whatever is offered but with a degree of increased scrutiny. Online content is our present. It is our future. Until I know it adheres to the ethical legacy of print media I think I will be splitting my attention between print and digital media. As the pendulum swings I know that eventually I will be saying goodbye to the print world I’ve come to know and respect. I hope that time doesn’t arrive too soon. Online content deserves the time required to incubate and develop into the potentially premium source of information we all hope for.

Part of any marketing agenda is the need to create and measure awareness of your brand. One of the current media outlets that you can employ is a blog. A blog created to promote your product or service can benefit your business in a number of ways.

1. Search Engine Marketing – Your online presence via your blog will increase search engine activity and ultimately should result in higher rankings on search engine return pages.

2. Direct Communications – Your postings allow you to speak directly to your potential market. If you speak honestly, openly, and with authority you will instill the perception that you are an authority within your product or service category.

3. Brand Building – Blogs are another media outlet to promote your brand’s core values and how they will positively impact a potential customer.

4. Competitive Differentiation – How you present your brand in your blog in comparison to your competition will help you promote the ways in which your product or service is different and more relevant to a consumer’s needs.

5. Building a Relationship – By presenting your brand with an honest approach to your target market and promoting trust in the benefits you are offering you can eventually build a long-lasting relationship with your customers.

6. Niche Marketing – Tap into an underdeveloped niche for your brand category by using your blog to reach a niche market you may otherwise be missing.

7. Media & Public Relations – Blogs offer a free opportunity to spread the news about your brand. Regular press releases reinforce your brands accomplishments and place within your category.

8. Position Yourself as an Expert – Your blog will enable you to establish your level of knowledge and expertise pertaining to your brand category. It helps in demonstrating to your market that you are a source of information they can benefit from.

9. Reputation Management – A blog allows you to build on the perceived image of your brand. It also allows you to state your position if your brand is perceived negatively.

10. Low cost – It doesn’t get any better than FREE. Most blogs can be set up using existing online publishing platforms.

I routinely suggest the creation of a blog for a client. More often than not I receive a lukewarm response to my suggestion because there is a false assumption that blogging requires extra special skills. If you know enough about your product or service to offer it to the public you should have the required knowledge to write about it. If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of creating and operating a blog there are professionals to help you. I admit that most likely includes a fee, but the potential benefits should outweigh the initial cost.

Don’t lose out on a wonderful opportunity to promote your brand by eliminating a blog from your marketing mix. With some thoughtful preparation and a little practice anyone can master the art of posting on a blog. If the thought of doing it yourself is still something you prefer not to tackle remember that you can always hire a blogger to promote your brand for you. By educating a blogger about the benefits of your brand and setting boundaries for the blog’s performance you never have to give up control of your brand’s voice. Ultimately, isn’t that what your crave for your brand? At the forefront you want to establish a dialogue with your target market that allows you to build trust and brand loyalty for the present and into the future.