Friday, April 17, 2009

New Big Pond site for kids big and small

Here's a brand spanking new site we at Bullseye have just designed, it was a really great project, won the pitch, and the whole project was very smooth, the site was actually tested by my three girl's when we were building it they loved the interactions around the Big Pond World.

If your kid's say they like it then you know you're on the right track. Chin chin

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sink or Swim in Social Media

There has been a great deal of excitement in the industry surrounding the escalation of social media, yet many marketers are not yet tapping into the wealth of opportunity this phenomenon presents them with.

A large concern facing marketers about including social media in their online marketing plan is their ability to protect their brand. These are viable concerns, however reluctance to participate is likely to result in lost opportunities, particularly as the range of social media tools continue to grow. Social media may involve a higher level of risk than other media, but soon the opposite will be the reality. Not acting will result in significant losses and damage to your reputation. The online public speak regardless of whether or not you are involved in the conversation. What are they saying right now about you or your competitors?

How can the effectiveness of utilising social media for marketing purposes be maximised, while also minimising risk? Here are five key steps in achieving this aim:

· Participate in the conversation

· Use the web as a research tool

· Generate ambassadors

· Show your brand’s true personality

· Stop shouting, start listening

Brands that are winning in this space are doing so because they have adapted themselves to address the above points. It is widely accepted that word of mouth marketing is the most effective promotion method and social media gives you an unmatched opportunity to leverage WOM to your advantage. There is no doubt that this adaptation involves a large investment of time in the first instance, but what other marketing medium promotes an interactive conversation about your brand?

Developing your ‘online footprint’

According to many industry professionals, traditional media and related methods will no longer generate awareness or action. Marketers need to develop an appealing point of difference by using social media tools to remain at the cutting edge. The following steps give a practical approach to developing your online footprint.

Step 1: Subscribe your company to the following online services. It doesn’t matter if you don’t use them all immediately, but it is important to get a general understanding.

* Facebook
* Myspace
* LinkedIn
* Twitter
* Digg
* Technorati
* Feedburner
* GoogleAnalytics
* YouTube
* Flickr
* Wikipedia entry
* Slideshare
* Vimto

Step 2: Experience new media tools for yourself and build your staff’s capabilities. Utilise the cost effectiveness of new media to promote your business, particularly in economically strenuous times such as these. To achieve success, you have to understand that motive matters, these tools need to be used with integrity including declarations of interest. Several brands have suffered the consequences of trying to deceive the online public.

You must also be consistent in order to be effective. The web is constantly moving and changing so you must ensure you’re up-to-date to remain relevant.

Step 3: Create a company blog, specific to your target audience. Provide useful information and resources. This is a great opportunity to build relationships and trust with your customers.

Step 4: It is important to resist the urge to pull down negative comments. Instead, use this conversation as a way to resolve their disaffection. Many companies use social media as a research tool as the comments they generate offer valuable feedback and act as an indicator of what is happening offline. Your customers and prospective customers will hold your brand in much higher esteem if they feel you are genuinely interested in their ideas and opinions.

In instances where it is required, it is pertinent to have a plan ready to address significant PR issues. Staff should be briefed on how to issue a quick and professional response. (Don’t repeat Irish budget airline Ryanair’s situation where one of their staff called a customer a ‘liar and idiot’ on the company blog).

Step 5: Continue expanding your brand’s online footprint using other media tools such as eNewsletters, online surveys/polls, PR, presentations (SlideShare), downloadable whitepapers, PPC (AdWords), Ebooks and article marketing (EzineArticles). Webinars are also becoming a very useful tool to reach a global market. Sharing content has a positive impact and increases the reach of the organisation.

There is no better opportunity when your competitors are cutting back than having a strong presence online. Generally it comes at a fraction of the cost of traditional media and can have a huge impact on your bottom line.

Find a savvy online partner

So, you have all this in place. Your staff are Twittering away about new product launches and you have a thousand friends on Facebook, but what about finding a digital partner who can bring your vision to life and enhance your online strategy?

For marketers just moving into the space, here’s a top 10 check list of credentials for a savvy digital agency.

Your digital partner should:

1. understand that digital goes beyond your browser

2. encourage more use of “pull interactions”

3. leverage virtual communities

4. use the technology they are recommending

5. have the technical expertise to bring their thinking to life

6. be Web 2.0 and social media savvy

7. understand consumer behaviour

8. demonstrate strategic thinking

9. have branding and creative capabilities

10. be able to measure success

To sum up, all marketers have that fear factor of ‘losing control of their brand’ but once you understand the space and have all the above in place, this will subside. With the help and support of an online partner and a solid online strategy campaign in place, all you have to do is step forward and join the conversation.

In the spirit of social media I will love to hear from you or have you comment on this conversation.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Life in pictures

As you know from my posts I love pictures and one of my favourites has always been Life magazine I have copies back in the UK that as an art director always turned to for inspiration, the site is still in Beta but just going through the images I get tingles down my spine, wonderful stuff, enjoy.

Shock, horror the client has had a good idea

I.T horror stories yes we've all had them and for some reason in my case becoming more common, this is a small project we did for Hitachi and it is such a good idea , sadly it wasn't my idea it was the clients!! bloody hell firstly should I admit that? and secondly should I ever listen to ideas from a client? the answer without doubt is yes and yes, as I said the end goal must always be at the benefit of the customer, no egos must get in the way, it has taken experience and confidence to except that ideas can come from any where I hope you like the idea as much as me, thank you Tim Smith

Here’s how the idea works: The site is designed to appeal to IT Managers who have an IT Horror story to share, (you might be one or know of one) the best horror story will be hand drawn in comic fashion by award winning artist Katie Houghton-Ward which will be signed and framed the site also has access to over 20 data recovery downloads. The site will take information and contact details from those who register, for Hitachi to turn into sales leads. At the end of the campaign the client will be able to tell what problems each user is experiencing in their workplace, and from the whitepapers they download they can tell what issues they are most interested in finding a solution too. Very clever and immersive communication.