Clean out your brand closet

Like your wardrobe, brands can accumulate many layers over the years.

Like your wardrobe, brands can accumulate many layers over the years.

Some fashion trends stick around for way, way too long. And some stuff just stays in your closet way, way too long. You know what I’m talking about: that loud pair of platforms and that mohair turtleneck sweater you just had to have when you were 17. But somewhere in all that mess, you have a look that is true to you. That’s why, at least once a year, it’s a great idea to purge. And what better time than spring?Read full post...

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Write clearly. Please.

Despite its extinction, the diplodocus prefers the active voice.

Despite its extinction, the diplodocus prefers the active voice.

We write stuff to give information or opinions or feelings or whatever to someone else. We need that someone to understand what we’re putting out. So it’s important to be clear.

Now, you may say, it’s tough to be clear, because English is a language with a lot of tricky rules. And they’re always changing. It’s true — some of the rules your teacher droned on about in eighth grade have gone the way of the diplodocus (so it’s a good thing you weren’t paying attention). For example, you may have learned never to end a sentence with a preposition. Somebody set this rule a long time ago to prevent other people from saying, “Where are you going to?” or “Where’s my badminton racquet at?” That “to” and that “at” are just unnecessary. But there’s nothing wrong with saying, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” or “He really wasn’t where it’s at.” Well, the first is OK; I mean, it’s Alec Guinness, and if English-speaking people can’t look to him to set a good example, then civilization is lost. The second is actually not OK, but it’s Dylan and it’s a song lyric and it’s a figure of speech so cut him some slack.Read full post...

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Do I really need a blog?

Typing on Computer 1

HubSpot: Companies that blog 15 or more times per month get 5X more traffic than companies that don’t blog at all.

The short answer is yes. According to a recent article in Social Media Today:

  • 81% of U.S. consumers trust advice and information from blogs.
  • Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads.
  • 61% of U.S. consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.

So how do you write a good one?Read full post...

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Things not going well with your ad agency?

Has it been a while since you’ve gotten any killer ideas from your agency? Is the creative they give you an echo of the suggestions you gave them? Do you feel like they’re not giving you their best?

You can do something about it.

Give your agency a report card.

Everyone that works for someone wants to know how he or she is doing. Agency folks are no exception. Get together with them regularly to talk about how things are going. They’ll get a better understanding of your wants and needs, and that will pay off handsomely.Read full post...

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Baby branding

Baby naming is a competitive endeavor.

Baby naming is a competitive endeavor.

My wife and I are expecting our third child in about a month and the pressure is on to pick a name for “baby girl.” When we tell people we don’t have a name yet, some of them think we’re just trying to keep it a secret so no one else picks the name. If you’ve looked for inspiration or ideas for baby names recently, you’ve no doubt realized that a full-blown industry has grown up around the subject. There are baby name consultants, dozens of websites and the official records kept by the Social Security office.

The top three boy names in the United States are:Read full post...

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Is Google Glass half-full or half-empty?

They’re only available (at $1,500-plus a pop) to select Explorers — Google’s own handpicked beta testers.

They’re only available (at $1,500-plus a pop) to select Explorers — Google’s own handpicked beta testers.

Depends on whom you ask. Google Glass will either be the biggest game changer in wearable technology, or a creepy Big Brother bust that sends people running for the exits. For those who’ve been living under a rock, Google Glass is essentially a smartphone worn as glasses.

It’s got 13 functions including hands-free camera/video/phone, Internet links, voice-activated text and commands (“OK, Glass, take picture.”), all in a heads-up display that keeps your eyes on the road or whatever/whoever is in front of you. You can even have prescription lenses. But you can’t have a pair yet. They’re only available (at $1,500-plus a pop) to select Explorers — Google’s own handpicked beta testers — who will gladly let you bid for theirs on Amazon or eBay.Read full post...

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A St. Patrick’s Day history lesson

Bowl of Irish stew with soda bread

Bowl of Irish stew with soda bread

When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day, I’m somewhat out of the loop (mostly by heritage). But I was curious: Why do so many people love to participate in this celebration?

Ask anyone, “What’s the first thing that comes to your mind about St. Patrick’s Day?” and you get a lot of different answers. Some mention religious aspects; some refer to the mythical leprechauns; others wax poetic about corned beef, Irish Potato candies and green beer. But who was St. Patrick?Read full post...

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Hit or miss: measuring clicks, visits, visitors and pageviews

Please take “hit” out of your vocabulary when you’re asking about campaign performance. We never measure by hits, but instead a variety of other metrics.

Please take “hit” out of your vocabulary when you’re asking about campaign performance. We never measure by hits, but instead a variety of other metrics.

In the world of analytics, there’s this one, single dirty word that never fails to grate on an analyst’s nerves: “hit.”

As in:

“How many hits did we get?”

“Did we get any hits on our landing page?”

“Can you check the hits for me on that campaign?”

I’ll let you in on a secret: There’s no such thing as a hit. There are clicks, visits, visitors and pageviews, and each of those are different measurements.

Clicks indicate how many people have clicked on an ad. A user can click on an ad multiple times, but only be counted as one visitor. Similarly, a user can click on an ad just once and come back to the website in multiple visits. Usually, we only measure clicks when we’re analyzing ad performance. The number of clicks per the number of impressions equals the click-through rate (CTR).Read full post...

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Responsive images on the responsive web

responsive-images-termsYou’ve probably heard about “responsive web design” by now. Hopefully you’ve been able to incorporate this into any new web projects you’re working on, and you’ve already converted — or plan to convert — your existing high-value or high-traffic websites.

While responsive web design has been universally accepted and adopted, it does have a dark side: responsive images. I’ll explain what this problem is, how it’s being solved and why it’s yet another reason to let experts help you with these issues so you can stay focused on your content and ultimately your core business.

To understand the problem, we need to get a little technical. Here are some handy terms to know (refer to the diagram for some visual assistance):Read full post...

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Stop the madness

In 2012 alone, 3,328 people were killed in distracted driving crashes.

In 2012 alone, 3,328 people were killed in distracted driving crashes.

Every day on my way to work I witness an amazing number of people who put their lives and the lives of others in jeopardy. People eating, reading the newspaper, smoking, putting on makeup, talking on their cell phones and — worst of all — texting. For what?

They swerve, drive too slow, run off the road, cut you off and stop abruptly. They piss off everyone around them. And most of the time they’re oblivious to the potential danger they’re causing. For what?

I’ve tried every way I know to deal with this, including ignoring them. But it’s impossible. It doesn’t seem to matter to them that using their cell phone while driving is illegal. It’s a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways. And the statistics don’t lie: In 2012 alone, 3,328 people were killed in distracted driving crashes. For what?Read full post...

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