everyone-was-creative-text

Everyone Was Creative – Creativity in business

how to be creative

Believing you are not creative is like surrendering your humanity.

“I don’t have a creative bone in my body.”

“I’ll save that for the creative folks.”

These phrases make me cringe.

Where did people learn to adopt the thinking that creativity is something to be implemented by a privileged few who are in the business of creativity, the makers of superbowl ads or the creatively inclined in design, art, music or theatre.

You were creative.

As a little kid you didn’t have risk assessment. You didn’t have a self-conscious bone in your body. You were a supernova of a spirit, singing, dancing, being loud, being yourself, extraordinary. You were not drawing inside the lines, weighing the pros and cons. You were just going for it, unmitigated. There was no order. You were mesmerized by your manipulation of a crayon in your fist, and all was great with your perception and interaction with the world.

You may have been born creative, but school didn’t curate your creative intelligence.

Did you learn not to be creative?

Art class in grade school was structured. Everyone followed the same template or used the same materials to create a similar model the teacher produced. You were comparing the mediocrity of you effort to the other students. They didn’t measure up to the teacher’s model.

In middle school you learned how to be on time, sit attentively, learn from a curriculum be submissive to authority. It was not encouraged that you were not the bearer of original ideas. If your teacher asked you a question an you recalled an answer, it was either right or wrong.

When did you learn to solve a problem with critical thinking and original thought? Eight years after being trained how to be a factory worker when you started to write papers on subjects that interested you. I’m concerned by that point you already learned not to color outside the lines.

As an adult, working at a matured corporation. You are in the mode of preserving success for shareholders. Creativity takes a backseat to maintaining the status quo. Experimentation becomes a unnecessary risk. Launching a new product with new thinking and a new approach with a new marketing strategy is perceived as foolish.

Contest the status quo with creative thinking.

Creativity is not just about being able to paint, draw, sing. It’s about arriving at unformulaic solutions to problems.  If you are in business, communications, law, entrepreneurial endeavours, chefs or in any consumer facing business you should be striving to use your creativity and foster the creativity of those you surround yourself with. In fact employees that stand out, tend to break the mold and work creatively.

I define creativity as combining critical thinking, research of the end user with the willingness to bring new ideas to the problem solving table. It’s just as much about the process as it is the final result. Gaining the approval of your colleagues with some wild, out-of-the-box ideas you may have can sometimes be a challenge. Often you see organizations hiring outside consultants, third-parties that audit processes and suggest solutions to a company.

Creative thinking equals innovation

As a consultant in the communication design business, I consider what will get the attention of my clients target audience. What engage them, get their attention in ways that value their intellect and possibly even entertain them. Each of my clients are handled in different ways, they all have their different audiences and challenges. It’s often about inventing something new, nothing novel gets created by

In social media creative minded creators look for new approaches to creating valuable content that users want to share, that is sure to gain the approval of your peers.

Nothing great was ever created by following the rules.

Creativity (and science) is what put the Hubble Space telescope out into orbit. It’s what put running water into our roof covered kingdoms. It is the intersection of discovery, understanding and problem solving.

You may be working at a company that prides itself on predicable results and maintaining the status quo. “This is how we done it before, it worked then and since and we need consistent results, we are not changing the process now”. If this is true for you, you may just be a publicly traded company thats been around for a while.

It’s the company risk takers, the folks who operate “outside the box” that are the heroes. These are the right-brain meets left brain champions that are willing to try something new, to innovate.

Creativity in business: What you can do at work.

  • Tell your boss about a new process you believe in an would like to spend time on developing for the benefit of the company. If you have a good boss that likes to retain good employees, they’ll enable you.
  • Invite outside influencers to your company or invite key co-workers to outside events and conferences to spread knowledge about a new software platform or approach to improving your company’s way of thinking..

Machines manufacture products in repetition.

You are human, you create, make mistakes along the way, try a different approach and eventually succeed.

Everyone is creative. You just might not be in an organization that values it highly, or endorses it.

Be the leader of your own ideas.

What creative ideas do have that can solve particular problems?

orlando-united-shooting

Volunteerism nourishes the soul of everyone involved

I know everyone is busy and going about the lives trying to improve their personal circumstances. Putting in the extra hours to make a project a success. We’re all skipping needed sleep. Not eating the best thing.  Feeling short on time with the family and kids. We have a hard time meeting up with friends, always rescheduling. Who has the time to invest in community?

I’m here to tell you finding within yourself what you can do to invest in the growth and welfare of your community is nourishment for our collective souls.

If you are in business or marketing it’s about connecting with young business owners and mentoring them through a local Young Entrepreneurs Academy or Junior Achievement program. Whether it’s volunteering at a local food bank. Whether it’s donating blood, plasma or platelets. Anything you do out of volunteerism nourishes what a government mandate, social program, 
a salary or a coupon can never fulfill. When people recognize that others are helping them without a contract, obligation or desire for anything in return it provides the recipient with more than just mentorship, or support. It refreshes their belief in the basic good of people and optimism for the future.

I’ve witnessed what’s happening here in Orlando in response to the tragedy of the Orlando shooting event tragic is a city coming together. Individuals giving of themselves, waiting in long lines to donate blood, volunteers coordinating these efforts with lunch, water, local restaurants providing meals to volunteers.

orlando-blood-donors

orlando-food-beverage-donations

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It doesn’t have to take a tragedy for a community to come together like what is unfolded in Orlando. In fact let it not take an immediate need event, like an urgent call for blood donations for a city to come together. Make it happen in your community today, involve your family, use your talents for the greater good.

#orlandounited

Share if you agree.

facebook video sharing

Why My Video Went Viral on Facebook

I’m going to walk you through a video post I made that went viral. My thoughts on why I suspect it did so, what I did and what I plan to do to push its success further.  I’m documenting this in hope of creating a repeatable result in the future.

I’ve been working with Rebecca Lynch, “The Rescue Realtor®” to market her real estate agent services in Orlando Florida and her mission to help dogs in need. With every real estate transaction she completes a portion of the proceeds go to an animal rescue of her client’s choice.

Background

In order for a video go viral on Facebook it needs to be adored by an audience and subsequently shared.

Rebecca has a great story to tell and an admirable cause. She recently travelled to South Florida when she heard about an abandoned dog problem in Redland Florida. As president of Poodle and Pooch Rescue of Florida (501c3), she travelled with a group of twelve volunteers to rescue as many dogs as possible.

viral video screenshots

stills from the video

My wife and I volunteer for the group, we went on the expedition. The groups goal was to catch as many dogs as possible. My goal was to create a compelling video as evidence of this problem.

I had a duty to help tell a story for the Redland dogs who don’t have a voice outside of the great rescue and advocacy groups in South Florida. From a perspective to promote Rebecca’s real estate and dog rescue endeavor, the strategy was clear, let her narrate the story. She talked about what the rescue group witnessed and what viewers could do to help.

Here is the Redland Dogs Facebook post.

For a video to get moving, use an engaging video thematic

In Rebecca’s case, her video touched on a couple of the thematics.

  1. Aspirational. People were engaged by the problem and were interacting with the post, asking who they could contact and where should they go tohelp. Friends were tagged on the video, helping spread the word.
  2. Testimonial. Rebecca is a great storyteller and naturally can emotionally convey the story of the Redland dogs and what she witnessed.
  3. Activist. Government authorities in South Florida are negligent of the problem. The video and subsequent blog post highlights measures viewers can take to help curtail the problem.

It was a mix of these “recipes for success” that got the video off the ground.

I’ve assembled a master list of social video viral themes that will help you think of an approach for your video.

Direct and to the point

The video is relatively short at 100 seconds. Viewers learned what the video about immediately with the headline, “Did you know… Hundreds of dogs are abandoned in Redland, Florida?” and image of volunteers feeding dogs. Videos are served up on a merit system. If your video does well with comments, shares, likes and viewership it is more likely for Facebook to serve it up to a larger audience.

Emotional connection

The message was primed for success. Rebecca is an endearing messenger for the animals who need help. The video had dogs, a lot of them, which had intrinsic appeal. Viewers are surprised as hundreds of dogs wandering the streets is an unusual fact to encounter. Viewers are compelled to share, comment, like as they feel for these poor dogs and want justice for them.

Video subtitles

Facebook autoplaying video feature starts videos when they enter the viewer’s browser viewport. The content plays without interaction. By subtitling the video, viewers have a better idea what the video is about. These videos tend to get longer engagement and quality interaction.

Video is the preferred format on Facebook

As cell phone data plans get larger video consumption will increase. The video was posted on April 4, 2016. As of April 20, 2016 the video had the following engagement.

Results

Here are some video engagement stats from 16 days of activity:

  • 160,000 views
  • 140,500 unique viewers
  • 128,000 organic viewers
  • 12,000 paid views to the target demographic
  • 4,500 shares
  • 750 reactions
  • 175 comments
  • 800+ host page likes<

unique facebook viewersFacebook post detail stats

Facebook Video Ads

Facebook Video ads were launched to help boost traffic to the video post within Rebecca’s target audience outside the geographic region of Florida. This video targeted families “likely to move” according to Facebook, whom like Orlando, FL, Disney, had a specific net worth and most importantly were dog owners with interest in dog rescue.

The ads were responsible for approximately:

  • 10% of the video views
  • 5% of the video shares
  • 15% of the post likes and comments

The Goal

I’m looking to spread the word on Rebecca Lynch’s real estate effort as a means to directly and positively impact rescue animals within Florida and outside of Florida. Spreading the word of dogs in need is great. I’m looking to convert a percentage of that momentum into views on The Rescue Realtor website, creating brand awareness of her real estate prowess in Central Florida. The video post included a link to a longer testimonial video. Ultimately, when the time comes for a dog loving individual to make a real estate move, they’ll remember they can make an impact through Rebecca Lynch, The Rescue Realtor.

Next steps for this video

I’m on a grassroots Facebook push to help propel the video along further. Direct messaging dog rescue groups, dog advocate pages.

Considerations for future Facebook Video content

Facebook rewards video producers who produce engaging content and penalize producers who create mediocre content. If view length, sharing, liking, commenting is low, it won’t show the video on your page.

Hootsuite says:

The algorithm recognizes when someone’s videos perform well, and it promotes those. But it also does the opposite. If you continue to publish videos that no one engages with and no one watches to completion, Facebook is largely going to stop showing your videos to people.

Creating lackluster videos actually cause a social problem on your Facebook page. Be sure you are creating content that speaks to your audience.

master formats for viral videos

Master Formats for Viral Videos

I’ve assembled a working list with the goal of creating a “master formats” list for viral videos.

I think for the master format as the prime ingredient to help spark an idea and turn it into your plan for a viral video hopeful. While you can’t promise someone you’ll create a viral video. You can assert that your making a contentious effort to create a compelling video within a social media network of choice in which it’s content is primed to be sharable.

In 1978, Donald Gunn, Leo Burnett Creative Director created a list of 12 Master Formats of Television Advertising. These were the base ideas that cataliyzed modern TV advertising. Classic formats like Testimonial and Ongoing Characters and Celebrities to Contrast with Competition and Benefit Causes Story.

The formats still hold true today.

Today with Facebook accounts and YouTube channels. The formula has changed. Now when viewers are compelled to share content, what they share reflects directly on their ego, personality and reputation. This drives content creators to adjust their vantage point and create new types of videos. Some of which are associated and leveraged by commercial brands subvertly, put out there by activists, or by pranksters just for the fun of it. Some are better than others for subliminal commercial purposes.

Here is my working list for the master formats for social media viral videos that I’ll revise over time.

Master formats for social media viral videos

Aspirational

These videos play to the desires of keyboard warriors who prefer watching to doing.

  • Vacation videos to cool destinations
  • Travel to exotic locations
  • Making beautiful food dishes in 60 seconds, just like the video show with it’s quick editing
  • Point of view (POV), Go Pro style sports videos taking people on advertures
  • Human or animal accomplishment

Educational

  • Pro life tips
  • Interesting and creative solutions to everyday nagging problems
  • Historical facts of signification consequences

Explainer

Complex ideas and concepts made easy to understand by representing them abstractly and graphically with sound effects and animation.

  • Motion graphics that present dry information in a compelling way. Think Thought cafe as seen on YouTube.

 

Counter-Culture

Conspiracy theorists even have their own category for quasi-scientfic explanations for history or current events.

  • Ridicolous fun-fiction events that people know are fake, but it’s fun to share anyway for their bizarre factor.
  • Doom and end of days videos.
  • Bigfoot, aliens, ghosts caught on camera
  • Fantasy, lunatic fringe

Mainstream Media

Footage appropriated from the mainstream television culture.

  • Clips shared from mainstream media news sites or alternative media sources that are the steroids of journalism
  • Saturday night live clips and other popular media.

Personality

These videos are often found on popular YouTube channels that develop a following through subscriptions. Often these clips are copy n’ pasted into Facebook for social sharing.

  • Musical or artist performance
  • Subject Matter Expert
  • Cult of personality
  • YouTube personality or entity that gains an audience can help propel videos into the viral category.
  • Testimonial

Human Condition

Raw video footage. The unexpected happening caught on video. I was tempted to call this one human perversions.

  • CCTV footage of accidents or something terrible happening
  • Activity-gone-wrong
  • Humiliation and pranks is the dark side of the human spirit that pranksters love capturing on video
  • America’s Funniest Home Video style clips of painful and surprising events.
  • Just for fun, entertainment factor.
  • Cute factor. Cat and dogs imagery always sparks the cuteness factor.

Remix

Augmented footage reworked to create something new.

  • Pop culture clips
  • Altered news channel clips, Bad Lip Reading
  • Human tragedy, mishaps
  • Behind the scene, unedited home videos

Activism

  • Truth perspectives
  • Politically charged videos.
  • Confrontation of political and popular figures.

Karma

  • Justice videos where wrongs are made right serendipitously.

 

printing-press

Special Printing Techniques for Graphic Design

Special printing techniques can help you differentiate the way you represent your business, from business cards to direct mail. Here are some production approaches you can make when approaching a design project.

printing on fabric

Printing on fabric

spot uv

Spot UV Printing application on wiper blade packaging

  • UV Coating: This treatment will give you protection from UV rays. But you don’t want to for color fade protection. If you print with a spot UV coating, it will allow you to make certain areas of your card have a glossy shine, making content pop.
  • Screen printing: The technique that is used to make t-shirts can be beneficial as if you are printing on a darker paper. The ink will lay on top of the paper instead of getting absorbing into the paper like traditional commercial printing inks.
  • Folding: Go beyond a standard 2″ x 3.5″ business card size. Create a card with a gatefold or a reveal. hand over a business card that is valuable enough to come in it’s own sheath.
die cut printing

Die cuts allow you to create passthrough teases to content that will be revealed.

  • Diecut: Cut right through your card for an effect that can be used for initials or create shapes that highlight your business.
  • Paper Stock: Try an uncoated paper stock. The tactile nature will give people used to interacting with coated paper in magazine and commercial printing application a distinct perception of quality. Uncoated paper choices include laid, linen, column and felt, amongst others.
  • Emboss: Why print ink on a card when you can smash a customized die strike against paper to create any image you want. If you add a little color to the paper emboss it can create a dramatic effect. If you don’t print anything, it’s called a blind emboss. Be careful, it made be hard to read small letters.
  • Letterpress: Hipsters love Gutenburg. The original printing press was letterpress. Inked wood or steel letters pressed against paper create both a light emboss treatment and inked paper.
  • Foil Stamping: Think hallmark holiday cards, but beyond gold and silver. You can stamp blue, color-shifting foil, black foil to create cards that shine.
printing on plastic

Four color printing on plastic

  • Unusual materials: Current printing technologies allow for all surface printing. Fabrics, transparent and colored plastics, wood veneers, metallic surfaces. Lenticular lenses can create animation techniques when you rotate the card.
  • Pantone Matching System colors (PMS): Offset and digital printing standards mix cyan, magenta, yellow and black to reproduce most colors for realistic photographic reproduction on surfaces. However there are some colors like vivid orange, bright pure colors and fluorescents that are impossible to reproduce in CMYK. Pantone colors are speciality colors created by the Pantone corporation for specifying exact color matches and unique colors not offered by CMYK including metallics and pastels. Designers select colors from a printed book, choose them and printers can reproduce that color instead of matching colors from computer screens that don’t match.

By realizing you have an opportunity to utilize some of these formats you can help position and communicate your business as a premium solution instead of the cheapest solution.

facebook video ads

Facebook Video Ads are Hotter Than Yesterday’s TV spot

facebook video ads

Millennials don’t watch TV they watch Facebook.

They have Netflix up on their screen and an iPad with Facebook in front of them. If they have kids, the kids have the big screen and the parents have an earphone popped into a laptop with a Facebook window open somewhere. This is where Americans are, this is where your brand needs to be, subliminally working your message into content your audience is already engaged in.

The Average American Spends 40 Minutes Per Day on Facebook.

Facebook Video Ads are the new 30-sec TV spot.

Videos on Facebook get more engagement than any other type of Facebook ad. On YouTube, viewers are more likely to skip video ads interrupting their programming as soon as the 3 second delayed SKIP button is available.

Facebook’s page scrolling, and modular content, creates a content consuming environment more natural for video viewing. 39 Celsius conducted A YouTube vs Facebook video effectiveness test, demonstrating the value and quality Facebook advertisers are getting over YouTube marketers.

Video is all over the web, but Facebook is the place to be.

2016 confirms the trend line that video consumption on Facebook is surpassing Google’s YouTube for the number one video format.  In November 2014 the trend line of Facebook video posts surpassed that of YouTube. Just ask YouTube freebooters out there. Don’t know what a freebooter is? YouTube content creators are getting their creative content pirated from YouTube and uploaded into pirate’s Facebook accounts. This often resulting in the freebooters getting more views than the original YouTube creators. Facebook is being criticized for taking days to respond to complaints. Once they get around to it, the damage is done and the videos get millions of views resulting in more time being spent in the Facebook ecosystem.

Video is king. If video is not your current method for getting content to your audience, find a way to make it so. If you are already getting your message out there with video, great! You can use Facebook user algorithms to enhance your media buying dexterity. Target your audience granularly, based on user interests, demographics and life events. You are able to specify geolocation, age, income, interests, and hobbies to a tee. You have precision control to be able to exclude people, such as fans of your Facebook page, or people you are already targeting by other means. Targeting frequent travelers? Options allow you to focus on travel history, such as, recent travel to certain areas.

video play button on fire

Video content is the best visual content that will get you more viewers. Facebook video ads are given favorable treatment in user timelines compared to other visual ad format. Video content producers get the most engagement on Facebook, more than any other type of paid content post. Facebook states that in late November 2015 it hit a milestone of 8 Billion Daily Video Viewsdoubling since April. Keep in mind,  Facebook counts a video impression or Cost Per View (CPV), if a video up on the screen for at least three seconds. Since videos are auto play, users who are slow scrollers can trigger video auto play and may be counted as a view although they didn’t perceive any video content.

Track impressions and performance to the second. Facebook’s video metrics let you track individual video performance and retention, second by second. This allows you to craft different versions of your video and experiment with edits or content that may perform better and  have longer retention times than the previous effort.

A video ad will not just perform successfully on its own based on the sweat equity you invested in it.

You need to provide content that doesn’t violate the unwritten rules of Facebook engagement. Facebookers are interested in social consuming and sharing mode, give them something visual, relevant, and valuable that is tailored to their interests and maybe work in a marketing message at the end of the video.

Facebookers are in social consuming and sharing mode, give them something visualrelevant, and valuable to them that is tailored to their interests

Set aside some of your marketing budget for Facebook video ads. It’s a worthy way of getting quality branded content out there, from product placement to emotional testimonials. This digital marketing platform is going to soon be called traditional advertising as it should be in the toolkit for most marketers.

rebecca lynch the rescue realtor

Brand Identity Launched for Rebecca Lynch, The Rescue Realtor

rebecca lynch the rescue realtorRebecca Lynch, The Rescue Realtor is a real estate agent with a passion for more than just finding you a home in Orlando.

I had the privilege of designing a brand identity for Rebecca Lynch, now known as The Rescue Realtor.

I met Rebecca through our co-volunteering efforts with Poodle and Pooch Rescue of Florida. She has a love for Orlando and a love for dogs and dog rescue, which defines her personal brand. She combined the two into a real estate service that gives back to dogs and animal welfare organizations. She donates a part of her real estate commissions to non-profit Poodle and Pooch Rescue or other 501c3 animal welfare organizations of her client’s choosing.

When you put effort into an innate passion that people can naturally believe in, marketing a service becomes humane instead of a hard sell.

I witnessed her transform a part-time calling to help dogs in need into a full-time effort to help people and dogs. This struck a chord with me. It reminded me that some personal brands are intrinsically born with emotional currency, which is forever sought after in marketing and advertising. When you put effort into an innate passion that people can naturally believe in, marketing a service becomes humane instead of a hard sell.

rebecca-lynch-the-rescue-realtorIf a client can understand the joy of having a dog(s) in the home, Rebecca is certainly a choice real estate agent to help guide them in the aspects of selecting a home appropriate for their family, with special considerations for their furry friend.

The logo design

The brand identity features a dog holding a set of keys underneath the casual handcrafted script, “Rescue”. Clients who find The Rescue Realtor online are reminded by the dog with the keys, that it was their love for dogs that led them to an Orlando real estate agent who cares about finding clients and dogs alike the right home.

Her passion for finding everyone the right home can be summed up in a brand promise, “Everyone Deserves the Home of their Dreams”.

About Rebecca:

Rebecca Lynch is a full time licensed professional real estate advisor. Rebecca has lived in Central Florida for the past 20 years. Prior to becoming a real estate agent, Rebecca owned her own business working with title companies, closing real estate transactions and spent the last ten years employed as a supervisor for a large insurance company.

rebecca lynchRebecca is on the board of directors as the President of Poodle and Pooch Rescue of Florida, working with volunteers to rescue dogs abandoned and neglected dogs. Rebecca and her team of nearly 100 volunteers save as many lives as possible to treat, spay and neuter and re-home dogs in need.

“Finding my clients a home, helps our pets to find a home. For me, there’s nothing more rewarding.” -Rebecca Lynch

As a realtor specializing in residential properties, Rebecca brings abundant energy, creativity, dedication and personal knowledge to her work. Rest assured that she stays on top of details to ensure a smooth transaction and is always working in her client’s best interest. If you’re looking for a dedicated, hard working, ethical, round the clock agent, look no further, it would be Rebecca’s pleasure to welcome you home.

Should I Crowdsource my logo design process

Should I Crowdsource My Logo Design?

Should I Crowdsource my logo design process

 

Dozens of designs from dozens of designers! Get a wide range of logos for only $99.99! Select your favorite!

This is the promise from crowdsource logo companies. On the surface, crowdsourcing seems like a no-brainer. Choose your logo from a visual smorgasbord at the cost of a family night out to the movies.  But, is it wise to source your logo design like choosing your favorite options at a buffet?  Crowdsourcing logos can look good on the surface, but is raw after you bite into it.

A good logo design process is one where a client informs the designer on the company’s objectives. An active dialogue continues throughout the process. How will the logo serve as a promise to others on service or products customers should come to expect? Does the logo need to be reproducible on a hat? Does it need to be legible at less than two inches wide?

“I’ll know the right design when I see it”. This adage that many logo seekers share, is likely how you arrived at a crowdsourcing notion. Having dozens of logos to choose from! Fast food offers a cheap and large menu of choices, it’s called the dollar menu. You may see more for your buck, but you don’t get more in substance.

Crowdsourced design lacks process and creative development. Logo design is a collaborative process between a client and designer.  The client discusses the problem, looking for a solution with a designer who listens, examines, learns your history, ponders on thought, marinates on some ideas and is able to assess the collected data and prescribe a solution.  Clients and designers discuss target audience, business plan, visual tone, brand promise, and more.  A healthy logo design process includes these milestones established between designer and client. The design brief is a collaboration, insuring both parties understand each others goals. No designer would want to craft a refined logo after initial input, toiling endlessly for hours massaging and reworking a logo design until it is just right, without input from a client along the way.

Originality.  In a logo process be aware of copyright, symbols from stock libraries, and outright plagiarism. Crowdsource designers are in the business of quick-turn around for hundreds of clients who seek logos to slap on their business card. How are they able to dedicate resources to you to get you a logo? Shortcuts. Stock logo libraries and vectors found on the web are often leveraged as a shortcut for crowdsource designers. Is the inspiration or contours of your logo “inspired” from a subscription site or free source online?  Stock illustration sites warn against the usage of downloaded imagery and symbols in the creation of logos.  iStock photo even lists it’s restricted uses,  “No Use in Trademark or Logo. You may not use content as part of a trademark, design mark, tradename, business name, service mark, or logo.”

Stand apart from your competition. Good corporations and organizations stand apart in practice. In turn their logo must stand apart against an array of competitors logos. Are crowdsourced designers running their custom designs against a set of competitors to create a vision for setting your company apart?

A logo is an investment in the business you represent. You are not only investing in a logo design, you are subscribing to a story, a vision, a process. In the process you are investing in how the design got there and how the final design represents the brand you represent. You’ll be able to answer to your stakeholders and customers, why your symbol represents your company or your promotion. Good designers will provide you with this rationale to sell-in the idea to you and insure that the basis for it is well founded.

The best logo design process starts with a conversation and a collaboratively created brief. Ideas are sketched out, presented, revised, tweaked and customized to suit the needs and application of businesses. A truly unique representation of a brand is the ultimate goal, instead of crowdsourced designs where a paper angel of hundreds of razor thin ideas are contrived from a few quick cuts.

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Everyone Was Creative - Creativity in business

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Believing you are not creative is like surrendering your humanity. "I…
facebook video sharing
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Why My Video Went Viral on Facebook

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I'm going to walk you through a video post I made that went viral.…
master formats for viral videos
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Master Formats for Viral Videos

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I've assembled a working list with the goal of creating a "master…

 

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TouchJet Interactive Projectors: Novel Digital Presentation Devices or Enterprise Worthy Tech?

interactive projectors

Do interactive projectors fit your presentation style?

Standing in front of the room with a laser pointer in one hand and a powerpoint controller in the other can make a presenter feel like Robocop. Ruling the room with influence, technology and capability, well at least in the 90s, maybe.

Corporations with forward-thinking employees are always looking to leverage technology to advance their message, and digital presentation devices are the “bleeding-edge” of technological implementation.

Presenters are advancing their businesses and themselves using the latest tools to accentuate their messages and stories. If you are traveling to make a sales presentation or pitch a big idea, you are just as concerned with your presentation as you are with executing it. In this regard, often tech has been your enemy. You are managing the transport of projectors, equipment and making sure it functions the same when it arrives as it did in your office.

Projectors are ubiquitous with telling stories. Storytelling should be the focus. The tech that drives it should be secondary, and used as an accent once you’ve got your message squared away. Brands and companies have used projectors to maximize the size of their ideas to large and small audiences alike.

Interactive projectors offer another layer of communication capability, and complexity. While they have been around for a few years their usage has been limited to sophistcated classrooms and for internal communications. The upside of their capabilities and creative potentional are enormous. They allow users to interact with them and face their audience simultaneously. Like an acrobat, engaging with their clients, while manipulating their presentation. The difficulty of bringing one with you is that it lacks portability practicality. These projectors are a niche product and you can’t rely on your host site having one.

touchpico2TouchJet, a new interactive projector company has recently released Pond Projector. It’s a self-contained interactive projector built into a housing with an android tablet, speaker and battery. It’s a device smaller than your laptop and is a projector that allows you to play multimedia content.

I’m proposing some reasons to consider incorporating a interactive projector tech into your presentations, including usage tips, benefits, pros and cons, etc.

Making the most out of an interactive project

Why upgrade from my trusty laptop and traditional projector?

We’ve finally graduated from dongle hell and our tech culture has finally settled on HDMI. Why should I consider another way of presenting?

  • Traditional laptop and projector setup has interactivity limitations. Interacting with the laptop, you are not engaged content on the projector, let alone your audience.
  • If you are using an iPad to control the laptop, or direct to projector, you have a similar issue with being appearing distracted with your devices if you are performing more complex interactivity.

Tips for success with Interactive Projector

  • Keep the projector off at first. Introduce yourself and conduct your opener with the lights on.
  • Place yourself in the front of the room, standing, facing your audience, run through your introduction, your agenda. Once you complete the opener, turn on the projector and dim the lights.
  • Bring a sturdy, carbon-fiber, light-weight collapsible tripod for mounting the portable projector. It is preferable if the tripod can collapse to desktop height for maximum flexibility. You want to avoid a shaky projection during your presentation.
  • Portable projectors can run off of batteries. Consider a portable auxiliary battery powered solution for extending the duration of your projector runtime and to take advantage of avoiding running it via the included AC Adapter to your host’s power supply.
  • Separate your projector presentation from your presentation opener. Since your projector presentation relies on manipulated the light of the room to allow the presentation to be easily seen on the wall. You’ll want to make sure your audience can see you deliver your confident opener.
  • Portable projectors are small enough to have a backup in case something goes wrong.
  • Bring a portable projection screen if you are unsure you will have access to one.
  • Use Android software to automatically launch your key presentation upon wake from sleep or powerup.


The benefits

  • The stylus can interact with the projector by clicking the stylus against the wall or performing a floating click. You can click on an auxiliary button on the pen allowing you to physically further away from the wall if you choose to be.
  • You are able to position your shoulders to your audience and interact with the presentation in complex ways other than “Back” and “Forward”.
  • You are able to develop presentations more complex than that of a powerpoint. You can build a presentation that is gesture sensitive or enable whiteboard features overtop anything you project.
  • Portability. It’s only a couple of pounds and is the size of an ice cream sandwich
  • Cost. It is one of the less expensive projectors on the market.

The cons

  • The small package means low lumens. If you are not able to control the light in your host room, it will be difficult to see your images, even at maximum brightness.
  • People who love their laptops might find it clunky to transition to an Android tablet solution. They run powerpoint.

There are multitudes of other interactive projectors from Epson, BenQ and others that offer similar features. These devices are in larger form factors. There are android phones that offer non-interactive projector capabilities.

It is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of options in our tech laden culture. Whichever digital presentation device you choose, just remember to stick to the contents of your message first.

I’m basing this article on my experience with an interactive android based projector device from TouchJet called “Pond”. I was made aware of it in a Kickstarter campaign in October 2014. At the time it was called TouchPico Projector.

100-ways-trade-show-booth-main-attraction

100 Ways to Make Your Trade Show Booth the Show’s Main Attraction

100-ways-trade-show-booth-main-attraction

You know you can get more out of your booth presence. You are working hard to find an edge to make your brand shine a little brighter getting your booth a more attraction than last event. With a few steps, you are sure to get an edge on your competitors, and increase your ability to make a sale.

I’ve assembled a comprehensive list of techniques to help you take your booth to the next level. Arm yourself with a fresh perspective on brainstorming your booth design. And most importantly, impress trade show attendees by highlighting your brand’s purpose vividly.

Start with a 30000 Foot View

Before you start picking out tablecloths, funky chairs or professional easy grip pens, step back and conduct a planning phase. Rushing into cobbling together a booth is a recipe for blending in with the masses. With a little planning and audience understanding your brand’s booth stand out at the next trade show.

  1. The Approach.

    Get out a sheet of paper to answer the points on this post page. Understand that it’s best not to jump right into trade show planning and purchasing components. Plan your booth design with the same approach as you would a communications project. Every element should have a purpose for being in your booth. Take a systematic approach to arrive at the appropriate objectives and contents for your booth.

  2. Understand Your Audience.

    Define the target audience. If you need a clearer understanding, create personas categories for each user category. This will insure you can anticipate your booth attendee’s needs.

  3. Problem, action, solution.

    Define the problem your booth will solve. What was the shortcoming of last year’s booth? What branding problem or product communication problem is going to be remedied by your booth design?

  4. Define Objectives.

    Define what the objectives of the booth are. Anticipate the successful outcomes by meeting booth objectives. Are you trying to create brand awareness? Are you focused on reaching out to the audience with the problem your product solves? Are you focused on creating qualified leads? If your budget is on the smaller side, you need to give priority to your objectives.

  5. Write it down, make it happen.

    How can you substantiate your objectives? Write down what tactics you are going to use to reach your goals. Bullet point them out. As you define the right people, design tactics, lead generation software you can start to visualize your goals coming to fruition. Now you can start to act upon your instincts when you start to substantiate your objectives with solutions. Chip away at each one, a little bit at a time. Write this stuff down!

  6. Analyze the competition.

    Are their any competitive considerations to make? Go to a show and write down what your competitors are doing. This will be useful to make your booth design stand out from the norm and the noise. Take cell phone photos to help you visualize a plan of what to do and what not to do. Ask booth operators what software they are using to collect data. By going to last year’s show, you have fish in the barrel access to competitive insight.

  7. Set the right tone.

    List out adjectives to describe the tone or feeling you want your booth to give. Is it clean and professional? Corporate and clinical. Fun and adventurous? How do you want attendees to feel when they approach and are in your booth? This will help guide your booth designers and fabricators.

 

100 Ways to Make Your Trade Show booth the Show’s Main Attraction

Next…Environmental Design
Making Your Booth a Destination
Experiential Intelligence
Interactivity
Engineering the Experience
Pre and Post Show Decisions
Design, Art & Copy
Operations
Mastering the Intangibles

I look forward to helping you grow your business with graphic design and branding best practices. Signup for branding and design email updates and I’ll drop you a line when I update my blog.

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