This post comes as a blast from the past by our very own JJ Lassberg – she’s taken a new direction in her creative and tech world, but remains ever a Schipulite! Enjoy her great thoughts around branding!
In a world saturated by marketing ads and promotions, where children watch more than 40,000 ads of TV alone, it’s hard gain the competitive edge.
Here at Schipul, we believe there are 10 Top Branding Guidelines that can help you stand out in the crowd:
Focus on the #1 thing you provide
Get a short, Clear Tagline that tells me what you are going to do for me
Be consistent with your branding – don’t change it because YOU get bored, it’s all about ME the customer
Show that your are the best by choosing top quality, up to date graphics and design
Use Your Branding EVERYWHERE
Share your branding with a press kit – give people what they need to talk about you
Train everyone in your organization to say the same thing about what you do
Let Your fans rave – them where and how to do it
A bad reputation is louder and more demanding that even the best branding
Let go… just a little. Be Fun, Kind and Grateful to anyone willing to engage and share your branding online.
For the full Branding Guidelines – view the Slideshare Presentation Below:
Schipul is incredibly excited to show off some new stamps we’ve had created with the help from our friends at Gowalla.
While we are still trying to figure out everything there is to know about location based social media, we LOVE the way Gowalla allows locations to easily customize their visitors’ experience. These three stamps are our first steps to helping our clients get more out of Gowalla, and help them find new ways to interact with their customers, visitors and patrons.
The Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park will be held Friday, March 25 through Sunday, March 27 in Memorial Park. The Bayou City Art Festival is produced by the Art Colony Association, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to producing high quality art festivals and events, which provide financial support to local nonprofit organizations. Over the past 39 years, Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park and Bayou City Art Festival Downtown have raised $2.6 million for local nonprofit organizations.
The 2011 Miller Outdoor Theatre season kicks off March 23 with Swing, Jive and Pop! Into Dance presented by the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company. The performance incorporates history, fashion, music and the arts into an interactive blast of excitement. The company dances through the eras of the 1930’s Lindy Hop, bops into the 1950’s, grooves into the 1970’s and ends into the Hip Hop music of today.
I’ve been working here at Schipul for almost a year now. I came here after 4+ years of working for the Society for the Performing Arts in Houston, TX. During this time, my mind has not strayed far from trying to find better ways for performing arts organizations to harness the power of the Internet to enhance audience development and, more importantly, sell more tickets.
This post is a first step in helping performing arts institutions to better understand and use the Internet for their organizations and their artists. I welcome your feeback, and hope you forward this on to anyone you know that works for a performing arts organization if you find it useful.
A Reality: Performing Arts needs SEO
You probably think an organization like Lincoln Center wouldn’t need Search Engine Optimization. You’re wrong.
Despite being quite familiar with their site, I had to Google them first to find their site. Today’s web user is very reluctant to start slapping .com on anything you want on the web. For instance, try typing whitehouse.com into your browser. You will not find our President.
Need more proof? Take a look at this report from Google Insights about searches including the words lincoln and center. NOTE: These results are from New York state.
I don’t know about you, but I know Lincoln Center is in New York City. Yet above you can see that many people actually search for “lincoln center nyc” or “lincoln center ny”. Again, these are searched from the state of New York. The point here is that regardless of how strong your brand or position is in a patron’s mind, they will more likely be Googling you or the performer first.
Wait! Don’t go optimizing your performances just yet. You need to develop your strategy first. You’re probably thinking you’ll succeed if you start optimizing around the same time you start marketing the performances through your other outlets. That’s not going to work. You need at least three months of continuous optimization to start getting attention of the great and powerful Google. This means your online marketing should not, in any way, be tied to your other marketing plans. Why?
Newspapers are dying because they thought reprinting their paper on the web was all they needed to do. They were wrong. You must market to an online audience (i.e. Google) if you want people to find your web site. This means you need to start treating Google like your oldest subscriber and donor.
A Challenge: Performing Arts needs Video
Do you remember when we all thought how crazy it was to have a camera on a cell phone? Now we have phones offering HD video! But there’s a HUGE drawback as it’s not so easy to transmit video via today’s web. However, as the Internet continues to become more mobile, and the transmission lines get faster and more widespread, sharing video is going to become as ubiquitous as photo sharing is today.
Today, many performing artists rely on photos to tell their story. Take this image from Diavolo’sTrajectoire.
But doesn’t this video do a better job of telling their story?
Of course, it’s not just about presenting it, it’s HOW you share the video. Take this video I’ve embedded from Alvin Ailey Dance Company. NOTE: Alvin Ailey has restricted our ability to share their videos to this format.
Not very impressive, is it? If you do decide to click on it, you will bear witness to one of the greatest displays of American choreography the world has ever seen. But if you’re like most web users, you are more likely to trust the Diavolo video link (32K+ hits) over the link from Alvin Ailey (26K+ hits).
Proving a picture is worth 6,000 clicks.
Artists and presenting organizations have to work together to provide better opportunities for patron video consumption. It’s not about showing entire pieces or performances, it’s about whetting the appetite of an audience that is starved for good content. And like we’ve seen above, how you allow your patrons and fans to present is important as well.
An Adventure: Check in, Experience the Performing Arts
Do you remember your reaction when you first heard someone talk about Twitter? It was probably the same reaction you have had listening to someone talk about Foursquare, Gowalla or SCVNGR. I must admit, I long fought against the location-based check in services. However, the more I learn about them, the more I begin to see the dawning of a new level of personal interaction.
The purpose behind these services isn’t to alert people of your location, it’s to tell a story about a location. Every time you walk into a special place, like a performing arts venue, a memory is made. You are not the person you were after you’ve walked into one of your special locations.
For a performing arts organization’s patrons, this is a regular experience every time they walk into your performance hall. The hall is your sandbox, and you now have some pretty amazing toys to play with in it. Whether you create photo contests with Instagram or Hipstamatic, or offer discounts to patrons who check in via Gowalla or SCVNGR, you now have the ability, generally for FREE, to create memories and expand your patrons’ experiences beyond the stage and performance.
Performing Arts Online
I want to explore these and other ways the Internet can be used to tell the story of performing arts over the course of this year. I can tell you now, the performing arts groups are not fully utilizing the power of the web to further their mission and vision. My goal, my New Year’s resolution, is to help change that.
I hope this is a first step in the right direction.
If you’ve ever wondered why all the fonts on the Internet look the same, it’s because there’s a very limited number of them for Web designers to choose from. The issue is this: For a font to work correctly, it has to be installed on your computer. If it’s not there, it doesn’t show up.
Fortunately, every single computer on earth comes with at least one font installed. In fact, there are multiple. And because every computer has this specific set, Web designers are free to use those fonts in their designs because they a) know what it will look like, and b) they know it will work.
Being limited to around five or six fonts (Arial [or Helvetica on a Mac], Verdana, Times New Roman, Georgia, Tahoma, roughly) seriously limits the way your designs will look.
But as the Internet grows up, Google is hoping to utilize some new features to allow for designers to use more fonts in their creations. Enter the Google Font Directory.
The Google Font Directory now easily allows designers to embed fonts into a site itself, rather than require the computer to have them installed. (Visit the Directory itself to see the ever-growing list of new fonts available.)
And the best part? It’s incredibly simple!
All the designer needs to do now is drop this line of code…
I was pretty excited the day I heard about this thing. Now I’m typing this very blog post on it, sitting on an airplane on the way to California. What follows here is less of a review (5 thumbs up!) and more of a commentary on why I think this thing is the beginning of something.
iPad Form and Feel
The specs on the device don’t really do it justice. The screen is much bigger than an iPhone, but not exactly as big as a laptop screen. It weighs about as much as a dinner plate, which is light to move around but heavy to hold one-handed. The aluminum is a bit slippery to the touch, but I’ve got the apple case on mine which is thin but tactile enough that I don’t expect to drop it. While adding a case adds thickness, it doesn’t matter that much because the iPad is much too big to put in a pocket.
The screen is the same buttery-smooth glass as the iPhone. Fingers slide around very easily, though they do cause quite a bit of smudging. The buttons are all distinctly placed and easy to access. The headphone jack occasionally seems to be in the wrong place, but that it easily corrected by rotating the screen. Almost every app rotates around so that there is no top or bottom of the device. Overall the device is plenty big to see and light enough for a lap, which secures it in that middle space between iPhone and MacBook.
iPad Function and Performance
This thing is fast! The biggest problem that has plagued many similar portable devices is speed, and the iPad delivers better than anything I’ve ever used. You tap or swipe something, and things start happening immediately. The Wi-Fi is quick and browsing websites feels as fast as using a desktop.
The function of this magical thing is most called into question. If I already have a laptop, desktop, and an iPhone, why would someone ever need an iPad? Well, the short answer is you don’t need it, but you probably really want it. The iPad combines much of the portability of the phone with the power and relative size of a laptop. Using the apps loaded on the device along with some from the app store you can:
Play games where you touch the screen
Surf the web on a large screen
Read and respond to email with a full keyboard
Administer websites from a command line
Design websites using mockup and graphics apps
Edit, share, and upload photos
Write blog posts (like this one)
While that likely doesn’t cover 100% of what you do in a day, it probably covers 75-80%. And in doing so, it lets you do the things you need (or want) to do from a couch, coffee shop, airplane, or even the beach with the 3G model. The battery life will cover you all day, as it is pretty true to the quoted 10 hours. I got only 9 hours with the 3G, but that is still much longer than I would get if I was constantly using the iPhone or even a laptop.
Worth the cost?
I, likemanyotherpeople, fully expected the iPad to cost over $1000 when it was first announced in January of this year. I was blown away by the entry-level price of $499. For some people, that $499 version (16GB, Wi-Fi only) will be good enough. I settled in on the 32GB model with 3G, which rang up to close to $800 after taxes and such. Throw in the case and a couple of other extras and it’s closer to $900. Then, pile on the $80 on apps I have spent so far and I am almost at that $1000 mark. Even then, I think it all has been worth it.
The iPad changes my entire day. I wake up and am able to read my RSS feeds on a large, light weight screen while sitting in bed. That’s about 20 minutes a day. I take the iPad to work and use it to check and file email, test web designs, and keep up with social media. At night, I take it home and I browse the web from the dinner table or while on the couch. I use it as a giant remote for the media center computer hooked up to my TV. All in all, I probably spend about 3 hours a day with the device.
While I could do most of those things from a phone or a laptop, they are so much nicer on the iPad. It has the best balance of being powerful and portable than any other device I’ve ever used (and I’ve used a few). Having a great experience for 3 hours a day is entirely worth the cost of the device.
Future of computing
There was much debate before the device was released (some of which I contributed to) about the effects of the iPad on the future of computer. I do believe that touch is something that will be around for the relative future, until we get Minority Report style gesture interfaces. Using the device needs little or no training to jump in and start browsing or using apps. That jumps a major hurdle in using almost any other computing device. The iPad was made for people who aren’t that in to computers, but who use email, social media, and the internet at large.
A big part of the negative side of the discussion comes from individuals who want a normal computer with a touch screen. This is not the iPad, and I don’t think it describes the future of computing. When you really think about the level of abstraction that is involved in a normal desktop, it’s pretty mind-blowing. If you come in with the goal of wanting to look at pictures, you have to find the right folder, open the pictures (usually 1 by 1), and flip through them while they are surrounded by a window with menus and buttons and other extras. On the iPad, you tap the photos app, and there they are. When browsing a photo, your options are limited to what you can do with that photo at that moment. Many people are scared of that word ‘limited’, but I think the reduction in UI junk helps you to accomplish your goals at that time.
All of this said, the iPad can’t do everything. I won’t speak on Flash, because that has been talked to death, but the iPad is also incapable of some other things. As I said before it tackles about 80% of computing tasks. But remember, this is just the first iteration. The biggest thing the iPad has going for it is that it makes the things you want to do easier and more fun.
I’ve had my iPad for just over a week, and I love it. I carry it around with me and have already used it for movies at the gym, in a client presentation, while taking notes, at home, at my desk, and on an air plane. Much of those things can be done other ways, but nothing can do all of them the way the iPad can. Check out the iPad at your local Apple store or borrow one from your local Apple fanboy so you can understand what I am talking about.
While this review was written on an iPad with both the onscreen keyboard and a Bluetooth one, the post was published on a desktop.
Want a copy? Tell us what product you can’t live without and what about it’s design has made it integral to your life.
For inspiration check out my 5 Favorite Product Designs from the book!!
the Motorola Razr V3: I had one of these babies. And yes I agree… the silver version pictured in the book was a step forward for phones, but the Pink Razr (with duct tape accents) that I personally owned was what I’d consider more of a giant leap. Razrs are risiliant little things and last for years!
Aeron Armchair: I sit in a wannabe one of these (from Eurway) all day at work and I would never switch to a different chair. Commenter Carley H. Franklin calls it the “Rock-Star of the Seating World” and I wholeheartedly agree! Even if my chair is merely the pop-star version.
the Chanel No. 5 Flacon: Ladies across the world will unanimously agree that this famed bottle of perfume is one of the iconic symbols of all things womanly.
POM Juice Bottle: I love pomegranates so by proxy I love this bottle. The design helps too.
Glock G17 Semi-Automatic Pistol: I’m an Army Gal and so weapons of all shapes and sizes interest me. This one is a little smaller than the ones we used to tote around in basic training but I love that they featured it in a design book!!
A big “wow” and “congratulations” go out to the folks at Culintro, one of our newer customers who use Tendenci to manage their Web site and membership. In just a few short months they have registered 1,500 members after starting from scratch earlier in the year. Clearly, that rapid growth suggests they are satisfying a need for executives in the restaurant industry. Check out the news release for more details.
We’ve been posting quite a bit lately on how non-profits can better use the Web for fundraising. Here’s a great example of putting these fundamentals in action. We just posted an announcement about the new Web site we’ve launched for theFund, San Antonio’s United Arts Fund. Like a lot of non-profits, theFund is facing significant recession-related funding challenges. But unlike a lot of non-profits, the organization is not hunkering down and waiting out the storm. They are accelerating their fundraising efforts and they are making Web marketing a core component of their strategy — making sure their offerings are in sync with what people want, their information is relevant and making it as easy as possible for people to give. Take a look at the Web site the Schipul team designed and let us know what you think.
Congratulations to the YMCA of Greater Houston, which has unveiled www.ymcahouston.org, an upgraded and interactive Web site. The Schipul team is proud to be associated with such a highly respected Houston institution. Can you imagine the challenge of connecting with 100,000 people served every day? That challenge is why the Y’s Web site plays such a major role. For example, we made sure every page features a zip code search tool to make it easy to find the closest center. The Web site also makes it easy to apply for financial aid, join the Y as a facility member, register for upcoming programs and subscribe to receive e-mail alerts. We are also helping to roll out Y-Online, a new online registration system that will provide a faster and more user-friendly experience.
The Schipul team recently released a new Web site design for Safety Vision, a global provider of mobile digital video solutions. It is a great example of the power of incorporating video clips to illustrate the core benefits of an organization’s products and services. The site includes actual examples of video captured by Safety Vision’s client cameras, including one case in which a parent gets on a school bus and (I suppose we should say allegedly, although it’s right there in the video) attacks one of the students.
Take a moment to take a look. It might give you some ideas about taking some existing video of your operations and posting them on your site.
A news account of the attack from CBS Evening News that also featured the Safety Vision video is below.