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design & marketing blog

Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

Boeing 787 Microsite

September 26th, 2011

Boeing 787I ran across the website for Boeing’s new plane releases, aptly named newairplane.com, and was impressed. It’s one of the best examples I’ve seen in both design and function of the microsite.  What is a microsite you might ask? It’s a small website, separate from a the main website of a company, that provides a dedicate platform for highlighting a product, product line, service or campaign. Microsites can be on a subdomain but are most often on a domain of their own which includes descriptive keywords or keywords consistent with branding.

Being such a mammoth corporation even launches of new products as big as the Boeing 787 would lose focus if placed within Boeing’s massive corporate site. Their microsite isolates and focuses attention on one aspect of their business, their new product launches. While Boeing doesn’t have to worry about this, microsites can often times serve as successful components to bolster search engine marketing. The key is though they have to be legitimate sites with unique and valuable content. There’s no better way to get an understanding for what a successful microsite looks like than to visit Boeing’s at newairplane.com.

While we’ve not developed any microsites of Boeing scale, we have help clients successfully develop numerous microsites to better focus and market their products and services. Contact us if you have questions about the feasibility of a microsite for your company or brand.

 

 

Facebook Plans to Take Over the World

September 22nd, 2011

This provocative article about Facebook’s imminent steps in their strategy to take over the world is really no surprise given the magnitude that Facebook has grown over the last few years. It’s the nature of the beast. Anything that gets too big tends to develop an insatiable appetite for growth and eventually begins devouring the values upon which it became successful. Think Microsoft and Google.

So there are big changes coming to Facebook. Changes, according to Ben Parr on Mashable, that are going to “Change the world of social media” (Ben sounds like a Facebook shill in parts of this article). Here are some of the quotes from Ben Parr’s article, regarding the “mind-boggling things” Facebook will be launching in within a month or so:

  • “Facebook’s goal is to become the social layer that supports, powers and connects every single piece of the web, no matter who or what it is or where it lives.” (Shouldn’t Dr. Evil get a credit for this line?)
  • “These changes will make Facebook a place where nearly everything in your life is enhanced by your social graph. These changes will make it so you know your friends better than you ever thought you could.” (It’s about time . . . seeing and talking to people is such a hassle anyway.)

Has Facebook turned “evil”?  It seems they are intent on creating their own de facto mandatory internet upon which users have very little direct control. That path will be the beginning of the end for them or any other company that thinks they can reign in the freedom garnered from the social media revolution.

One thing that especially alarms me is how Facebook has managed to have users create the value while Facebook collects huge sums of advertising revenue generated from that content. Now it’s expanded into the business realm. As of this year we can build a complete custom interactive web page on our company’s Facebook page but Facebook has complete control and gets advertising revenue. It seems bizarre to me that we’ve allowed ourselves to be suckered into this sort of proprietary network to build our online presences within. It’s like a successful version of AOL (without 10 billion DVD’s being mailed).

While Facebook and other social media platforms will be with us indefinitely, I’m looking forward to the day when the realm is stabilized and attempts by small groups of people to control and profit off the masses are thwarted.

Till then, we offer custom Facebook page design and optimization. 🙂

 

BitDefender – Creating Powerful Corporate Mythology

August 30th, 2011

BitDefender Logo

I’m fascinated how a corporation can use a logo, or rather the story behind it, as a totem of corporate mythology (or to be more crass, groupthink). Logos often have more impact within an organization than without. I don’t really get much as a consumer from BitDefender’s new logo at first glance, but as you can see from this link they have created a great myth around it which can be a powerful uniting force within the organization and amongst their customer evangelists.  You can check out their new brand mythology here.  My compliments to the branding team who led this project.

Using Conformity to Communicate The Uniquness of Your Company

August 8th, 2011
Baker Tilly Email Design

A great example of the the principles of consistency and conformity is the email template we designed for Baker Tilly. Compare the email design with the graphic identity of their existing Website.

Seth Godin’s blog posts are always profound, but his most recent post Bypassing the Leap is especially relevant to the services we provide. The gist of his post is that most of the time creativity is the act of reinterpreting and reassembling elements that are already well accepted and proven to work.

Effective branding and design services are based from this same perspective. While it may sound contradictory, quality creative products are almost always intentionally designed to conform within well established boundaries.

No matter how unique of graphic identity a corporation has, you’ll find the logo almost always in the upper left and the main site navigation in one of two locations. This is staying within the proven boundaries of usability. When Fortune 500 corporations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop their branding and identity all marketing publications will almost always have identical colors, layout and typeface. This is adhering to the core principle of graphic design—consistency. Corporations conform to the principles of usability and consistency because they know they’re the most effective way to communicate a credible message and the most effective way to persuade their customers to action.

Embracing conformity to communicate uniqueness is really the secret of success when it comes to marketing communication and application design. 

Many small and mid-sized companies don’t get this. Have you ever found a Website through Google that you thought might be a good solution for a need only to have second thoughts when their Website design looked dated, amateur or unclear?  No matter how unique and appealing their solution may be, if their graphic design and usability do not establish unwavering credibility you’re likely to just head back to Google to search for an alternative.

Small and mid-sized companies have a great opportunity to level the playing field against even massive competitors by communicating their unique value message by conforming to already accepted and proven principles.

Does your marketing communication produce credibility or doubt? Ask ten people outside your organization that you can trust to give you honest opinions about their impressions of your Website, emails or other marketing material. If you need an objective professional opinion let us know. The one thing you’ll get is honesty and there’s no obligation. If you do decide for yourself that your identity needs a makeover we provide consulting as well as in-house development and design services. You can call us at 866.770.7967 or through our online form.

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