Monday, April 30, 2012

Letter from the Editor: Let Your Voice Be Heard

Dear Friend,

These are exciting times we live in. Digital marketing is moving at lightning speed. Social media is growing daily with Google+ and Pinterest snapping at the heels of Facebook and Twitter. (See “Pinterest Q&A” this month.) Increased Smart Phone usage is displacing desktop and laptop usage for online information. (See “Are you mobilized?” this month.) And Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing will have to reinvent themselves now that Siri has arrived.

Siri (Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface) on iPhone 4S lets you use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls, and more. Ask Siri to do things just by talking the way you talk. Siri understands what you say, knows what you mean, and even talks back. What a fantastic invention and the epitome of technological advancement. And as this technology gains momentum, you’ll begin to see “Intelligent Automated Assistants” on all platforms that respond to the user’s voice, allowing them to not only find locations, add to their calendar, find trivia answers, download coupons and specials, but also to purchase items online...all with YOUR voice and without a keyboard.

It’s still in its infancy; Siri’s features are limited to the iPhone 4S and its default applications, as well as some applications that seem to have preferred status (e.g., Google Maps, Yelp, Wikipedia, and Wolfram Alpha—Best Buy’s shopping app). So, for small businesses, it’s important to be where she is pulling information from -- and that is Google Maps and Yelp.

The appearance and evolution of Siri gives good reason to pause, contemplate, and reevaluate your digital marketing strategy. Certainly something to think about. Let us know if we can help.





You may have noticed a new Internet buzzword lately as some of your friends on facebook are “liking” a new social medium: “Pinterest.”

So what is “Pinterest?”

Pinterest is a VISUAL social medium that acts like a bulletin board (called a “pinboard”) and allows users to “pin” their favorite photos, videos, and other virtual items. Each individual pinboard is thematic and categorized such as home decor, DIY, clothing, food, etc. This allows the user to organize their interests easily. 

The beauty of this medium is that it is inspiring and creatively driven. In fact, Pinterest's mission is to "connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting." User’s can share their pinterests on Facebook and Twitter, helping this social medium earn its place as one of the fastest growing social networks in the world, becoming one of the top 10 largest  with 11 million total visits per week.* 

So, how does it work?

Pinterest, like other social media, is membership-based and operates as an invitation-only site.  Those invitations can come from an existing user or directly from the Pinterest website by request. Also, a user can create an account by linking Pinterest to their Facebook or Twitter profile. Users add images to their pinboards through “pin it” or “follow me.” These images are usually from various blogs and e-commerce sites  with links back to the blog or site.

Who uses Pinterest?

68% of the users of Pinterest are women, 50% with children. The average annual household income is more than $100,000. Pinterest has 1.36 million visitors per day.**

What can it do for my business?

Good question! According to Wayfare, an ecommerce company, Pinterest shoppers spend 70% more than other customers and according to a PriceGrabber study, 21% of users have purchased items they saw first on Pinterest. This is a viable economic opportunity that's here to stay. 

An example of a successful pinterest marketing campaign is Ann Taylor Weddings. With an extensive offering of wedding ideas, brides-to-be can scroll through Ann Taylor’s pinboarded products and pin their favorite images and ideas for their own weddings. If the user wants a continuous feed, they can select “follow me,” which updates their pinboard as Ann Taylor adds more products. The engagement and reach multiplies with every “pin.” 

How do I integrate Pinterest with my company’s brand?

  1. Create an account: Like Facebook or Twitter, you can easily create an account for your brand that others can follow. Then through a quick search, start to follow Pinterest users that could be your brand advocates, and definitely follow those who have pinned items from your pinboard.
  2. Create boards: After you create your account you should start creating boards that can represent categories for you to pin items to. Remember that this is a VISUAL social medium so how your pins look is even more important than what you pin. It's not the recipe, but the photos of that delectable chocolate cake that makes people want to share with their followers and try them at home. It's not the clothing description, but how the clothing was photographed and styled that makes someone want to buy it.
  3. Incorporate it into other marketing efforts: Increase your engagement, reach, and ulitimately revenue through integration of a “pin it” button on your website, blog, and your other social media involvements. 

The ultimate conclusion is that "Pinning" can drive purchases. As expert digital brand builders, Modea, states:
“As marketers are scrambling to discover how to best leverage the new channel, one thing has become clear: The power of Pinterest lies in the fact that it transforms every one of its users into a personal curator of content at the click of a button. The visual nature and simple experience is a great fit for brands that want to be an organic part of their customer's social lives. Pinterest provokes a resurgence of web site referrals, which have been trending downward since the advent of other social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest is the new digital doorway to your brand and you're no longer the gatekeeper.”

What's the Bottom Line?  

If your target audience is the digitally involved (who isn't now-a-days?) and your brands are "pin-worthy" you should integrate Pinterest into your digital marketing strategy. But beware. It better LOOK great AND be useful! The "Pinterest effect" reminds us all of how important it is for marketers to focus on creativity, strong photography, and relevant content. Pinterest truly illustrates: "A picture is worth a thousand words.

*Sloan, Paul. "Pinterest: Crazy growth lands it as top 10 social site."
CNET News. 22 Dec 2011. Website.

** Modea Social Media Gurus. "Pinning = Winning | The Infographic."
Modea. 25 Feb 2012. Website.

Are you Mobilized?

As smart phone usage continues to grow, brands need to extend their communications. Get mobilized! Why? Because there's a huge opportunity to help build customer loyalty on this unique and compelling platform.

Some statistics
  • College graduates (ages 18-35) and those with annual household incomes of $75,000 or more have stronger adoption rates to mobile and are more likely to use smart phones, but every major demographic group is showing growth in the use of mobile devices.
  • 46% of Americans use a smart phone as of February 2012. Two likely factors influencing this growth are: a) The cost of smart phones has gone down significantly and b) businesses are using tablets and mobile apps more for document sharing, and for easy communication with colleagues who are working remotely. Plus, employees are expected to have email and Internet access after hours and outside the office and the easiest way to do this is with mobile. This means that people who aren't necessarily young are adopting the technology as well.

Why should my brand mobilize?
  1. Customers are already on mobile. There is no need to convince consumers that this platform/channel is viable. This saves you both money and time.
  2. Unprecedented potential for access to your customers. Given that people take their smart phones everywhere and it's culturally acceptable to use them anytime, your brands can engage with your customers more frequently and more directly than ever before.
  3. Customers have physical/emotional attachments to their smart phones. When they download an app, they invite a brand into their personal space. With the right mobile experience, brands can become fixtures of an individual's daily routine. The brands that successfully enter this space are the ones that tailor their apps to the user's needs, likes, and behavior.
  4. It's interactive. Now-a-days customers seek conversation (hence the growth of FaceBook and Pinterest). Develop your brand's reputation as being both modern and tech-savvy and responsive to customer opinions. The interaction between your brand and your customer will offer invaluable insights into how you can serve them better and ultimately impact your bottom-line.

Get started Mobilizing today! Build a new mobile site, optimize an old one, and/or start a new campaign.

Fumble on the Ad Field?

Prime real estate is said to be untapped for beefy advertising revenues, research from Horizon Media concludes. The real estate? Jerseys…football, basketball, baseball, and hockey. The untapped revenue? $370 million.

Horizon Media valued the jersey real estate according to camera face time and “detections” and applied ad rates of each of the sports. In terms of detection, baseball wins the biggest nods with its close-ups of individuals such as pitchers, catchers, and batters and was calculated to provide more that 314,000 detections during a baseball season. Football, on the other hand, leans towards the distant overview camera shots of 22 players at once, making it rank last in the number of detections (28,560) during a season. However, because of its higher ad rates, football actually could generate more ad revenue, according to the report. Jersey valuation for the NFL? $231 million. The total jersey valuation breaks out in the other three sports as follows: MLB Baseball, $101 million plus; NBA, $31 million plus; NHL, $8 million plus.
Source: Left on, Terry. “Big 4 jersey rights value put at $370M.”Sports Business Journal. 4 Feb, 2011. Website.

Brand Glossary—Learning the ABC's of Branding


Brand Essence. The brand's promise expressed in one, no more than two, words. (More than two indicates a lack of focus.) For example, Nike=authentic athletics; Disney World=magical, Harley-Davidson=independent. Brand essences are most powerful when they answer a fundamental need or feeling a customer has.


Customer Relationship Management (CRM). A technological system or software that manages and traces a company’s relationship with its customers, clients, and sales prospects. It provides one-to-one customer service and personal contact between the company and the customer, thereby increasing the bond between the consumer and the brand.


Monolithic Brand. A "masterbrand" in which the parent company’s identity is the single brand name that dominates the product or service it offers, describing those product and services in generic terms. Individual products are nearly always identified by alpha or numeric signifiers. Companies like Heinz, Mercedes and BMW use these systems.

Things that make you say, "Hmm..."

Just the facts people. Just the facts...

Directionally challenged.

Does this mean no Monopoly, too?

Oh, to be a fly on the wall should this really happen...

Now remember kids...moderation please...

Apparently, no branding specialist was consulted...

The Creative Corner: Thinking Outside the Box...

Mission Possible: Assign a deadline. Atari, Inc. & Chuck-E-Cheese founder, Nolan Bushnell once said, "The ultimate inspiration is the deadline." It's the stress levels that usually accompany deadlines that produces focus and action. Deadlines require full attention with all encumbrances set aside, and that's the groundwork for creativity and success. What tight deadlines can you set?

Monday, April 2, 2012

CARTA designs win 2012 Addy Awards for Hornsby Brand Design

Hornsby Brand Design was awarded two regional Addy Awards presented by the Knoxville Advertising Federation at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Sat. night, Feb. 25, 2012. They were given in recognition of Hornsby Brand Design’s work for Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA), which included website and photography of Chattanooga's iconic Walnut Street bridge lit at night. More than 200 people were in attendance with more than 300 entries, providing tough competition.

Principal of Hornsby Brand Design, Chris Hornsby, said, “It was such an honor to have our work recognized by our peers. Our strength--creativity--was highlighted tonight. We’re very passionate about design, because we know it can really make a difference in the delivery of our client’s message.”

Visit CARTA's website.