Content marketing and big data still top marketing techniques for 2017

Credit to CMO from IDG

Credit to CMO from IDG

According to Smart Insights, content marketing, and big data will still play large roles for 2017 making up 40% of the top-rated digital marketing techniques surveyed by 2,352 of their readers. Typically speaking, these two techniques are deemed by professionals as two separate tactics mutually exclusive from one depending on the purpose of the tactics.

While the “Content is king” mantra spread around marketing once again, that phrase alone leaves out important information that makes content marketing vital. For it to have a true effect, I opt in to say “Content is king, context is queen and data is the treasurer” as1) you cannot pump irrelevant content to your target audience (context) believing you’re providing the right type of resources, and 2) you would understand the context and content better when you have the right data to support validate or debunk the hypothesis.

As these two techniques are crucial for successful marketing, they should both be blended together in order for digital marketers to comprehend the importance of using data to validate the type of content they are producing before they realize their materials have little to no impact on the marketing-sales conversion, growth or metrics. Unlike Act-on’s claim that ‘data-driven stories is the next big thing in content marketing’, it had always been that way for a few years in other industries. Example, Netflix’s House of Cards was aspired due to high spikes in viewers’ interest of Kevin Spacey, the original House of Cards, and director David Fincher. Marrying data and content is already proven as a perfect match according to eHarmony, not really but they could. 


Do you promote these at your company before you build the strategy, website or app?

Why App Design Matters

Have you ever thought about what makes an app so great? Think about it for a second... is it the colors, the font, the complexity? Now, think about a really bad app. What makes it so horrible? Is it the colors, the font, the complexity?

All these factors (plus more) are what make some apps good or bad. It's the way they were designed that makes them stand out to us.

Design includes colors, fonts, typography, graphics, backgrounds, and essentially everything that makes up an app besides the actual coding-- but even that has a major part in the whole design. The design's purpose is to grab the users attention and to make them feel good about using the app.

Design is everything when it comes to an app. It dictates the user's experience in a tremendous way. Good designing and user experience of an app are a reflection of your branding and business. It needs to reflect your theme (both from a values standpoint and a cohesive design standpoint). If a user has a poor experience with your app then it could reflect badly on the brand or the company. 

No matter what the app is used for you always need to think about the end user -- what will they be using it for, how will they use it, when/where will they use it. Having a human-centered design can help you hone in on what kind of experience the user will have and what you can create for them.

Check out these examples for good and bad designs:  Bad Design vs. Good Design: 5 Examples We can Learn From

So, design is not just how it looks; it's a lot more than that. It's about what kind of experience you can give to those that use it.


Have you considered how to make your app sexy and functional?

An Inclusive Christmas -- Office Edition

Christmas is coming!

Christmas is kind of a big deal all over the world. But let me ask, when was the last time someone said to you 'Merry Christmas'? Nowadays, in an effort to not offend those who do not celebrate Christmas or do not believe what Christmas stands for we say 'Happy Holidays!'

There is nothing wrong with this at all! With the workplace becoming ever more diverse, I welcome the change. This grammatical change is so widespread that I think we don't even notice it anymore. For those that don't exactly agree saying it is "politically correct", then think of it this way-- we are creating a culture that respects others' differences. Making it more comfortable for all to celebrate their respected holidays as they believe and see fit. If people were to constantly tell you 'Happy Kwanzaa' every day even though you don’t celebrate it, would it make you feel uncomfortable? It is an American holiday so... 

Sure, companies are now going with the politically correct 'Holiday Greetings', and offices now have holiday parties instead of Christmas parties. Though the name has changed to include all versions of celebrations, the main idea is still in place -- to spend time with friends and family. It's a time where everyone comes together. It's about being inclusive where we can say 'Merry Christmas' and other holiday greetings without forcing our beliefs on others. 

Speaking of Christmas/Holiday office parties, I hope you have one as crazy as this: 

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Happy Kwanzaa from the Wetogethr family!

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Tweet us with how you make your company inclusive! 

How These Brands Create Their Names, Part 2

We already saw how some other brands like Honest Tea, Pixar, and Toyota created their names. Now its time to see some others, if you're up for it?

Either way, here they are: Adidas, Puma, GoPro, Moleskine, Trojan, and Corona.

Adidas and Puma

It all started with two brothers in Hitler's Germany. Adolf "Adi" Dassler, the quiet shoemaker, and Rudolf Dassler, the gregarious salesman, teamed up to make and sell shoes. By the 1930's they had started to make a name for themselves and their company, Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory). After Jesse Owens wore their shoes in the 1936 Summer Olympics, the brothers business really took off. However, it was not all brother love between them. They were very competitive with each other and a feud sparked up. After World War  2, the brothers went their separate ways. Adi Dassler went on to create "Adidas". Rudolf Dassler went on to create "RuDa", which eventually turned into Puma.

GoPro

Typical of most California boys, they love to surf. At least that's what Nick Woodman, founder of GoPro, is all about. It was actually the inspiration for the camera he created. In a Reddit AMA, Woodman revealed that the name of the product that would eventually revolutionize how others experience extreme sports came from his wish to "go pro" in surfing. It means for him to "attack it full on, no matter what." Seems appropriate. 

Moleskine 

The company started in 1997 and  had the mission of bringing back a piece of history that has been fading away--the art of writing... in a notebook no less! Moleskine is a tribute to the traditional notebooks that held "invaluable sketches, notes, stories, and ideas that would one day become famous paintings or the pages of beloved books." These notebooks were formerly made by a company called Modo & Modo. Moleskine is now bringing back "the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin."

 

Trojan

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There are many theories behind the name Trojan. Most revolve around the famous story of Troy and the Trojan Horse. This would be my best guess as to what the name means. For those that don’t know the famed story, here is a brief overview. The city of Troy was impenetrable by anyone. However, Spartans (being Spartans) wanted to defeat Troy. They couldn’t find a way through or over their walls, though. So, they built a giant hollowed-out horse and presented it outside of the gates of Troy. Little did the Trojans know, Spartans were hiding inside. Once the horse was brought inside the gates Spartans burst out and destroyed them all. Fitting background for a condom company, right? I mean, they did come inside safely.

Corona

The word corona or coronita actually means 'crown' or 'little crown' in Spanish. Some say the beer gets its name from its logo which is based off the crown in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the town of Puerto Vallarta, but the dates don't match up. Either way, Corona is one of the best-selling beers in the world. So, with a name like Corona, meaning what it means, it seems to fit. It is the queen of all beers, so her crown fits just right. 


What other brand names do you want to know? Tweet us! 

Trump Unifies Diversity By Being Against Humanity

A few weeks back, the crack team at BuzzFeed sent Mark Davis, a BuzzFeed graphic designer, to the dungeon in order to create a satirical font embodying the demigod we call Donnie Trump. Thus, Tiny Font was born. You can download it here.

Thanks to them, we figured we should do our part in saving America and utilize their font for the bigly good of humanity. And what better way than to take our favorite game, Cards Against Humanity, combine that with several quotes, and another version of Trump Against Humanity. Seriously, there's a ton of them, including an official version from CAH which is out of stock. We figured it wouldn't hurt to add another one to the mix. 

For the impending doom that is a Trump presidency, let's grab life by the pussy and add this to our regular deck until the four horsemen, aka Trump Kids, arrive on our gracious land. You can download the game here, and use the directions CAH team gave in the past to make your own. 

Enjoy!

How These Brands Create Their Names

Nike, IKEA, Skype, BMW, and the rest of the Fortune 500 companies have names lasting 40+ years and rightfully held their existence against time. As these giants continue to age, hopefully gracefully, consumers slowly forget the meaning of the brand names and simply associate the brand to things. This doesn't include brands that sprout up within this decade. Let's take a look at a few below.

 

Cards Against Humanity

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CAH original name was a combination of card and schadenfreude, roughly translated from a German phrase of "deriving pleasure from another's misfortune."Later the name morphed into Cards Against Humanity as a play on the greater crime against humanity.  

 

Honest Tea

When cofounder Barry Nalebuff returned from his tea expedition in India, he approached Seth Goldman with a name describing the bottled tea, and the name simmered with Seth as he believed the brand would strive to develop a trusted network among its customers, suppliers, and the environment. 

 

Red Bull

Originally created in Thailand by Chaleo Yoovidhya under the name Krating Daeng, which krathing meaning gaur and daeng translate as red, Austrian businessman Dietrich Mateschitz partnered with Yoovidhya, and modified the ingredients to fit western tastes. In 1987,  Red Bull GmbH was formed. 

 

Pixar

During George Lucas' reign, the branch within Lucasfilm was called The Graphics Group, then purchased by Steve Jobs for roughly $5 million. The name changed to present-day name Pixar stemming from a fictional Spanish word for "to make Pixer" reflecting Aly Ray's Spanish-speaking background. Loren Carpenter altered the "er" to "ar" as it supposedly had a more high-tech feel similar to radar. 

Toyota

This one is harder to pin down exactly, but let's give it a shot. As Toyota Motor Corporation was established in 1937 by the Toyoda family originally by Sakichi Toyoda, the company name was created based on a Japanese cultural significance rather than the family name. Toyoda contains ten Japanese strokes while the Toyota utilizes eight, and in Japanese superstition eight (八) is a lucky number as its bottom widens reminding one of growth and prosperity

Lyft

Spinning off from Zimride, cofounders Logan Green and John Zimmer wanted to move away from the parent name, and needed to find something new to represent the quick lifts they provide. Although it still remains unknown on why they chose this unique spelling, it's probably safe to guess by 2012 other domains with variations of "lift" were taken. 


Tweet us a brand name you want to know the origin, and we shall hunt for that. 

Pandora's Rebrand

Pandora has unveiled a new logo! A simple blocked out P with a flurry of images flashing behind it. The new design brings the old and some new together in a form similar to what MTV has done with its 80’s style bringing "the look of the web to TV".

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This vibrant new design is a huge leap from its former plain single colored P with serifed text. The new design seems like it’s for a new generation slash trying to keep up with the changing generations. Pandora has been around since 2000. It has over 250 million registered users and about 80 million active users. However it has been lacking with new competitors such as Spotify, Itunes Radio, and Apple Music coming on to the scene.

The new logo and rebranding were made to reflect “the dynamic range of sound and color, visualizing the energy and emotion that artists pour into the creation of music, and that we feel as listeners”. It also reflects on the theme which Pandora inadvertently has, which is adapting and creating the different musical styles and personalities of its users.

Though this new logo and rebranding has gone over well, some felt the rebranding efforts have only been skin-deep, and felt the rebrand doesn’t have a real story that has been told. It seems like the rebrand is playing more off an idea of what they want rather than a real story. But, it’s not a bad idea.

I rather like the new logo and rebranding they have done. They shouldn't stop there, though. There is more that they can do to put them more on the level of their competition. Brands are forever changing to keep up with the competition or to create the competition. Its never a bad thing to reevaluate your brand and make the necessary changes to put you at the top. 

 


What do you think of the new logo and brand? What more could they do?

Give Your Research Some PDA

Market research is the foundation of any strategic decision, whether it is a pivot, creating a new product, retargeting your customer base, or long term company vision. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, "60% of professionals [sic] feel that data is generating revenue within their organizations and 83% say it is making existing services and products more profitable." To provide the right recommendations, market research relies heavily on data, a copious volume of numbers, measurements, observations, groups, words and more. Gathering data is already a tremendous task which needs a solid plan of execution, but what do you do with the data once collected? Converting the data into useful, relevant and insightful information for implementation would be a nice start. Perhaps you could show some PDA, Protano’s Data Analysis.

The Protano’s Data Analysis was created by Marco Protano of The Nurture Company for processing information into digestible bits with the end results being actionable for decision makers.

  1. Data – it’s pretty straightforward; simply amass information until you have enough to answer any specific question and unforeseen ones. You want the data to be raw, and untouched by human interpretation. This is the point where you are only listening and taking notes.
  2. Insights – after the data has been sorted, this is when the human touch of interpretation and grouping the gigabytes occur. Never delete the original data as humans can make mistakes, which would require revisiting to the virgin data. Discover correlations, causations, hidden meanings, and other nuggets. Having this down will help in the implications to your recommendations.
  3. Implications – In this last step, you already have the person on the hook to prep up for the recommendations by showing the supported data and insights radiating from it. Implications sole purpose are to reflect the previous steps, and draws them into what could potential level up.

Although the framework seems simple at first sight, it creates a funnel to distinguish priorities in data collection, relevant data points, potential correlation, causation, and assess the need for further investigation.  No matter the software implemented, the framework allows researchers to narrow the specific details in order to debunk assumptions, support hypothesis, and give strong recommendations.

Netflix is the perfect example of how big data influenced first leap into creating television shows. Since Netflix has a massive data on the types of shows their customers were streaming, they noticed large in three key items: Kevin Spacey, the original House of Cards, and director David Fincher. Given the insight of these three major points, it led to their large, calculated gamble in the bid war for purchasing the rights against cable network juggernauts. Now it is Netflix’s highest rated show with several accolades over the past 3 years.

Side note: Don’t jump from data to implications as it interrupts the natural, data-driven story mojo for the recommendations. Imagine the PDA as mechanisms to build towards the climax of the story, which in this case would be the amazing recommendations backed by real data.

The biggest takeaway is to ensure your data is pushed through the funnel in order to make appropriate endorsements and decisions.  


How have you used data to make business decisions? Tweet us!

Shade Room: Netflix Icon Design

Apparently I really like dark themed shows.

Apparently I really like dark themed shows.

By now you must have spent minutes searching for Netflix on your phone only to discover they changed the icon. No longer is the 7 lettered, company name bunched into a tiny icon, yet doesn't mean they quite nailed it down. Some people are pro-New Netflix icon whereas others are thrashing it. Going for the N is definitely a nice choice as it assumes the identity of the company in a small space and making it more mobile friendly, but icon design just doesn't sit well with us. So we're in camp flop down. 

It has taken roughly a week for the company to roll out the new design across all their customer intersection points, such as social media, favicon, and mobile devices, which is hindered brand consistency a tad bit. However, comparing the icons with the name design isn't consist itself. The logo is one dimension when the new icon is a small band wrapping around itself. Or is that suppose to be a film reel? A ribbon maybe? 

We're going on the limb Netflix wanted to make the icons more mobile friendly, but we would suggest them altering the icon to reflect its logo or to change its current logo to the new icon direction. Perhaps a flat N on a black background, a film reel in their N-shape or a cool design with NX. 


We want to hear your suggestions for improve unless you love the new icon.

What Can We Name DC as it Becomes a 51st State

Making its second appearance, DC is bidding to be a state once more and may finally succeed this time. Congress has received hits from multiple sides advocating for statehood: continuous push from Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Muriel Bowser, and even John Oliver jumped on the subject, which is found at the bottom in case you need more info. In a few months, we may have to change our theme song to Welcome to New Columbia

As DC's statehood is set to be on the horizon, DC netizens flirt with the idea of rebranding Washington, DC under a new name to reflect its status change. Some vote to keep the name whereas the opposing party urges a brand new name, such as New Columbia or these colorful names. We got to thinking what would the new name be if DC was to rename itself. Thus we decided to play around with this as well, and this is what we developed:

Image Recognition

For the past four years, the DC metropolitan pushed for altering its image of being a government town to attractive attributes. We would suggest names that evokes these characteristics given the general push:

  • Encompassing the beltway
    • DC is not really DC without its neighbors coming into the city for work and play.
  • Diversity
    • We have a rich and large scope of diversity, such as 50-50 gender ratio, magnitude of cultural and national differentiations, 10% of the population with an ability enhancement, leader of women in power and top 5 for minority owned businesses.
  • Startup, tech and innovation
    • The area is hungry for new innovative companies to emerge, and have invested resources dedicated to seeing this prosperous.
  • Refined hipster
    • I would say the area wants hipsters who aren’t so uptight and not such tightwads when it comes to DC goods.
  • Acknowledging the past
    • Changing DC’s name without a thought to the past would strip its historical leadership, especially for native DC residents. I for one am against using the name Columbus as my opinion is fairly negative of the explorer, so I would suggest pointing to other influential characters that truly resonate with us.

Brainstorming

After understanding the multiple points of the nation’s capital, brain dumping tons of names would direct the desired naming process.

  • New Lincoln (in respect to Abe)
  • East Virginia
  • Washingtonus (Washington + Columbus)
  • Columbington (Columbus + Washington)
  • Marytonia (Maryland + Washington + Virginia)
  • Districtville
  • District of Potomac
  • Luong (hey a guy can dream right?)
  • San Columbus / San Washington
  • Center of the World
  • Newer York
  • Silicon District
  • New DC

Of course, this is a simplification of choosing the name, but then the fun of selecting colors, fonts, messaging and so forth is the real fun to join. 


What would you name the district? Comment below or tweet to us. Here's the video as promised.

Two Steps to Keep the Team Aligned

What does project management, productivity, agile, and lean have in common? Operations. It's about how the company can stay responsive, limit the need to ask piles of questions through a long email thread, or make the workflow more employee intuitive. Captain Kirk would not be able to make risky moves like diving into an active volcano if his crew did not have the operational knowledge to save his butt or contingency plans in the event Kirk ends up as molten fondue. As there are many operational management styles, picking the right flow is a tough job regardless of company size, years of existence, and industry due to the fact that each entity has its own mojo flow jo. Even though Wetogethr has been around for quite some time, we needed to reassess our current operational procedures in order to allow our superheroes to do what they do best: rescuing businesses from design disasters. 

 

Analyze the current situation

Spend time watching your team in action, and jot down their daily activities to see where inefficiency rears its ugly head. Is your developer, Mariella, spending more time responding to emails than punching a couple hundred lines of code? Are all the tasks written on a sheet of paper making it inaccessible to the team when they need to review it? Are they looking sluggish around 2:36pm? These are things you should note for review later until you're able to sort through the data gathered. Another method to gathering data would be to ask the group on potential inefficiency improvements, and take those into account. Remember your job is to simply gather as many datasets as you could possibly obtain without tweaking the situation so the original data is not comprised.

 

Implement your solutions

Upon completing the data collection, it's time to sit through the pages of information to see which items may have a larger problem than what you had observed, or easy to resolve. In the earlier example, perhaps the reason why Mariella was responding to loads of emails is because project manager had the tasklist causing the other developers to ask Mariella what were their tasks. A simple solution could be the project manager could create a project management board to assign tasks and create visibility on everyone's progress. Basically, you are to siphon through the information, select the items that are 1) easy to implement, 2) require little to no change in behavior and 3) simple to utilize prior to rolling out company-wide. By testing the tactic in a small batch, you can tweak the solution or scrap it entirely before screwing up the chaotic zen that everyone already felt comfortable executing. Lastly, measure the Before and After input/output to see if there was a sufficient change in workflow, even if it is incremental. Then you will know how it could be improved, or worth changing it for all members.

 

How I keep the heroes align

One thing I learned is how much of a pain in the ass it is to onboard new heroes joining the league as I have been on both ends. As we continued to grow in size, so did our software and operational structure to ensure nobody felt lost on day one. To lessen the confusion, I implemented quick training sessions, wrote up a list of software describing its usage and how we implement and gave them a field guide to navigating our baby company. Although this solution is working, I have not been able to measure its scalable to a large employee base, but I can't wait to see that happen. 


How do you keep your team together? Tweet to me your story at @BrandonTLuong, or comment below.