Storyvine is hiring: Project Manager

<—This position has been filled. Thank you! —>

Storyvine is a Colorado-based start-up that has created an innovative way to create mass quantities of professionally produced video at a price that will blow your mind. Right now, we’re looking for a Project Manager to shepherd our technical and creative teams and get our mobile, video production platform (and associated deliverables) to our Fortune 500 clients on time and on budget.

This is a part-time, contract position, which ideally, will lead to a full time permanent position.

Our ideal person needs to have a certain neuroticism about getting stuff done. If we’re about to go into a big client or investor pitch and the app broke the night before, it needs to work before we walk in that door, no exceptions. If you’re the type of person who gets excited about that (rather than stressed), please apply to Monique@Storyvine.com. In the subject of the email, please put “Project Manager.”

Other stuff:

• Work with small team of developers, managers and stakeholders to successfully coordinate the development of the Storyvine mobile platform both the technical and creative output.

• Understand the various creative formats, outputs for video production (Creative skills aren’t necessary. In other words, you don’t need to know how to use the crayons, just know what colors they are and what end is up.)

• Comfortable working with standard XML schema

• Comfortable working with the Apple mobile iOS platform and app store

• Comfortable working with Fortune 500 clients.

• Ability to set up third party services to support development such as Amazon Web Services, Heroku and Github

• Experience with ruby on rails and iOS development is a plus but not a requirement

• Will need to find and evaluate technical talent

• Ability to manage budgets and prioritize features against budget.

• Be able to work from home, a co-working space, or your favorite coffee shop, but move about the Front Range for meetings and occasionally get on a plane.

• When taking Mr. Very Important Client’s call, have an unparalleled level of professionalism. In other words, that coffee shop you’re working out of better be dead quiet.

• If you say you’re going to do something, you do it when you said you would deliver it.

We’re a very small team, and while we pack a lot of punch, we don’t think we know it all. We pull in six-digit deals, but also don’t balk at taking out the trash. Did I mention we’re a start-up?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Storyvine is hiring: Sales Assistant

<—This position has been filled. Thank you! —>

Storyvine is a Colorado-based start-up that has created an innovative way to create mass quantities of professionally produced video at a price that will blow your mind. Right now, we’re looking for a Sales Assistant to act as a support to senior management in the sales process. This is a three-month, full-time, contract position, which ideally, will lead to a full time permanent position. We’re looking for an attitude and not a skill set. The ideal candidate will have:

• the ability to work somewhat independently after being given strong direction. (Check-ins and clarification are welcome.)

• A certain neuroticism about follow up. If a Fortune 500 company says on the call that they want us to get them something, or follow up in two weeks, that needs to happen, no exceptions!

• A desire to help out/get things done/go that extra mile to problem solve, etc.

If you are the type of person who shirks from being assertive, this is not the role for you. If you’re outgoing, cheerful and friendly (and on occasion has been called a little pushy, but still gracious), then please apply to Monique@Storyvine.com. In the subject of the email, please put “Sales Assistant.”

Other stuff:

• CAN TAKE NOTES! We’re getting older and can’t remember anything, therefore, typing fast or shorthand helps. An important role will be to attend sales meetings, get people’s names and contact information and take copious notes. So when we follow-up, we’ll know who to contact and remember what on earth we promised.

• Once trained, be fearless in asking some basic questions at the end of the sales call: What are Next Steps?, When do we Follow-Up and with Whom? What is your phone number?

• Prepare one of our senior management team members before a sales call. (Who are we speaking with? What needs to be accomplished? What did we say last time? etc. )

• Follow up with Senior Management who are Very Busy People and keep pestering them (nicely) until they get the stuff done they promised.

• Ability to use Google Calendar like a champ and schedule multiple people’s meetings.

• Ability to input contacts in databases.

• Comfortable working with Fortune 500 clients.

• Comfortable working with Word, Excel, Google email and calendar, drop box or similar and, ideally, Keynote, but not required.

• Comfortable prioritizing (Will train you on this.)

• Be able to work from home, a co-working space, or your favorite coffee shop, but move about the Front Range for meetings and occasionally get on a plane.

• When taking Mr. Very Important Client’s call, have an unparalleled level of professionalism. In other words, that coffee shop you’re working out of better be dead quiet.

• If you say you’re going to do something, you do it when you said you would deliver it.

We’re a very small team, and while we pack a lot of punch, we don’t think we know it all. We pull in six-digit deals, but also don’t balk at taking out the trash. Did I mention we’re a start-up?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Future and it looks like ME!

We’re finally entering into the much ballyhooed era where interactivity and media combine. Karen Woodward, our Los Angeles-based friendly neighborhood entertainment and social media expert, and Monique Elwell, Consumer Web Strategist, Speaker and Author, got together to write about the intersection of social media and entertainment and how we’re finally entering into the era where interactivity and media combine.  What follows is the last in a series of posts regarding those changes and sprinkled in some predictions as well.

That’s Me in the TV!

About a year ago, I saw a brief glimpse of the future of film and it was calledThat's me in a TV. “Take this Lollipop.” In Take this Lollipop, you provide access to Facebook and it shows you a thriller skit of a serial killer coming after you. Brilliant! While that’s fun and great, what I want is to be able to defend my castle in Game of Thrones or be Eric Northman, Sheriff of Area 5’s current fantasy [swoon].

New Web sites/companies will be spawned where viewers can upload specific photos or short video clips and manipulated until you’re in the film. The concept of the mass market movie theatre will expand as you’ll be getting many more smaller private showings of personalized movies.

We’re not suggesting here that mass movies will go away. Not at all. In fact, with the exception of the fax, every new technological invention (phone, email, texting, etc.) has been additive. Remember when TV became popular people worried that no one would go to the movies. On the contrary, it just made them more popular!

(More on Lollipops and the Future of Film.)

Eenie Meenie Minie Mo!
Which one to choose? Referral engines that are simultaneously powered by friends and algorithms will be used for everything from which products to select at a super market to which films to choose. (Or maybe what food to buy at the market that will go with the movie you just rented?)

I don’t want to have to guess anymore. My husband’s biggest gripe about HBO Go is that it doesn’t tell him which films to watch like Netflix does.

But it won’t just be an impersonal algorithm. Successful media sites will add a layer of social media, you’ll be able to find out what your friends bought or recommended. Facebook Connect has already instituted this. It’s just a question of adaption. Either Facebook Connect or someone else will get this right.

While companies have tried to layer this on –Netflix and GetGlue, for example– the promise hasn’t been realized. The complete solution will include: 1) an automated feed that tells you what your friends recommend (sort of big brotherish, but trust us, people will give permission) 2) a proactive piece that allows friends to share their recommendations 3) popularity rankings from ‘people like me’ 4) algorithms that recommend/rank things based on what you’ve watched/bought and your feedback. This likely means integration with Facebook or whatever the largest social network is at the time.

This could make our lives much easier, or… it could be Big Brother-ish. What do you think?

Our previous posts in this series can be found here and here.

Posted in Entertainment and Media | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How do you Motivate Employees?

Netflix produced a slideshow that got quite a number of my colleagues chatting. The topic was about culture and how to instill it. It was excellent and it got me thinking further. Netflix talked about how they were paying their employees top of the market all the time and how employees should be aware of their market value all the time. I thought this is interesting, but it has a fatal assumption. My experience and the research of The Carrot Principle is that most people aren’t motivated incrementally by money. [Note OC Tanner bought the Carrots brand, but then the founders, Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton moved on.]

Now, of course, they need to make a certain salary to pay their bills and enjoy their lifestyle, but it’s unlikely that a few thousand more will motivate them 360 days of the year. In fact, it’s most likely not to.

What is more likely to be motivating is lots of small (or possibly, medium) incentives and rewards that are died directly to the great things they’re doing. And the best part? Some of these don’t cost a cent.

The most citied reward that motivates people to do a great job is a simple thank you. Really. It’s so pathectically simple, it’s so valuable and most managers forget it. When I ran Conversify, on a weekly basis, I would send out a thank you email to the whole team, thanking them very specifically for what they had done that week. When I gave each of them exit interviews, most employees said this really mattered to them, much more than it should have. (Note this was a virtual company, but the same could work for a loud over the cube walls thank you.)

Speaking of virtual, working from home is a HUGE benefit. It really forces a company to focus on work done rather than face time and it allows employees to manage their own time better. It also makes it easier for employees to work outside normal business hours and —best of all—it is not only a free benefit, but usually saves money because you don’t have to pay for an office and productivity increases!

Schedule freedom is also a huge benefit and doesn’t necessarily require one to have a virtual staff. I had staff pitch me as to why they should have a weekday off and work weekends instead. This provided us weekend coverage for our clients at no incremental cost.

The Carrot Principle suggests that after three months you should ask your employees if you have lived up to their expectations.

Instead of micromanaging, try to empower your staff by allowing them to define their work, how they approach things and mentoring them. We would speak about their strengths (using Strenghts Finder as a jumping off point) and what they enjoyed doing, so the work was defined by people’s passions as much as possible. This made for phenomenal team work.

If we worked exceptionally long hours that took them away from their loved ones, I asked them where their favorite restaurant was and gave them a gift certificate to it along with a thank you card for their significant other thanking them for letting us have them for so long.

If they did something that really contributed to the good of the company, we compensated them based on the size of contribution.

I recorded things they loved and instead of giving them money, I got them gifts that they were passionate about.

At a year anniversary they got a $100 gift, at year 2, they got $200 and so on.

What do you do to motivate your team? 

Posted in Virtual Company | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Trends We’re Seeing

We’re finally entering into the much ballyhooed era where interactivity and media combine. Karen Woodward, our Los Angeles-based friendly neighborhood entertainment and social media expert, and Monique Elwell, Consumer Web Strategist, Speaker and Author, got together to write about the intersection of social media and entertainment and how we’re finally entering into the era where interactivity and media combine.  What follows is the second in a series of posts regarding those changes and sprinkled in some predictions as well.

Social Media & Social TV

While a particular show is on, viewers are hopping onto social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, or GetGlue, to discuss TV shows while they’re watching them, and to dissect them afterward.  A host of social TV applications have entered the space to take advantage of this: Viggle (which recently merged with Get Glue), Yap.TV, Shazam, and Zeebox are just a few who are offering second screen experiences for specific TV shows.

Media companies need to take better advantage of this trend. More TV shows are featuring a hashtag bug, which helps, especially when it’s timed correctly (a whole study could be done on American Idol’s hashtag timing) but there is more to be mined here.  The USA Network is one of the few to become not only active in the space, but to promote that they’re active in the space.  They should be applauded for jumping in with both feet.

Transmedia

Transmedia is a rather overused buzzword, but essentially, it’s the technique of using mediums (such as apps, websites, or video games) other than the “mother ship” (the TV show or movie) to tell stories related to the original content. Transmedia functions as an extension of the brand and often helps keep fans interested during a show’s summer hiatus or until a movie’s sequel is released.

When people are not watching the TV show or movie, they still want to be ‘in the magic’ (the phrase Walt Disney World’s employees when referring to their guests’ experience .) An excellent example of this is True Blood. HBO’s Facebook page for the series actuall

y incorporated the characters – Sookie, Bill, Eric, etc. Who knows whether they were official? It really didn’t matter, because it worked for the consumers. If it wasn’t official, it was a smart move on HBO’s part to leave them alone. Perhaps they learned from AMC, who allowed “regular people” to tweet as the Mad Men characters, instead of suing them for copyright infringement.

Just because a show is between airings does not mean that the viewers are done. They still want to engage with the story line, the characters, the mysteries, etc. And what better place to do that, but via social media?

Will we come full circle? Will we go back to the days of single-sponsored shows? Media companies are beginning to have success creating revenue streams from their sponsored shows, although it probably isn’t very much. The webseries “Easy to Assemble” is sponsored by IKEA and is about IKEA workers. It stars actress Illeanna Douglass, so it probably isn’t cheap to produce. But we wouldn’t be surprised if TV shows reverted back to the single-sponsorship model of the 1950s. In a way, it’s already happening – for example when you watch TV shows on Hulu, there is usually only one or two sponsors.

Data Everywhere

Now that mobile devices are everywhere we will likely see a proliferation of tablets, phones and other mobile devices that allow for augmented reality everywhere. Information, including an extended entertainment experience, will be attached to just about everything. Okay, we have that experience now, but it will be finally accessible. So when you just finish watching True Blood and you want the recipe for the True Blood martini, it will be easily reachable on your iPad.

Or perhaps you need inspiration for a meal? Your fridge or a tablet connected to it will be able to tell you what Iron Chef recipes will work based on what’s been put in and removed from your fridge. Bar code scanners and recognition software along with cameras will make this a no-brainer.

What trends are you seeing?

(Our first post can be found here)

Posted in Entertainment and Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why We Don’t Use Video Phones (All That Much)

Before the holidays, Tom LaForge pondered aloud on a conference call with Kyle Shannon Video Phoneand me, “Why people don’t use video phones?” Tom pointed out that this was all the rage in 1960s Sci-Fi. We were going to have unlimited machine-produced food, flying cars and video phones. Now that Skype provides video phones for free, everyone is using video phones, right? No? Why not?

I’ve been speaking to a number of people about this and my unscientific research results conclude that it’s mainly because it’s there is often not something to gain from using video whenever you speak to someone on the phone synchronously, in fact, it’s often a detriment.

What’s the utility of an overlay of video to a conversation?

  1. Video allows you to see someone else’s mannerisms and match them to their tone and speaking style. This might be useful the first few times you meet someone, but after that it’s unnecessary because you can extrapolate the meaning with their tone.
  2. When you’re speaking with a young child who doesn’t understand that you can’t see them nodding their head in response to your question, video helps you communicate.
  3. Video (or screen sharing) can help communicate a concept that you really need to illustrate.
  4. Video in conversations also can share current visuals, that silly thing your dog is doing, your new office, and more, to a colleague half way around the world.
  5. A video overlay to conversations is probably most helpful for multi-person conversations, specifically to see when someone else wants to speak via body language (eye brows raised, mouth open as if to speak, hand raised, etc.) without having to interrupt.

That said, a number of my friends report that their 10 year-olds are using Face Time (Mac’s video service) as a default to connecting with their friends. It’s appearing that to them, that “voice-only” is well, for the “older” crowd. Some argue that technical functionally and social networks are the cause behind teenagers not being quite as desperate to get their drivers licenses as we were at their age. They don’t need the freedom to see their friends because they already do.

I believe a main driver into the lack of adaption of video for conversations are the negatives. I personally find it distracting. I have to have eye contact with the other person on the video as opposed to taking notes or looking at something else (or checking email, which really means you’re not paying attention at all to the conversation.) Or there are frequent times while I’m at my home office when I’ve got my fuzzy bunny slippers on or I’m still sweaty from my morning workout. (There are also some positives. I’ve been known to do sit ups while I’m listening to conference calls as if I’m in front of my computer, I’ll check email and not listen.)

But even if you’re on video conference calls, you’re still missing something. It’s the non-scheduled portion. Meaning, since video phone calls are effectively scheduled, the whole casual chit chatting section where you find out that your colleague loves 19th Century Impressionist paintings just like you do is discussed before or after the meeting, not during. Video phones, the way they are used now, is just too formal to engage in that casual portion of discussion.

So here’s an experiment, which Kyle and I will likely try at some point. When we have virtual offices, or multiple geographically located offices, we’ll put cameras up of people working at their desks for a full work day. It will be a video feed without a purpose. So, if you’re walking by, you can say, “Hey, Joe, how was your weekend?” or “did you take a look at the report I sent?” Conversations that can’t be initiated via the phone because the second you make a call, you lose that casual nature because it’s a formal initiation of conversation. (Visual clues provide an indication of whether you’re busy, or even there.)

It should be noted that just because someone in the 1960s dreamed a world where everyone uses video-enabled phones, doesn’t mean that everyone will. My advice to companies typically involves a caution—just because it’s cool, doesn’t mean it’s useful or wanted. In other words, don’t get distracted by the shiny object.

Why do you use or not use a video call?

Posted in Consumer Insights, Technological Change, Virtual Company | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Denver-Boulder Apprenticeship Program – First Steps

This past Tuesday, the Denver Open Coffee Club [#DOCC] had a wonderful discussion around apprenticeship. I initiated the conversation based on a few thoughts bubbling in my head.

  • Every week at the Open Coffee Clubs, there is a call for people to fill jobs. Mostly programmers and designers, but one week the job count was up to 80 in the middle of the largest recession! Meanwhile, companies like Epic Playground sponsor students at the Davinci institute so they can get the skills they need. (I think they are particularly interested in getting women, so ladies who are interested in learning how to program, Tweet @MSitarzewski if you’re interested.)
  • My friends with teenagers are concerned they can’t afford college and even if they can, will their kids get a job? I heard Bill Clinton speak about how last year Mexico graduated 130,000 engineers, that’s more than half of what the U.S. did last year!
  • DARPA is funding programs that will increase STEM education because not enough people are graduating with STEM degrees. Case in point, the number of computer science degrees has declined 58.5% since 2002!
  • Jerry Michalski, founder of Rex, thinks we should think about Education as abundant teachable moments rather than a scare, industrialize resource. Check out his Ted Talk here.
  • Michael Sitarzewski promotes mentorship via P2PFA.

During #DOCC, we discussed the possibility of setting up an semi-formal apprenticeship program for the Denver-Boulder tech community to connect the needs of the Denver-Boulder tech community with people who want to learn those skills. So what’s the vision? I haven’t figured that out yet. Can we build it together?

Here are some thoughts, and things we discussed at #docc.

  1. Determine what the Denver-Boulder tech community consistently needs and forecasts to need in the future. I heard programming and design skills. Can we be more specific? Anyone (or any people) volunteer to write an outline of what a 5 year vision might be?
  2. Get kids at teenage and college level excited about what we do. Personally, I think that if they don’t know the job is out there, then how can they get excited about it. This might mean hosting an ‘open office’ day and getting participating schools to give those kids a tour. What might this look like?
  3. Setting up some sort of apprentice-ship program, informally or formally over this summer. (Yep, can we start small for 2013.) What does this program look like? Who participates? Any ideas?
  4. Getting a way to weed out the kids who aren’t that interested/motivated. One trick, I employ when hiring is say that I’m busy and ask the applicant to follow-up in X days. Only 40% do. Those are the only ones I consider.

Aaron White had a great idea about getting a non-profit involved to help do the administration work. For those who have been in volunteer organizations, it’s hard to get consistent volunteers to do this work and keep institutional memory.

Jason Tucker, you had some great ideas, but since I didn’t write them down, I don’t think I captured them! Please help! Share with them here.

So, far we have the following people who are committed to help: Jonathan Defez, Michael Sitarzewski, Doyle Albee, Jason Tucker and I think Lisa Rupp. So, next steps. Let’s create a vision and a plan. Give me your thoughts below!

The Denver Open Coffee Club alternates every Tuesday with the Boulder Open Coffee Club . The former is at Fluid Coffee Bar and then latter is at Atlas Purveyors . Use these handy, dandy links to determine when #DOCC or #BOCC is.  

Posted in Virtual Company | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Big Media Change: From Attention to Interaction

We’re finally entering into the much ballyhooed era where interactivity and media combine. Karen Woodward, our Los Angeles-based friendly neighborhood entertainment and social media expert, and Monique Elwell, Consumer Web Strategist, Speaker and Author, got together to write about the intersection of social media and entertainment and how we’re finally entering into the era where interactivity and media combine.  What follows is the first in a series of posts regarding those changes and sprinkled in some predictions as well.

 ***
For years, we have heard the mantra from media companies, “There is a battle for every minute of consumer attention.” And while there still is plenty of reason to grab a consumer’s attention, media companies need to be focusing on loyalty. The loyal viewers that love your shows are cheaper to market to (and remarket), will watch more, forgive your mistakes and do your marketing for you. But yet, for some reason, CEOs and shareholders don’t focus on their loyal audience and instead are enamored with the ‘bigger audience’ number and with it soaring marketing costs, little attention and higher rates of attribution.

Once consumers are paying attention, it is the media company’s chance to get them emotionally engaged with their shows, their characters, their brand and their ancillary products and services. This is a no brainer for producers, writers and actors—they make people laugh and cry every day—but the corporate side still struggles with consumer loyalty. That emotional engagement, if nurtured, develops into loyalty and loyalty into evangelism. It’s not just about attention.

The advent of social media has allowed deeper more meaningful relationship than ever before. We are already seeing media companies (HBO, ABC, TBS) reach out directly to consumers and develop relationships via social media and the Web, instead of allowing the distributors to own the relationship with their viewers. The consumers benefit from this because the distributors own monopolies or duopolies on their regional territories. Because of the limited amount of competition in regional markets, distributors (satellite and cable companies) do not care about loyalty. The only thing for them that is critical is stealing market share from their competitors. (This is why we see such a focus on deep discounting for acquiring new customers for cable or telecom companies rather than retention strategies. This confounds us since it costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain them and since these firms are oligopolies, they’re effectively passing customers back and forth anyway.)

There is no question that this is already happening. Show runners have become celebrities by talking to fans on Twitter or checking the forums to see what fans want – and some even change storylines accordingly. As far as distribution, entertainers have had success marketing directly via the internet. Witness the success of Louis CK’s stand up show [ link ] and the Will Farrell co-created website Funny or Die . But as to whether production companies can get away with that, we think we’re a ways away. At this point there probably isn’t any point in biting the hand that funds them. And we have yet to see how YouTube’s foray into original content pans out. Watch this space for how fan communities develop and are rewarded for their loyalty.

As media companies become more comfortable with conversing with their viewers via the web and social media, we’ll start to see more and more do so. The most savvy ones who are interested in loyalty will focus on listening to their viewers, and setting up mechanisms where they will evangelize about the shows. If they’re smart, they’ll create a brand and conversation strategy that moves viewers along the social funnel of: Interest, Emotional Connection, Loyalty and Evangelism.

Posted in Consumer Insights | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Humor in Social Media- Don’t Laugh!

Humor in social media can be a tricky wicket to develop, but if done properly it can account for an enormous following. It is rumored The Oatmeal, web site of humorist Matthew Inman, generates four million unique visitors per month. The Oatmeal’s works are shared heavily via social media due to their humorous content and Matt’s agile hand with the Tweet button.

But beware! Certain forms of humor do not transfer well to various formats. Sarcasm can come across as unintentionally mean when body language and tone are absent and Jokes at Others’ Expense can move from good-hearted teasing to downright mercenary if one is not careful. Those two types of humor are only appropriate for certain brands and certain target audiences.

If they are not accomplished with a deft hand, posts can be wildly misinterpreted and a crisis could ensue or the online community could potentially develop a hostile culture that turns on the brand. One example is a misstep Pabst Canada did with a humorous post stating that “Fat Chicks” were not allowed in Club Tropicana. The unfortunate result was a backlash on Twitter as well as a Tweet from Pabst Blue Ribbon shaming Pabst Canada. This message might have worked in a different medium.

Pabst Canada No Fat Chicks

PabstBlueRibbon_NoFatChicks_Response

 

Dry humor can be very difficult to convey in a text-based format. People may not realize you are joking. So, unless you are British and well-versed at deadpan witticisms, restrict dry humor to formats where visuals, audio and ideally context are available.

PresoSports tried this with an April 1 blog post entitled “PrestoSports Wins Mega Millions Jackpot!” The company said that while it was pretty well taken there were some who were not certain if they were serious or not.

Humor that refers to quirky cultural references or inside jokes might be difficult if your audience is not familiar to what you are referencing. These do work well in tight nit communities that have its own lingo and references: sci-fi communities, for example.

Bathroom humor, highbrow/witty humor, laugh-at-life humor, bonding humor, self-depreciating humor and goofy comedy all work very well in social media and the best frequently get shared. Be certain that these styles of humor are appropriately aligned with your brand personality before employing them.

Butterfinger deploys downright silliness below whereas Knock Knock has more of brainy wit. 

 

 

And Lunkinator app for Planet Fitness, developed by Aurnhammer, encourages its customers not to take themselves too seriously.

 

Lunkinator

Lastly, be aware of cultural preferences for humor. Quality Schnality, Inc. developed the Meet Rob video for Calamity, an Australia home security company. Calamity uses humor to educate their audience about the benefits of their security system over others. The last line in the video “Help your neighbors get Robbed,” will work brilliantly with their target Australian audience, but may not play in the proverbial Peoria. Remember that social media is a global audience. If Calamity had customers in the Peoria as well as Australia, this might be an issue.

The trick with social media is balancing that fine line of creating something that is funny, unique and, therefore, sharable, but also not crossing the line of offense or distaste. To err on one side is to enter into obscurity to err on the other is a firestorm.

What are some examples of humor that works well or not in social media?

Posted in Branding and Messaging, Crisis Communications, Social Media How To | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thank You, Agency Zero. You’ve Done a Great Job!

Several weeks back, Agency Zero did my business cards and color palette. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “big deal, they’re business cards. Every agency does those.” My response, “Not in this way.”

I’ve been struggling with the new work world that we live in and realized that I needed to personally brand myself to ensure long-term career satisfaction and remuneration. But how? And as what?

So, I called Anastasia Toomey at Agency Zero and she and Jeremy helped me strategize my own brand personality. (As they say, you can never do it for yourself.) They have a proprietary brand methodology that they use that helps brands (or people, as in my case) articulate what they stand for. This is far superior to someone just “brainstorming”or “creative concepting.” You really need someone with a strategy background.

Once we spent weeks figuring out what I stood for and who my target audience was, they then executed that strategy beautifully in new business cards and a color palette. I can’t wait to get to the next stage where I can ask for their help with my presentation template and Web page.

And here is some eye candy…

Monique.Elwell.Business.Card.Front

Monique.Elwell.Business.Card.Back_V3_1.2

And a little bit of the thought process:

Agency Zero talked me through a number of exercises, like Formal v. Casual, Scale of Femininity, etc. which helped drive the visual representation of my brand. One question we struggled with is I’m loud, opinionated and female, which translates as ‘bi-atch’ when not careful. They softened my edges.

I am a behind the scenes kind of person (think stage crew, rather than an actor), but need to be promoting myself and my brand. Hence they developed a picture that is “behind the scenes”.

I wanted a logo to use, but didn’t have any clue what to do. The ME logo is–believe it or not–modeled after how I signed my notes in my freshman year in high school. But Agency Zero converted it to a professional icon that still can be used in a fun way. And it works very well for my needs.

Thank you, guys! This is what you get when you hired experts.

Posted in Branding and Messaging, Marketing, Target Audience, Virtual Company | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment