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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Welcome to the Blogosphere

When we’re talking to clients about their social media a question we get asked a lot is: What exactly is the Blogosphere? The answer is – if you are reading a blog you are in the Blogosphere. The whole term ‘Blogosphere’ started off as a joke way back in 1999 and somehow ended up becoming the accepted term for the interconnected blogs on the web.

What will you discover on the Blogosphere? People. It’s not about the blogs per se although blogs are primarily about personal comments on any variety of subjects. No matter what your interest, you can bet there’s already plenty of people in the Blogosphere blogging away about it. However, your take on the subject may be radically different to theirs even though the subject matter is the same. It is our unique perspective and understanding of a subject or even our world that makes us individuals.

But once we understand how the blogosphere is about people then we can leverage this knowledge to effectively use a blog as a tool to connect and communicate with customers and clients.

How do we find the blogs that interest us? Try Technorati. No, it’s not an evil, super-intelligent alien race intent on intergalactic domination (although it might be, we just haven’t found their blog that outlines their plans for this yet). Technorati is a search engine that trawls blogs the same way Google searches web pages. Looking for a blog on Bee Keeping in Southern Cambodia? If it exists, Technorati will seek it out. All you bee keepers of Southern Cambodia, take note.

It’s all too easy to forget that people are what fuel the blogosphere or any other digital media.

If you found us on a random search – tell us how you got here and if you have a blog of your own that you think we should know about, tell us about it.

Blog on!

 

30 Sketches in 30 Days – Day 21

This is Gunner as drawn by his owner, Paula Lenk

Get Viral

Let’s face it – viral videos can really make people click in more ways that one.

The best of the week? This Brian Cox spoof has tickled our galactic funny bone

Then for that real feel good’ factor who can’t resist the kids from PS22?

Virals are now so popular that there is now even a viral videa chart. To see what’s charting check out http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2010/dec/24/viral-video-chart-top-10-2010

http://viralvideochart.unrulymedia.com/

Then of course there is the Jennifer Aniston Smart Water video designed to go viral

And yes, we can design you your own viral.But why not share your favourites with us?

Social Media Marketing – Are you ready for the influx?

There’s no doubt about the fact that a targeted social media campaign can raise your company profile and rocket traffic to your website. But there’s far more to effective social media marketing than just having a Facebook page or a Twitter feed. And for some organisations, social media may not be the answer. It depends on who you are and what you do. Companies need to ask a few key questions before putting a toe into the social media ocean – what can look like a big break can easily turn into a tsunami. Here’s our tips for effectively handling social media and making sure it’s used correctly to send the right message to existing and potential customers.

1: Decide who will have access to posting on your social media sites. This should be limited to responsible members of staff who are involved in the marketing and sales aspects of your business. The last thing you want is a staff member telling your customers about the state of their hangover and the steps that led them to get it.

2: Decide what you will announce and discuss on your social media. These messages should dovetail and leverage your other activities within your marketing mix. They should also be consistent and above all, engaging. You want people reading and responding. Also, there’s nothing like broadcasting your successes and letting the competition know that you are on top of your game.

3: Monitor your social media. While your followers are crucial to the success of your social media activities, you need to regularly monitor comments left by other users. Decide who has responsibility for this and who is in a position to edit/remove inappropriate or negative feedback promptly – again this relates to delegating the responsiblity for the social media to key individuals within your company. Ideally, this should be more than one person so comments can be responded to in a timely fashion. The last thing anybody needs is a string of inappropriate comments staying up on a Facebook page simply because the person who is in charge of the social media is out of the office for a few days.

4: Crisis management. You should have a crisis management policy in place in the event your company or organisation comes under fire. How would you handle it? Don’t wait until the oil tanker hits the reef. Know in advance.

5: Is social media right for you? Inappropriate use of social media can actually destroy your company’s credibility. And despite the rush towards a social media presence there are companies and organisations out there who should steer clear of using social media. One example would be clinical pharmaceutical trials or medical research. Unforeseen side effects of these will lead to a monumental backlash from social media users.

6: Respond to the world around you via your social media. As part of your social media campaign you should be constantly monitoring the media for stories that relate to or have a direct impact on your business. Again, this goes back to whom you assign responsibility for your social media to. Part of their brief should be to keep an eye out for opportunities you can leverage. Here’s one example. Coca~Cola Australia ran a PR campaign aimed at women to find the ‘Diet Coke Guy’ – young, fit, good-looking men under 30 who would become a pin-up brand ambassador. The campaign was very successful. Diet Coke is usually marketed primarily at women. After the Diet Coke guy had been found the client needed to keep the awareness going. It just happened that Shia LaBeouf, the star of Transformers, was snapped by a paparazzi leaving the set, swigging on a can of Diet Coke. Coca~Cola could then respond to this with a social media and PR campaign geared around this free publicity. Guys drink Diet Coke too. Keeping an eye out for opportunities you can link your company to in the larger world is a key to successful social media optimization.

7: Be ready to respond. If you’re doing things right then you’re going to be increasing your brand awareness and building your client base. How are you going to cope with the additional leads? Do you already have the systems in place or if not, how fast can you respond if necessary? The last thing you need is to attract potential customers and not be able to respond to them in a timely fashion.

8: Consider appointing an agency to handle your social media. Not only can an agency like Brownstone bring the creative and strategic awareness to your social media marketing to ensure ROI, you know that the messaging will be consistent and speak directly to your customer or client base and also be updated and responded to in a timely fashion.

Tell us your social media experiences. What has worked for you? What would you do differently?

Your customers are now a mouse click away. Make sure your social media messaging is that – social. It’s people who do business with other people. A market never bought anything.

 

 

 

30 Sketches in 30 Days – Sketch 19, Day 19

Design is the essence of creative self-expression. nowadays in the era of computers and DTP programs it’s surprising the number of ‘creatives’ who actually cannot draw – and the ones who can who have lost touch with the basics and rarely now put pencil to paper.

On creative concept development, sometimes nothing beats grabbing a sketchbook and roughing out a few ideas which you can then take to final concept stage on the computer. But the essence of creative expression has to be inspiration – drawing whatever comes to mind.

We like to think we have creative polymaths on staff. Creatives who can not only conceptualize using digital tools but also maintain that key connection between hand, pencil and brain.

That’s why we invited creatives to submit their drawings and we’re featuring a different one every day for a month. Today’s is from a series entitled ‘Sea Angels’ by Helen Kaye Watts, coloured pencil on cartridge paper.

 

 

Visit our Facebook page – Brownstone Cambridge (don’t forget to click ‘Like’ and follow us!) to take a look at the previous 18. Stop by for tomorrow’s sketch and if you want to submit yours – send it to creative@brownstone-design.com

Welcome to Brownstone Cambridge – pushing design parameters

Welcome to Brownstone Cambridge’s blog.

Who are we? For those of you not in the know, Brownstone are a boutique integrated agency based in Cambridge UK. We specialise in creating impactful communication solutions utilising digital tools that build brand engagement without compromising on design. We also pride ourselves on the effective utilisation of traditional advertising media and in advising our clients on the most effective way to get their message across to ensure ROI. What it boils down to is this: if we make our clients look good, we look good. There’s no better brand ambassador that a satisfied client.

Why Brownstone? Well, when we think of Brownstone in terms of a building material it has become synonymous as a medium used to convey a certain style and sense of design. The famous Brownstone buildings of the US East Coast cities came about purely due to the material, which was laid down in the Triassic and Jurassic periods, being mined by three mining companies in the 19th Century to meet the demands for dwellings in cities such as Boston and New York. In New York, burgeoning neighbourhoods in Brooklyn, such as Park Slope, Fort Greene, Cobble Hill, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn Heights, and Bedford Stuyvesant accounted for much of the new development. In Manhattan itself, especially on the Upper West Side, many Brownstones built during this period still remain and are highly desirable, today fetching prices of tens of millions of dollars.

The style of building conveys both tradition combined with style that has stood the test of time and entered into popular culture as iconic. Qualities we strive to emulate in our work for our clients even when working with cutting-edge tools.

If we take a look at how a stytle of building becomes the framework – the foundations if you like, to build a communications piece – then we’ve got to look no further than today’s popular culture. Nero Wolfe, the fictional detective from American mystery writer Rex Stout’s novels, lived in a brownstone on West 35th Street, New York. However, the house in question was as fictional as Nero Wolfe himself – there are no brownstone’s in that part of Manhattan and it is a bit like 221B Baker Street the address of Sherlock Holmes – it never existed! There are other similarities between Wolfe and Holmes or Stout and Conan Doyle as in both sets of novels, the detectives escapades are related by their assistants – in Holmes’ case the inimitable Dr. Watson and in Wolfe’s his assistant Archie Goodwin (yes, we know we’re digressing here – we’re just proving we have our finger firmly on the beating cultural history that is Brownstone!).

Brownstones continued to get the star treatment in I Love Lucy where the Ricardos lived in an apartment in a converted Brownstone on East 68th Street.

In Breakfast at Tiffany’s made in 1961, much of the action takes place in Holly Golightly’s apartment located in a Brownstone and in the Cosby Show which ran from 1984-1992, the Huxtables live in a Brooklyn Brownstone.

In the 2001 horror movie Bones starring Snoop Dogg as a murdered gangster turned vengeful spirit, his character resided in a gothic style brownstone that became a haunted decayed ruin and the main setting of the film.

Perhaps two of the most famous fictional New York Brownstones are the one lived in by Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City which was located on the Upper East Side and of course, who can forget 123 Sesame Street – the Brownstone owned by Gordon and Susan Robinson and the home of Bert and Ernie?

Seeing as there’s often a negative perception out there about people who work in advertising and illegal substances, we’re going to gloss over other Brownstone connotations such as the ‘Mr. Brownstone’ song from Guns n’ Roses! What we’re saying here is that the Brownstones we’ve mentioned that provide the setting for all these films and TV shows are supporting the main characters and story. Which is exactly what we like to think we do for our clients. You can see we’re there in the background in a supporting role – but our clients, their stories, their products and services are the stars.

In our opinion, it’s a good foundation on which to design any campaign across any media.

 

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