Technology Archives - Page 2 of 6 - Grafik

Working With Disruptors

Working With Disruptors

Posted by | Branding, Clients, Digital, News, Technology | No Comments

Few things in business are as gratifying as working with startups, particularly those intent on disrupting an industry. Real game-changers are pretty rare in Silicon Valley and New York, and all the more so in Washington, DC. But when you come across one you know it immediately. True game-changers solve real problems for real people. They’re led by individuals who have big, clear visions, and the kind of workaholic, get-it-done drive that enables them to tackle seemingly overwhelming obstacles.

Over the course of my career I’ve been fortunate to work with and for a handful of truly disruptive startups, including NexTone, which was acquired by Genband; Lightningcast, an AOL acquisition; Great Plains Software, which was acquired by Microsoft; and a company called Digex that was acquired by MCI. The founders of each organization had a vision for how they wanted to change the world around them. They spotted the problem and envisioned a solution way ahead of the competition.
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Financial Planning: Why Customer Experience Matters

Financial Planning: Why Customer Experience Matters

Posted by | Branding, Business of Design, Clients, Digital, Financial Marketing, News, Technology | No Comments

I counsel a lot of financial services clients, and in that regard I have to keep up on the various trades, InvestmentNews, Private Wealth on practice management, the movement to and fro of warehouse brokers to RIAs, and the occasional marketing column.

As I was reading my copy of ThinkAdvisor, I came upon a wonderful article by Michael Kitces that discusses why meeting with financial planners is compared to “a blend of a dental exam, a math class, and marriage therapy.” It contrasts the experience a person will have in a Build-A-Bear workshop to that of meeting with a financial planner. And while this article is especially germane to the world of financial planning, it makes excellent points for any service industry and merits a read. Read More

Lessons in Agility

Lessons in Agility

Posted by | Technology | One Comment

Here at Grafik, we always try to stay on top of the latest trends in business and technology. But lately our office has been buzzing with one particular phrase that I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around: agile methodology. I decided to sit down with Certified ScrumMaster and resident agile guru Laura Peterson to get the skinny on this game-changing trend and just how it’s affecting the industry. Read More

Marketing is BS

Posted by | Anything + Everything, Digital, Technology | One Comment

I was reading the New York Times article and a full page ad from Adobe grabbed my attention. Initially, I just read the headline and was pretty upset—but upon reading the entire ad and delving into this further, I was pleased to see how Adobe is supporting and validating the marketing community. Their “Metrics not myths” campaign is a smart, well integrated campaign designed to sell their new Adobe Analytics product. It includes very funny videosa robust Facebook page, and a well-written blog. Read More


Walking Down A Technology Memory Lane

Posted by | Clients, Technology | No Comments

Packing up 34 years’ worth of work is not only daunting, it is therapeutic. It has given me a chance to purge the things that I do not want, to look at the hundreds of samples we have that no longer need to be kept, and to revisit the many technological changes that have taken place. As I throw out old Rubylith, ruling pens, spray mount booths, photo disks, and roll-a-binding machines, I can reflect on how far we have come and how much has changed.

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Science: It’s A Young Woman Thing.

Posted by | Branding, Business of Design, News, Technology | No Comments

Well, it has been a really long while since I was revolted by a video, but across the pond, in England, the European Commission produced a video that manages to capture every single stereotype about young women. “Science: It’s a Girl Thing” is a campaign with noble aspirations and abominable execution. No one would argue that it is important to get young girls interested in science and to empower them to enter the field. Yet, one wonders how this video ever saw the light of day. From the lipstick logotype to the young male serious scientist eyeing the bevy of beautiful young things, everything in this assignment has gone wrong. The European Commission had the good sense to yank the video on its website, but of course it lives on. To their credit, they issued an apology of sorts. Emakina is the agency that produced the video. With no women on its board of directors, no women on its executive board, and only one woman among nine as a head of their expert centres, one wonders how they got pegged for this assignment. As a very sophisticated digital social media agency, one also wonders why this facebook question did not get an answer….

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This is a contrast to another initiative that was announced a week ago in the The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal for Girls Who Code. Started by Reshma Saujani and backed by a bevy of technology giants, it seeks to increase the number of young women who want to be programmers and engineers, not with lipstick, but with real training and opportunity.

Day Five @ SXSW 2012

Posted by | Anything + Everything, Branding, Design Issues, Digital, Events, Social Media, Technology | No Comments

Native and Mobile Web: The Right Tool for the Job

The last day of panel sessions kicked off with a heated, albeit nerdy, discussion. With representatives from Tumblr and Facebook present, two platforms that have clearly mastered the mobile platform, I was anxious to hear about how one should evaluate the appropriate mobile execution for their client. Instead, the session got off to a pretty technical debate about native/web hybrid vs. 100% mobile web, with representatives on the panel sitting firmly in one camp or the other. But before I dig into the specifics, it’s important to outline the four different solutions that were discussed:

  • Native Application – An application written specifically for the device operating system (OS). It is not cross-platform and it requires you to install and upgrade. Example: iPhone app
  • Native/Web Hybrid – An application written specifically for the device OS that relies on native elements like navigation, settings, etc., but employs web services to provide dynamic content experiences. Example: Facebook, Tumblr
  • Locally Rendered HTML – An application that requires installation, but locally renders HTML and stylesheets to provide a dynamic, web-like experience. Example: Flipboard, New York Times
  • Mobile Web – More specifically, HTML5. Site requires you to access through the browser application or shortcut icon, but uses HTML5 to create a custom for mobile experience, all using the browser’s built-in display functionality.

And while the panel did not land firmly on one side or the other, they did offer pros and cons to each which I thought I’d share, rather than taking a position (since honestly, I’m still not 100% sure which way I’d lean).

Native / Web Hybrid

  • Pro: Allows you to take advantage of the best of both worlds. You can access the native widgets for each OS, but also provide dynamic content.
  • Pro: You can easily monetize your app by listing it in the Apple app store.
  • Con: Given the native application shell, creating a native/web hybrid has a slightly higher barrier to entry since it requires a programmer familiar with the iOS code.
  • Con: Requires a specific content strategy.

Mobile Web

  • Pro: Programming a mobile site can be achieved by most developers. A much lower barrier to entry compared to the note above for hybrids.
  • Pro: Mobile web allows for the use of HTML5 and responsive layouts and can take advantage of the same content applied for tablets and web, even if just a portion of it.
  • Pro: Gets around some of the restrictions imposed by the Apple app store.
  • Con: On the flip side, a mobile website is much harder to monetize… at the moment.

So, I think the key takeaway is that there are many ways to take your content to the mobile device, but understanding what your business strategy is, what content you want to share, and who your audience is will greatly influence which way you go. I think the one point everyone agrees on is that brands can no longer sit on the sidelines; a mobile presence is required for all brands.

Pinterest Explained: Q&A with Co-Founder Ben Silbermann
Practically a full house, we attended a great Q&A session with Ben Silbermann, the man behind Pinterest led by entrepreneur/investor/blogger Chris Dixon.  It was an hour conversation where Ben talked freely about his aspirations and inspirations and his goals for the future development of his fasted-growing social media service.

What I really enjoyed listening to was how he walked us through his personal journey from when he started at Google up to the his company’s success today. He always reinforced how important it was to stay focus even through rough times and keep yourself surrounded with the people who are passionate for the right reasons.

Some other interesting points he made:

  • His core inspiration for starting Pinterest came from simply how he saw life—as a world of collections.
  • His team worked through the usability of his site all on paper.
  • He strongly believes that you show that you have put as much time into the product as you expect out of your user.
  • His goal is to never try and out perform his clone competitors. His focus is always on creating the best product.
  • And at the end of the day in addition to developing Pinterest, his team is the most exciting thing he’s building these days.

The Facebook Customer Service Challenge for Brands

The last session of the day and of our entire SXSW excursion discussed the usual obstacles faced when using a Facebook brand page as a customer service tool. This panel was certainly a popular one as it was a packed house and it had every right to be with equally (if not more) popular panelists Mark Williams of LiveWorld, Bryan Person of Social Dynamx, Eric Ludwig of Rosetta Stone, and Molly DeMaagd of AT&T. From tips on how to handle difficult customer inquiries or how to deal with the new Facebook Timeline format, the well-spoken speakers shared some of their insights on the best use this social channel in handling customer inquiries.

Here are some of their best points:

  • Constantly look at efficiency tools & staffing capacity and needs on a daily basis. Time is of the essence so make sure you are as efficient and well-staffed as possible
  • When taking the conversation off-line, do it in a matter that doesn’t stifle the conversation. Stay human & transparent.
  • Investigate how your fans engage before dedicating attention to a certain channel on your strategy. You don’t want to misdirect resources.
  • When staffing customer service social teams, writing skills and passion for what the company is about are crucial.
  • When you personify your brand page, make sure you follow the “feelings not facts” philosophy.