Category: bk Opinions

28 Oct 2014
At least Fox Business is not like Fox 'not real" News.

Tsu.co Has The Kryptonite To Take Down Facebook

If you were planning to take on the industry leader in any marketplace you would need to have a very solid strategy. However, strategy alone could only scratch the surface if you didn’t have something disruptive to offer. What you would need is something equal to Kryptonite. Something that would hit your target at its core. Meet Tsu.co, which is looking to square off against Facebook and knock it to the ground. (You can view my profile on this new social site by clicking here. Feel free to join my tree, by the way.)

So you haven’t heard of this new social network yet? I’m not surprised. It only launched a week or so ago. I am lucky enough to know its founder and visionary, Sebastian Sobczak. When I first learned of the concept, it kind of blew my mind because of the simplicity of it. Not knowing what the site was, I clicked on the link and almost instantly I realized what he had come up with. It was so intuitive and simple that it was staring everyone in the face. That is the sign of a true visionary, seeing what is right before everyone else’s eyes and acting on it. I liken it to great food – it’s not complicated, it’s always simple and fresh. That’s why it tastes so good.

Anyway, the Tsu.co concept goes a little something like this: Implement the shared economy concept and pay the entire social user network on your site for their content and actions. The Tsu concept is to share 90% of advertising revenues with its members, literally paying them for their content. When you post personal photos, comments, likes, shared stories, whatever, you earn bank. It might sound a little crazy to think the company would give away 90% of its ad revenues, but there is capitalist genius behind the concept. Just like Amazon.com and other audience-building sites, Tsu knows that once you have a registered audience, the opportunities for expanding and growing revenue opportunities have just begun.

At least Fox Business is not like Fox 'not real" News.
At least Fox Business is not like Fox ‘not real” News.

Better to let Sebastian explain it directly by watching his recent interview on Fox Business (or however that anti-journalistic “media” company refers to itself).

Successful expansion of the Facebook concept has always been the fear behind those that did not invest in Facebook. Yes, it was groundbreaking and changed the way we think of the “social network.” But its appeal was limited almost from the first. The term “Facebook Bored” is actually a thing. If you know any teenagers personally, you know they think Facebook is “stupid” and is not important in their lives. Instead, it is  the 35-54 year-old users that are Facebook’s largest demographic.

 (By the way, this is just a blog, not a treatise or AP news story. Since it’s my blog I get to say what I want and cite what I find. I am not using my journalism degree in this instance to the manner in which I once practiced as a paid journalist.)

Anyway, back to the lecture at hand. Facebook is losing its younger audience because Facebook does not practice sharing. That’s right, the social network that literally made the word “sharing” mean something completely different in our society does not share at all. I am sure they are aware they are out of touch with their next generation audience and how that generation views the term “sharing.” Problem is, Facebook just can’t do anything about it yet in the face of what Tsu.co is offering up to that same audience. They sure can’t share ad revenues. Can you imagine the repercussions if they did make that move? That sucking sound would be the hole left by investors running out the door.

To understand why I believe Tsu.co will be successful is simply to understand the trends we are seeing in the shared economy market with that audience.

With the advent of Uber, Airbnb and similar applications that allow users to monetize what they own with others, a new economy has emerged. Okay, that is not really new news, but how it is being applied with every new site or application is fascinating. Bottom line, this concept appeals to that younger audience that is Facebook bored – the audience that Facebook has identified as the next generation of users that will not be using Facebook. To that age group, the concept of helping each other by sharing their home, apartment, car, whatever, is the essence of what sharing and “being cool” is with your stuff. They believe in saving the Earth, helping others, buying retail items that give back, i.e. TOMS.com and getting rich. If they are not rich on their own, they expect others to figure out a way to help them. Enter Tsu.co. To the generation growing up in a shared economy, paying to “share” someone’s apartment in San Francisco for an overnight trip instead of going to a fancy hotel like their parents do is waaaaay cooler, as well as a better experience. They like knowing they have helped someone strapped to the same financial reality as them. It gives them hope.

To my mind, inventors like Sebastian and Brian Chesky are enabling everyone to be a kind of venture capitalist. They allow their users, through the sharing economy, to invest in what appeals to them on a level beyond greed. They actually get to feel good about “sharing” their money after they have booked it through Airbnb. That is a pretty damn cool concept, if you think about it, you old capitalists. Personally, I get no satisfaction after checking out of a W Hotel or the Ritz-Carlton. I just feel lighter in the pocket and a little full of myself, perhaps. I think I would like feeling more a part of my world by sharing and helping those that need it or want to share. (Please, let’s not get into the open debate of job loss and the numerous other ramifications of the sharing economy. Like I said, this is not a treatise. It’s a blog. Call me and we can discuss the issue like Oscar Wilde and James McNeill Whistler might, if you wish.)

Alright. So Sebastian might have figured out the Facebook slayer. Personally, I hope he has. Not for any other reason than “sticking it to the man,” so to speak. I admit to being an idealist still, at age 48. Facebook has “jumped the shark” in my mind and is now just another corporate parasite. Knowing that the younger generation coming up is interested to sustain and grow its resources by being part of a “shared economy” is very idealistic. That appeals to me.

I am sure some will call it a socialist movement and use the President’s name in vain and accuse him of trying to destroy our economy by shoving Tsu.co down our throats, though he likely has never heard of Tsu.co. Generally, those folks will be the hoteliers, taxi cab company owners and investors into those enterprises. Those are likely the same kids that did not listen well to their elementary school teachers on sharing day. Personally, I think that these new inventors, like Sebastian, are great capitalists because they have opened up a new opportunity for wealth, just like Sir Josiah Child, J.P. Morgan, and Joseph Kennedy. (Alright, those guys were greedy and corrupt, but you get my drift.)

At the end of the day, only time will tell if Sebastian’s brain child will really overturn the Facebook apple cart. I honestly believe Tsu.co has one heckuva chance. I plan to do all I can to contribute because I really like enlightened thinking, sharing and tilting at windmills. If you like those things too, then join my family tree and let’s be friends that make money together by grabbing on to some Kryptonite.


 About The Author

clark-bachelot-headshotEric J. Hirschhorn is a principal at bloomfield knoble. For 17 years he has helped lead the Dallas-based advertising agency from start up to becoming a premier, full-service agency whose clients include some of the most influential companies in America. Eric lives to spend time with his family, to work and to travel the world in search of unique fishing adventures.

Connect With Eric Hirschhorn
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

21 Aug 2014
We were looking for an intern to help edit a video. We found Christian.

And Now, a Word from the Intern

We asked our summer intern, Christian Rusli, to write a blog summarizing his time here at bk and some of the lessons he learned while working with us. While we’re not sure about the “dysfunctional” part, we’re happy that he viewed his time here as being as valuable as we did.

***

I suppose it’s a little late for introductions seeing that in just a few days, I will no longer be working here, and that makes me sad. I’ll explain why, but first, I guess I should tell you who I am.  My name is Christian, I’m 18, and for the past few months, I’ve been bloomfield knoble’s resident intern. By the time you read (or skim, I won’t judge) this, I will be a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Radio-Television-Film. I enjoy watching football, American football, and Formula 1, and I love trying new, interesting foods. Also otters, I love otters. Okay, so now that we have the boring stuff out of the way, I can delve into my real purpose of writing this blog post: remembering my time here at bloomfield knoble. Also, putting off packing for college. But that’s just an added bonus.

Over the past few months, I’ve had the privilege and the pleasure of working with the creative team here at bloomfield knoble, and I’ve learned and experienced a whole lot. It’s certainly been a journey, and I’m more than a little sad that it’s coming to an end.

Christian's last Fish City Friday
Christian’s last Fish City Friday

When I first walked through the door, I was nervous, and just between us, a little frightened too. This was my first internship and having heard and seen so many horror stories about the cruel and unusual things that interns are subject to, I didn’t know what to expect. But right off the bat, I was welcomed with open arms and treated (for the most part, I am still an intern) as an equal. Not limited to doing things like getting coffee or cleaning supply closets, I was given the opportunity to actually get involved in various projects around the office.

My main task was a fly fishing video, for one of bloomfield knoble’s clients, Temple Fork Outfitters. The goal of this project was to create a complete guide to the art and science of fly fishing. Doing so involved watching hours and hours of footage of all types of different casts, tips, and analysis. I reckon that I’m a better fly fisherman than a good number of people and I’ve never even held a fly rod. Also in editing this video, I was exposed to a whole host of programs I had never used before like Premiere, After Effects, and SpeedGrade. In this industry, learning things from a textbook will only get you so far, which is to say, not far at all, so having the opportunity to learn about editing hands-on has been invaluable. I’ve loved getting to apply my creative touch to the project instead of being handcuffed to a certain way it had to be.

In addition to the fly fishing video, I also got the chance to work on a short video for bloomfield knoble and I got to go on a video shoot for Nationstar Mortgage. All the work I’ve done here at bk are things that students my age don’t typically get to do until much later down the line.

And as much as I’ve loved the work that I do, I daresay I’ve loved the work that I don’t do just as much. The team here at bloomfield knoble are like a family. A weird, sort of dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless. From afternoon Ping-Pong tournaments, to Fish City Fridays, to Rodeo Ball, and our very own Fantasy Football League, the office culture here is something that I will truly miss. Surely this isn’t the drab and dreary adulthood that I’ve been warned to prepare for all my life, right? At any rate, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment while it lasted.

In just a few short days, I’ll be packed up and headed off to UT, ready to start the adventure that is college, but I’ll never forget my time here at bk. I won’t forget the work that I did, the fun that I had, or the things that I learned. No, those are things that I’ll take with me down to Austin, then wherever else I go later in life. Because of my time here, I am now squarely ahead of the competition, and better prepared to start my future.

I’m starting to get a little misty eyed now so I think it’s time to wrap this blog up. Besides, I’ve got to finish packing now.

– Christian Rusli
University of Texas Class of 2018

***

jeff-carrington-headshot

Thanks to the shortening of attention spans and his inability to finish a novel (phenomena that are unrelated, he assures us), Jeff Carrington has found the perfect job for himself as director of communications and social media at bloomfield knoble. When he’s not developing social strategies for clients in 140 characters or less, he’s tweeting about dive bars and dog parks, both of which he frequents with his Spitz-Terrier mix buddy, Ben, and other random humans.
Connect With Jeff Carrington
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

 

20 Aug 2014
Christian

The Trouble (and Rewards) with Interns

“Life is like a box of chocolates … you never know what you’re gonna git,”  Forrest Gump said his mother told him. Well, she could have been talking about interns in that metaphor, too.

Christian
Our latest intern, Christian Rusli.

In the world of advertising and marketing, interns are like the summer annual known as “lantana.” Around May they start showing up at all the nurseries and hardware stores, and they look good because they don’t need a lot of water and have a nice variety of colors. By the end of August, they can look a little ragged, you kind of get sick of them and you can’t wait to rip them out for something more fresh and useful.

Sounds harsh. Well, the truth hurts. You see, I was an intern once upon a time. I worked at a magazine called Monterey Life in Monterey, California. It was a great summer, which then turned into a Fall and Spring part time job my senior college year. I learned a great deal from those people and often wonder how they are all doing so many years later. It was learning the hard way – by direct experience. My editor was a strong person and she did not believe in special treatment for young people. I am certain that she drained a box of red pens on my first few articles. She left no punches unthrown, determined to make me a better writer by treating me like her most seasoned vets. Her staff of young artists and journalists took the same approach, although with a bit gentler handling. I often think of them all fondly.

So it is that our latest intern summer comes to an end here at bloomfield knoble. As I stated, we have hosted several interns over the past 15+ years or so of our program. In general, most of the interns are not helpful. In fact, they are a drag on the team. It is impossible to sift through them at first and pick which is likely to be useful and, more importantly, gain important skills and career – even life lessons – while they are here at bk. Our goal is always to find a mutual need and benefit for our program. Rarely is that goal met each summer.

The issue generally comes down to either their being too shy or too certain to be of any use. If an intern is uncertain of their ability to make a real contribution, they generally wait for direction and sit looking at their computer screen so as not to be a bother. Not useful! The opposite end is true, with some interns running through assignments quickly and then having to redo them constantly, never actually completing one to satisfaction. They don’t think anyone here has anything to offer them. I usually make sure they understand the public pool is hiring lifeguards and help them apply.

I have had an intern tell me they were “too good to answer telephones,” when asked to cover the front desk if the assistant was out. “Answering phones is beneath me,” he said. He stated that instead he should be working at the level of an Art Director. Well, I agreed that Art Directors are useless, so I showed him the same  door all “Art Directors” use around here – the Exit. We have had interns dress like they are going to a beach party, replete with flip flops and shorts. Then there are the interns that smoke more than they work. Or, of course, the social media interns that spend their time on SnapChat or FourSquare making friends. We make sure they “unfriend” us before turning off their wifi connection and showing them the jobs section on Monster. Immature. Boring. Quiet. Loud. You name it. Our experience should be a movie directed by John Waters or John Hughes. Just too much plot and lack of motivation to not be a great summer movie going experience.

So in 15+ years of our program, I would say 4 were of value, and of those 4, only 2 were exceptional. What made these 2 exceptional? Confidence. Not arrogance, but the ability to act like the adults they are and stand up to the personalities one might find in an advertising agency. Along with confidence, they had an easy humbleness paired with a desire to do well. These traits are special in an individual. It means you believe in yourself, but also know you are here to learn. You don’t run with it too far, and you don’t stand on your feet too long hoping no one will notice you are stuck on something. You just “feel” it and take advantage of a good thing.

Around here we have a simple directive – look it up on Google, ask friends and colleagues and if you still can’t figure it out, that’s why we are here, to teach you once you get stuck. Just take it as far as you can, but don’t go too far. That is a hard concept and very gray. But if you get it, you get into the top 4 around here in terms of interns.

The last intern that made it into the top 2 now works for us full time. He has done so for nearly 4 years now. When you find a good one, homegrown and all, keep them close as long as it is good for all. In the time since we hired him, he has proven what we believed to be true after his first week – he makes us a better organization.

If you have not guessed it yet, today is the last day for our latest intern, Christian Rusli, who has made it into the top 2 interns of all time at bk. He integrated well into our little clique, as well as excelling at his work. To do both is not easy. He leaves with the respect of an office full of long time advertising and marketing professionals. To say we are grizzled and jaded at the edges is a true statement. That said, we all believe in our work and our collaboration. To become a useful part of that, even for a short time and at the fringe, is saying something.

If you are wondering if we plan to hire Christian, the answer is a firm “No.” You see, Christian is only a freshman going into college. I was not thrilled with the idea of hiring someone so young, thinking he would be unable to integrate into our office. So after a full summer, Christian has taught me something about a book and its cover and all that. I now believe that it is not the age and often not even the experience that can make a successful internship. Instead, it is work ethic and a desire to become a useful member of the team.

Good luck at the University of Texas, Christian. (Go ‘Horns!)

Sincerely,

Your colleagues at bloomfield knoble.


 About The Author

clark-bachelot-headshotEric J. Hirschhorn is a principal at bloomfield knoble. For 17 years he has helped lead the Dallas-based advertising agency from start up to becoming a premier, full-service agency whose clients include some of the most influential companies in America. Eric lives to spend time with his family, to work and to travel the world in search of unique fishing adventures.

Connect With Eric Hirschhorn
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

05 Aug 2014
Gravity

Social Media Gravity

As if the social media big bang had just happened last week, every few days, there’s an article or blog speculating about the next big thing.

GravityContrary to what most people believe, for something else big to emerge and thrive, there’s going to have to be a new watershed event in communication technology along the lines of the telephone, email and mobile phones. I’m not a tech genius, so I don’t know what the next social game-changer is going to be. For a layman like myself, that’s science fiction territory: brain-computer interface, holographic avatars and hover-boards.*

The fact is, most of these lists are compiled from the perspective that there’s still a yearning out there for some new social platform that the whole world will jump on. The flaw in that thinking is that the social media big bang was almost 20 years ago. For 10 years or so, the cosmic dust and gases swirled around and formed GeoCities, Friendster, AOL Instant Messenger and MySpace, but those were unstable bodies that dissipated relatively quickly.

Out of the chaos of the rapidly expanding social media universe emerged two stable bodies that persist to this day – Twitter and Facebook. Others have formed and maintained in the meantime – YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare – and smaller bodies continue to swirl in the outer orbit – SnapChat, Vine, Tumblr and Whisper come to mind. Some of these smaller bodies will be around in five years, some won’t.

It’s likely that Facebook and Twitter will both be around though. There’s not enough chaos in the space any more, and they’ve learned from their predecessors’ failures. Keep it simple (mostly), watch for trends in usage and adapt – but without changing too quickly.

Never mind that every incremental change to the Facebook or Twitter profile page or newsfeed results in a user uprising threatening to jump ship. Where are they going to go? Google+ is out there, but that would be like colonizing Neptune. Who really wants to make that trip?

Elsewhere, like pulsars on the edge of the social media universe, apps are released daily that aim to cash in on some niche need and catch fire. They may shine bright for a few weeks or months, but then disappear.

It’s one thing to exist, but it’s another to sustain life. In the social media universe, that’s monetization. By far, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn have the most breathable atmosphere for making money. Twitter has habitable zones, but has some work to do. The others range from gas giant to rocky proto planet.

Really, the question shouldn’t be “what’s the next big thing in social media?” For the time being, it’s the things that are here. The better question is, what’s the next little thing in social media?

Like moons orbiting a larger body, most of the up-and-coming social media platforms rely on the big boys to provide enough gravitational pull to keep them from floating off into the inky blackness of space.tumblr_mml4jcxE7a1r3kmkso1_500

To wit: I wouldn’t use Foursquare (er… Swarm) if it didn’t update Twitter for me. Nobody would ever see the awesome YouTube video of my dog catching a ball if I didn’t post it to Facebook. And of course Vine and Instagram really only exist as outliers of their parent companies – Twitter and Facebook.

But it’s not really as much fun to speculate about the next little thing, is it?

The thing is, the big things are already here, and hoping for something to come along and replace them is like hoping for the Death Star to show up and create a new asteroid field out of them.

For most businesses, this means a focus on what works and what’s stable. There’s no sense in immediately tethering yourself to the app your kid just downloaded so that you get in on the ground floor.

At bloomfield knoble, we watch these trends and identify them and any possible business use so that our clients don’t spin off into space like Sandra Bullock at the beginning of Gravity. So until we’re all holographic avatars with nano-links to the Internet generated by our universal mainframe-uploaded brain, I think we’re seeing a stable orbit of social media “big things.”

Keep that in mind the next time you see one of those blogs.

 

*HUVr is a hoax

 

 About The Author

jeff-carrington-headshot

Thanks to the shortening of attention spans and his inability to finish a novel (phenomena that are unrelated, he assures us), Jeff Carrington has found the perfect job for himself as director of communications and social media at bloomfield knoble. When he’s not developing social strategies for clients in 140 characters or less, he’s tweeting about dive bars and dog parks, both of which he frequents with his Spitz-Terrier mix buddy, Ben, and other random humans.
Connect With Jeff Carrington
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

15 Jul 2014
atreu

Diversifying a business takes as much time as launching one

In 1997 I started talking with a few like-minded people about starting a business and no longer working for someone else. We were like-minded in the belief that we could do a better job than the people we worked for in terms of managing the business and client relations, as well as producing high-quality work.

I was 31. I was a freelance writer for magazines and news periodicals, as well as managing editor for a local publishing company. I had experienced struggles and failures, but did not believe that failure was an option for me if I started a business. Looking back, I know that the guys I was talking with at the time did not believe the same thing. They just thought it was a cool idea. I was just stubborn . . . and ignorant. (Turns out that is probably a good combination.)

It is said a business start up takes between 2-5 years. From my experience and watching many, many others, I am convinced it is the better part of 5 years and then some.

From the move, The Never Ending Story
Atreyu learned the hard way after Artax drowned in the Swamp of Sadness.

We started the business as the Internet was taking hold. Websites were hand-written HTML code, load times were tough and online marketing was a very, very new concept. We struggled to develop websites for local companies and soon realized that was a bad business plan. So we diversified and developed what was just coming up everywhere – an online mall.

During the process we lost 2 of the 5 original players. Their tolerance for “working without a net” was very low. But the rest of us pressed on and discovered that applying some basic marketing ideas to our mall turned into results. We held contests, added book and music reviews. What we did not realize was that we had developed an online portal.

Not being like-minded to Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, we really did not know what we had. So after the mall/portal made us some money and got us some publicity, we started receiving calls from companies that were struggling to monetize their websites or launch websites and suddenly we turned into a Web design start up.

The portal/mall was abandoned as Amazon and other retailers became known brands and we lost traffic. We were creatives, not retailers, so we gravitated to what we knew.

Over the next 4 years we grew by adapting to change, as well as losing two more original founders but brought on a lifer with shared vision. For a time we were expert email marketers, even being the first to develop an email with embedded video for a major game retailer.

When email became spam, we moved to exploring the true needs of our clients, which was strategic marketing and execution. In this new landscape know as the booming Internet, major brands, corporations and small businesses were struggling to find success. Many wanted to abandon their traditional advertising and go with online only and other crazy ideas like that.

So we diversified yet again and began advising and developing integrated marketing and advertising concepts. We kept our head focused on the bottom line and advised others to do the same. “Don’t knee-jerk to new trends, just add them to your arsenal if they work for you,” we said.

Over time, the success our clients had experienced built up the belief that we had finally figured ourselves out – we were a full-service strategic advertising and marketing agency. Nine years later, we had it all figured out.

Not!

While the growth continued, we always faced times where change looked us in the face and we had hard decisions to make for the business. Once CMS software came online we had to adapt and accept that change. Search marketing and lead generation went through iteration after iteration. Adapt and change, recommend only what works. Mobile marketing only? No, just add to the arsenal.

The only reason bloomfield knoble has flourished for 17 years is because we diversify. Today, I believe we are at another point where diversification is necessary. We have experienced success focusing on the energy business and its unique advertising/marketing needs, as well as major brand retailers, retail foods, mortgage, finance and more.

Now, with the advent of content marketing and its impact, it has come full circle. All that we know now comes back to my roots – publishing. I find our agency now providing expertise and consulting on how to drive response and build awareness through content marketing. Well, in 1997 it was called publishing and that was my thing. Suddenly, what was a dying skill is now valued again.

The good news about this diversification is that there is no need to abandon anything we are doing now. It is just focusing on what we know. Oh, and bloomfield knoble has developed quite a track record working for local, state and Federal agencies. That is a major diversification.

Call it what you will – diversification, addition, subtraction, metamorphosis. Whatever. All I can tell you is that it takes time and the ability to adapt. Don’t be resistant to change. Don’t stand still because as businesses we are all standing in a swamp. Stop moving forward and that swamp will swallow you and everyone you are leading right to the bottom and no one will ever know you once made a difference.

 


 About The Author

clark-bachelot-headshotEric J. Hirschhorn is a principal at bloomfield knoble. For 17 years he has helped lead the agency from start up to becoming a premier, full-service agency whose clients include some of the most influential companies in America. Eric lives to spend time with his family, to work and to travel the world in search of unique fishing adventures.

Connect With Eric Hirschhorn
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

08 Jul 2014
starburst

Do Looks Really Matter?

As designers we grow accustomed to the trends in the web design world and try to utilize them to the best of our abilities while also trying to initiate our own trends in the process.

Sometimes a trend is truly progressive and takes the field as a whole in a new direction – like flat design. Other times trends were bad to begin with and somehow gained popularity anyway.

Here at bloomfield knoble we strive to pursue the best design possible for any given project. That often means guiding the client away from what they have previously seen and taken a liking to. Below you will find the top 5 trends that we find the most repulsive.

 

1. Popup Windows

While traditional popup windows are mostly now reserved for spam websites, they have actually started morphing into automatic window overlays that take the form of ads, newsletter signups or God forbid, surveys.

It doesn’t really need to be said here but I will anyway; ads are good for the site’s revenue but terrible for the user experience. In the end we need to find a better solution to generating ad revenue without turning the end user away from the site’s content.

popup-killer-bypass-website-barriers-without-signing-up-completing-surveys.w654

2. Flash

With the ubiquity of mobile devices and mobile browsing, there’s no excuse for a site in 2014 that still uses Flash.

Yes, animation is cool on a website but only when used in a subtle and effective way. Plus there are so many other, better ways to accomplish that now. Also, do not forget those all-important mobile users that you may be leaving out.

 

3. Skeuomorphism

Skeuomorphic design is essentially designing something to resemble, as closely as possible, a real tangible item. For example putting a leather texture on a web calendar so it resembles the calendar one might find on a desk.

While skeuomorphic design had a time and a place while trying to bridge the gap between technology and “real world” items, it is not needed anymore and users will much prefer a more simple design that focuses on functionality instead of overly designed flourishes.

fmfSmall

4. Images Used for Text

There is no reason a site designed for modern browsers should need to use an image for text. Google Fonts API is compatible with every browser since IE6 (and shame on you if you inherently support that browser anyway).

 

5. Bad Stock Photos

This is a tricky one because clients often cannot afford an on-set shoot for every ad they produce. Plus, stock photos that don’t come across as looking like stock photos can either be expensive or hard to make/produce yourself.

At the end of the day though, a good rule of thumb is that having no photo at all is still better than a horrible stock photo, so weigh your options carefully.

 

The solution…

A lot of these issues can be taken care of before they ever start. Good design is about taking risks, exploring new ideas, and creating something that works well in the end. There is no need to use technology just for the sake of using it. Too many HTML5 websites appear to be a sample of how talented the designer is. That is never the goal with a client’s website. Design is important, but so are business goals. In the end if your design does not accomplish the goal that was set forth in the brief then you have failed as a designer.

Designers need to check their ego at the door and remember that good design, when done right, will be an easy-to-use tool that not only looks good but also can perform, convert, and fulfill its purpose.

 


 About The Author

clark-bachelot-headshot

Clark Bachelot is a Senior Art Director with bloomfield knoble. His passions include cajun cooking, the outdoors and beer. In his role at bk, he likes to inspire audiences with his design and focuses on “usability” to make sure the targets of his creative understand what action to take. He is not very good at Fantasy Football.
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Las Colinas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

27 Jun 2014
identity-theft

Business Identity Crisis?

What would you do if you owned a moving company and had been building a respected professional reputation for years, then discovered that there were bad reviews percolating up on websites like Yelp! and Facebook?

You’d be concerned, of course, because you don’t want your customers to have a bad experience, and of course you don’t want bad reviews driving other customers away. You’d want to fix it.

But now imagine that in your investigation you discover the writers of the bad reviews weren’t even your customers. What gives? Are people writing fake negative reviews?

identity-theft
With only a slight name change, this virtually happened to our client. Fortunately, we were there to help them fix it.

No, you discover. After noticing a frequent “typo” referring to your company by a similar but different name (one word off, but still the same meaning) you realize you have a doppelgänger company and their customers are erroneously posting to your review pages.

But wait. When you dig a little deeper, you realize it’s not just a simple misunderstanding. The owner of this company is intentionally sending his users to your Yelp! page, as well as your A+ ranked Better Business Bureau page. And why wouldn’t they? Their BBB page shows an F ranking.

They need to stop. So you call a lawyer and talk to your marketing folks. That’s where the fun begins. They discover that not only does this other company try to cover up its mistakes by using your company review sites and BBB page, but the owner has a criminal record and lies about his military service. They use falsified certifications to operate, do not have a USDOT number despite operating moving trucks, and have failed to register and insure two of three of those trucks.

As you may have guessed, this is not a hypothetical. This happened to our client, Dallas Move Masters. bloomfield knoble designed their website and developed graphics for their social media pages and provide ongoing marketing consulting for them.

Fortunately for Dallas Move Masters, we also know how to handle a situation like this. We immediately created a series of posts that they could utilize in order to manage their reputation and get the word out about the deception perpetrated by the other company.

bloomfield knoble also devised a campaign to promote the goodwill of Dallas Move Masters, offering a discount to victims of the other company’s poor service.

Additionally, we updated the information on important review sites like Yelp! to indicate the discrepancy between the two in order to keep the other company’s customers from posting inaccurate reviews.

Through that reputation management process, which is ongoing, we’ve been able to get the word out to Dallas Move Masters’ followers that they are not the other, similarly named, company, resulting in more sharing and reposting of this story to spread the word.

Dallas Move Masters is an honest company run by a Dallas fireman. They take great pride in their work and we’re proud to call them a client. We hope that our efforts to provide the public with the real story will put an end to the questionable behavior of another business shamefully leeching off of their good name.

Reputation management is not simply about releasing a single statement to the public, but rather requires a steady flow of information telling your story. The more likely your target audience is to stumble across that story, the more likely they are to share it, whether through social media or through old fashioned word of mouth. Then more of the public will have the true story. Your story.

 About The Author

jeff-carrington-headshot

Thanks to the shortening of attention spans and his inability to finish a novel (phenomena that are unrelated, he assures us), Jeff Carrington has found the perfect job for himself as director of communications and social media at bloomfield knoble. When he’s not developing social strategies for clients in 140 characters or less, he’s tweeting about dive bars and dog parks, both of which he frequents with his Spitz-Terrier mix buddy, Ben, and other random humans.
Connect With Jeff Carrington
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

 

22 May 2014
photo

Are You Ready for Your New Twitter Profile?

bloomfield knoble helps companies make the best of changes like these.
Trying to figure out how to make the best use out of new features like Twitter’s wider header image?

On Facebook, each of your friends has most likely visited your profile page once – when trying to decide to Friend you or not. If it’s an ex, the frequency is greater – obviously in an attempt to see who you’re dating now to make sure you’ve moved on and are happy hoping to God that it’s a downgrade from themselves.

On Twitter, odds are nobody but you has ever visited your profile. But nonetheless, Twitter has updated its profile page – visually and functionally. Are you ready? You have until the mandatory switchover on May 28 to update the profile header image.

One of the things we focus on at bloomfield knoble, inc. is making sure our clients are always the prettiest girl at the dance. Keeping up with changes like this is part and parcel of that job.

Here’s what’s changed and some tips on making the most out of the new changes:

  • Larger profile photos. They’re now 400 pixels by 400 pixels, the same aspect ratio as before but with larger dimensions.
  • Customizable header image. This main image spans the browser, and users are encouraged to upload a 1500 pixel by 500 pixel image. Your current header image might fit, but the bigger scale might make it look a little fuzzy. Note that there are vast differences between how the images appear on mobile devices and desktops, so check all your devices before locking in on your image.
  • Best tweets. Your tweets with the most engagement will appear in a larger text size inside your stream.
  • Pinned tweet. You can now pin one of your favorite tweets to the top of your profile page. A very Facebook move.
  • Filtered views. When visiting someone else’s profile, you can choose how to view their tweets: tweets only, tweets plus replies, or tweets with photos or videos.
  • There’s also now a Pinterest-style grid view of your followers, who you’re following, and your visual content.

This is all a move to make what you see when you log into Twitter more visually appealing. Personally, I find the larger text for more popular tweets handy, after at first being confused by it. The new aspect ratio of the profile header seems prohibitive, but with a little effort, having a picture that works in that space is fairly stunning.

To make the most of these changes, get more visual. It’s long been known that posts with images get more Retweets, and that trend is likely to continue with this more visual redesign. Users have easier access to your visual content (if they visit your profile), so keep on being visual – photos, infographics, charts, whatever helps convey your point and stands out.

Be aware that there’s also easier access for visitors to view your Favorites. How have you been using that feature? Bookmark? The equivalent of a Facebook “Like”? A way to communicate to your followers that this is worthy of attention but not worthy of a Retweet? It seems like everyone uses it differently. Now it’s easier for others to see what you’ve favorited, so be sure you’re making the best use out of the feature.

But mainly, it’s the header image. The much wider aspect ratio completely changes how your header image is presented. As you play around with it, you’ll discover that many images that look like they’d work great (and particularly those that worked before) absolutely do not. But through trial and error you’ll find the right one.

One more fairly minor, unannounced change, is that he background image that used to appear behind your newsfeed is gone. It’s still visible in areas of your profile only accessible to you, but third party users who visit your profile no longer see that image. It will probably be phased out altogether in a future update.

If you manage a page for a business, keeping up with these changes is critical. If you’re just a personal Tweeter, hopefully this information will help you engage more friends … and finally get a RT from that celebrity you’ve been @ mentioning all these years.

At bk, we’ve helped companies ranging from mom and pop shops to Fortune 10 organizations build social presences that have shaped their business and public perception. Part of that is staying on top of trends, updates and changes in the industry.


 About The Author

jeff-carrington-headshot

Thanks to the shortening of attention spans and his inability to finish a novel (phenomena that are unrelated, he assures us), Jeff Carrington has found the perfect job for himself as director of communications and social media at bloomfield knoble. When he’s not developing social strategies for clients in 140 characters or less, he’s tweeting about dive bars and dog parks, both of which he frequents with his Spitz-Terrier mix buddy, Ben, and other random humans.
Connect With Jeff Carrington
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

29 Apr 2014
Google+-blocked-01

Is the Writing on the Facebook Wall (er, Newsfeed) for Google+?

When Google+ first launched, my feelings about it were more or less the same feelings I have about another Star Wars movie. I feel like I should get behind it and try to support it because it seems like a good production team, and I do love the others that came before it. However, I couldn’t help but ask, “Is it really necessary?”

Google_StarWars_Droids
These Stormtroopers – and you – may soon not be able to log in to their Google+ accounts.

With Google+ reportedly raising the white flag and disseminating its team into other parts of the company, Google has admitted what most of the world knew all along: there’s just not room for another major social network in people’s lives.

Many of us were skeptical of the odds of success for Google+ from the get-go. Simply put, it was just too similar to Facebook. Honestly, everyone had invested so much time and energy to build Facebook friends, photo galleries, groups and more, why would anyone jump ship? Or why would anyone take the time to manage two major social networks?

Besides, in the meantime, another dynamic emerged. It gets a little old seeing photo after photo of other people’s vacations, food and babies. Interacting and posting on your Facebook account has become something of a chore for many users. Hence, the rise of Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and other more immediate, hit-and-run style social networks.

Using Facebook – and Google+ – requires users to invest time that the other social platforms do not. To Facebook’s credit, users spend much more time on Facebook than any other site. The flip side of this for many is a certain level of exhaustion.

This exhaustion means that users rolled their eyes at the idea of logging in to another social site. Google tried to alleviate this hurdle by integrating Google+ with every single part of their ecosystem – YouTube, search, Gmail – so you couldn’t avoid it.

But people did avoid it. In fact, this integration often resulted in users needing to create new logins for platforms like YouTube – often inadvertently winding up with multiple accounts and, in some cases, no idea how to access the channel they had curated for years. Maybe I’m speaking from personal experience. Maybe I’m not. Either way, it wasn’t as seamless of a process as Google was hoping it would become.

Some companies jumped on it immediately and whole-heartedly. Indeed, somewhere out there, there’s a bloomfield knoble Google+ page, as well as one for all of our clients. It was a land-grab. But we adopted a wait-and-see approach on behalf of our clients because our assessment was that the platform needed to reach a critical user mass before it would be of any use to anybody or pose any semblance of a threat to Facebook.

I realize that created a chicken-and-egg scenario, but why waste our time and our clients’ time just for the sake of early adopter bragging rights?

Eventually, with Google favoring Google+ mentions in its search, that became the only reason to set up a page. That said, many felt like that was a form of bullying by a company increasingly becoming more involved in every aspect of our lives.

The point is, social media moves and changes fast. Even the established players like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn change interfaces, algorithms and design often enough that it can be hard for the every day user to keep up. (Did you know that within the last week both Facebook and Twitter made major updates to business management and design, respectively?)

Assessing these changes and the need to jump on board, and when – especially something huge like an entirely new platform – is key to making the most use of your resources. As Google possibly prepares to put Google+ out to pasture, our clients can look back and know we made the right recommendation to them. They asked and we responded to save some money and wait for the necessity. It paid off, literally.

Now let’s keep our fingers crossed about that Star Wars movie.

 


 About The Author

jeff-carrington-headshot

Thanks to the shortening of attention spans and his inability to finish a novel (phenomena that are unrelated, he assures us), Jeff Carrington has found the perfect job for himself as director of communications and social media at bloomfield knoble. When he’s not developing social strategies for clients in 140 characters or less, he’s tweeting about dive bars and dog parks, both of which he frequents with his Spitz-Terrier mix buddy, Ben, and other random humans.
Connect With Jeff Carrington
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

17 Apr 2014
Apple logo

The power of Apple

I will admit that I, and most of us here at bloomfield knoble, are excited about Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) June 2 through June 6 at San Francisco’s Moscone West. But why am I excited? I’m not attending – I’m not a developer – I’m not anxiously awaiting any products they’re going to announce (unless they announce the iWatch – then I am excited). When I really think about it, I realized I’m excited because of my relationship with the brand, which, if you really think about it, is weird.

Think about this for a minute – why do we care about brands? Let’s start with the premise that people are not rational. If we were, then we would assign value to whatever we needed to acquire on a need-by-need basis. If you are starving and have a choice between two types of food, the rational decision is to pick the food that provides the best calories and nutritional needs . . . but that’s not how we think. I was in New York recently and people were telling me I should go 30 minutes out of my way to get a certain kind of pizza. That’s branding – not rational decision-making. At bloomfield knoble, branding (and rebranding) is a core competency of our agency – not just because of our creative skill and RUDE process, but because we understand the psychographics of why consumers want brands.

Brands Add Value

The image of a brand can add value. I have an Apple iPhone, laptop, desktop and iPad, so, yeah, I’m an Apple person. Being an Apple person adds value to me. That may be a good or a bad thing, but it’s important to me – and consumers. Consumers highly value the brands they buy. It makes them feel better and they get more value out of the product because it has the brand on it versus the same product that didn’t have the brand on it. Air Jordans vs. basketball shoes, etc.

Brands Lower Risk

Another reason people look to brands is because of their perception of decreased risk – also identified as trust. People eat at McDonald’s because the know exactly the type of food they are going to get. The truth is that a person could get a bad burger at McDonald’s – same as anyplace else, but it’s because they’ve eaten there previously without getting a bad burger that provides assurance of consistency.

Brands are Relationship Driven

When consumers interact with a brand, they are building a relationship – same as in a social setting. Becoming familiar with a brand is trust, but also helps with the decision-making process, and sometimes that’s a real benefit. For example – if a consumer decides to start a soup diet (it’s a real thing) and heads to the store to buy a bunch of soups, they aren’t shopping only on taste and price – the are shopping based on a relationship. Brands make our lives easier. Rather than have to wade through soups, a consumer can turn to a brand like Campbell’s Soup. A consumer doesn’t have to think “what is this?” it’s already been identified for them by the brand and as long as the brand is associated with quality, then all products will be associated with quality. People can try a new flavor and know that it’s safe and healthy (or whatever) because it’s Campbell’s Soup.

Brands do a lot for consumers and they’re important to consumers. At bloomfield knoble, we understand why consumers want brand and we build our marketing plans around what consumers look for when they’re looking for brands.


 About The Author

thomas-thompson-headshot

A STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) graduate and COO of bloomfield knoble, Thomas exemplifies the view that advertising is becoming an engineering discipline. He leads the integrated insights and strategic planning group in a way consistent with bloomfield knoble’s goal of bringing a strong analytical foundation to uncover fresh and innovative insights and business opportunities.
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.