Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Sensible-music goes live

We're proud to announce that the Sensible Music Group website is now live. This has been a very exciting project for us being as we are big music fans here at HUGHES | DESIGN. Obviously not as big as fans as Sensible.

This site is a great show case for the kind of work we do. It's a bespoke design with a content management system. It also streams audio and video content, which is a first for us, or certainly in such quantities.

When we first met with Sensible, they had some pretty clear ideas about the kind of site they wanted, and the features hey wanted in it. Being a recording complex with a sense of history, but also very cutting edge with some of today's biggest names passing in and out of the studio, it was necessary to try and get a balance between retro and modern.

The header and navigation are inspired by vintage guitar amps, the nav switches based on the those on the Mojave Ampworks Scorpion 50 watt amplifier head. The dimensions of the home page are based an a Carvin 212 BELAIR 2 x 12, 50W, all-tube combo guitar amp - just to give the site an authentic rock'n'roll feel.

We commissioned Ben Sullivan an illustrator to measure up the studio complex and then create the isometric illustrations used throughout the site and the interactive one that acts as a studio navigation on the Home page.

Technically, the site is part static and part content managed. The Equipment pages and Clients & Projects section have have a simple to use CMS (content management system) that allow Sensible to upload images and text descriptions of the recording and musical equipment they have available while the clients and projects section allows them to upload images of acts, along with streaming flash content of the recordings and or/videos that Sensible have been involved in. The system also allows Sensible to organise the Clients and Projects content in a top 100, alphabetical or a combination of both.

Visit the site at www.sensible-music.co.uk and see for yourself.

The site is so new, it's still being populated with content. So it could change while you are there.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

From Lee Odden's blog on Viral Campaigns

This is copied from Top Rank blog and was posted by Lee Odden, and I have pasted it (and included a link) to cut out that extra click.

"Viral makes you think of something horrible, right? Like an outbreak of a virus taking over the world’s population and turning us all into zombies? Well, trust me, when it comes to online promotions and link building, “viral” means “success”.

During the session this morning, we heard a lot of fantastic tips for how to create and promote viral campaigns. Fionn Downhill of Elixir Interactive gave some fantastic statistics about the use of social media for viral marketing purposes and how to leverage that to gain buzz for your product.

According to a recent Nielsen study, 78% of respondents trusted recommendations from consumers over what they read in the newspapers. This is nothing new, as word of mouth has always been one of the most trusted sources of information, but finding out where consumers are getting these recommendations (blogs, online media, etc.) is very important. Fionn also showed that 7 out of 10 Americans use the internet as their main news source. And guess what - journalists are online too! 97% of journalists use the internet to find resources for their stories, 79% use it to generate story ideas and 72% of journalists read blogs to find out what is going on in the online media space.

Keeping all of these statistics in mind, it is easy to see how a successful viral campaign can gain tons of coverage for a company or product. But how do you go about creating this campaign?

Jennifer Laycock of Search Engine Guide gave some fantastic tips on what to think about when planning out a viral campaign. She gave three very simple commandments to follow, under which every bit of planning should belong:

  1. Thou Shalt Know Thy Costumer - in order to successfully market to the correct customers, you need to know a bit about those customers. Listen to their feedback and get involved in their online communities. This first hand knowledge will really come in handy when creating strategic messaging
  2. Thou Shalt Be Remarkable - You must be different to get attention in this world. Creating the same old “me too” campaigns wont get nearly as much coverage and buzz as being the first to do something great. An amazing message should translate into an amazing company.
  3. Though Shalt Try, Try Again - You can’t know what is going to happen with a campaign idea until you have initiated it and tested it out. Not all campaigns will be come viral. But with each new campaign you learn more about the process, more about the messaging and more about the consumer so the next time, you’ll get it right.

So, you have the plan underway, and you know what you want to do. But how do you actually get it done? Justilien Gaspard of Search Engine Watch and Chris Winfield of 10e20 both gave fantastic examples of how a campaign, marketed to the right people in the right places, will become viral within a few days.

Justilien stressed first that we need to have clear objectives. is the objective of this planned viral campaign to increase brand awareness? To launch a product? To gain new customers? To acquire thousands of inbound links? Once the objective is clarified, the plan will form around it.

A good strategy, Justilien said, is to find the people of interest, those who influence the space you are marketing in. These people could be the prominent bloggers in the industry, or the social media power users who have hundreds of friends and whose opinions everyone trusts.

Chris Winfield brought us through how to use social media to get the initial message out about our new campaign launch. Since social media is basically word of mouth marketing after drinking a lot of Red Bull, beginning a conversation within the social media sphere can be very successful. Chris shared this step-by-step progression that a viral campaign could follow on its way to popularity:

So, you have a story that was submitted to Digg, and makes it to page 1. This is seen as Mecca for some marketers, and here is why: Now you are getting 1,000s of visitors to your site every few minutes. Bloggers, who need content to write about, find this Digg top story and share it on their blog. Other bloggers see it and write about it as well. Now the individual readers of the blog see this coverage and share the cool piece of content with their friends via IM or email. Journalists - as Fionn stated above - also read the blogs to get ideas for new stories and they could write about this piece of content as well. Now you have mass exposure in multiple media sources from one tiny little link on a popular site. Excellent.

In order to keep this success going for future viral campaigns, the basic steps spoken by the entire panel were to outline a clear objective when starting the campaign, make sure the content is good and relevant, take time contributing to online communities to spark life within social media and make all pieces of the campaign work together.

What are some of your favorite tactics for promoting viral campaigns?

And be sure to check out all of TopRank’s coverage of SES San Jose and sessanjose08 Photos."

Friday, 10 October 2008

online pr

Click here to see a funny film about online dating - just more interesting than me writing about online press releases as I was going to.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

My bank's now a trendy wine bar!

Oh, those were the days! When the most irritating thing about banking was the TV advert about lack of local branches. Well recent events have changed all that, and will no doubt change the advertising landscape too. Imagine an advert for Sleepezee mattresses "Did your bank squander your pension by indirectly lending it to a long term unemployed man from South Carolina so he could buy an over-priced wooden house? Well now you can Sleepezee knowing your money is safe under our mattress with it's 'Unique Savings Deposit Underpocket' – you'll never need of a bank again! This of course will be broadcast in the middle of TVs next big hit game show: Who'd like their job back?

That aside, no matter what happens on the other side of the Atlantic, we've all got to look closer to home to and find ways to keep our businesses going, to keep our customers loyal, so we can all be trading in 18 months time and be stronger for it...

So, the last thing you'd probably want to hear about now is an "investment opportunity". But here it is: Invest in your own company.

How? Simply spend a little time and energy communicating with not only your customers, but with your competitors customers. Talk with those who have ever inquired about your business, catch up with the people who've stuck their head around the door and had a nose but never purchased. Hunt down those who've shopped elsewhere but are now shopping around for deals.

Here are a few tips:

1: Think Long Term: Invest in your company by investing in your marketing and communications
2: Raise the Bar: Look at what your competitors are doing – and then do it better
3: Talk: Stay in communication with your customers
4: Gold Stars for Everyone: Reward customers for loyalty & reward new customers for switching
5: Look Up, Look Down: Be as focused on your customers as you are on the bottom line.

If you need any advise on how to invest in yourself, then please feel free to contact us. We may not be able to offer to dizzying returns promised by Financial Gurus – but then neither did they.

But what we can do is help you get your message out there – with a big effect on your customers and modest impact on your pocket.

HIT ME! How to get your business to punch its weight on line

Did we blog about this before? Some time ago, Mike produced an eBook for Fresh Business Thinking (those of you Hughes|Design aficianados will have seen it in our Showcase) but if you would like to read and hear all about Online Marketing, Online PR and the like, click here.
You will have to give up your email address, but there is some interesting stuff in there.