Month: February 2013

On Why Brands Struggle to Succeed in New Social Channels

Ironically, the same new social platforms that grow most rapidly, and therefore are most appealing for advertisers, are also the most challenging for brands to break into. These platforms’ lack of automated tools, multiuser support, etc., create barriers to companies accustomed to centralized hubs to push content around. The brands that best mimic users and try the new experiences manually are getting ahead and have a greater chance of succeeding.

Why is manual better? Well, it forces marketers to confront how others are using the program. That prevents a brand from completely hijacking a platform to communicate some on-brand message sanitized to the point of emptiness. “Brands need to be acting more and more like people,” Tuff said. “What better way to do that than to force them to use the same mobile experience [as regular users].”
Brands want to experiment on new social platforms, which often means doing it by hand

On Bringing Hope Back To Advertising

Refreshing. Advertising, like many human activities, has a better chance of successful evolution given healthy cooperation amongst the tribe members. Less competition, more collaboration.

We need to shift from a competitive stance to a creative mindset. We need to live in the conscious presence of the prefrontal cortex–the part of the mind that doesn’t fear that the other guy will steal our slice of the market share pie, but imagines ways to bake a bigger pie. By quieting the selfish aggressive instincts of the body, you’ll begin to evolve and engage the mind, which is “no body” and “beyond self.” You will create bigger and better outcomes.

So if you really want to beat your competitors, focus on your customers with wonder and curiosity; and as people, not targets. Lead their imagination. And stop trying to hurt everyone. —We’re Marketers, Not Soldiers: How Combative Competition Is Killing Creativity

On the limitations of our web design tools

A detailed analysis of the limitations of the most popular tool for web design today.

It’s easy to forget the constraints of the web while working in Photoshop – and as a result, you can end up with a design that’s too difficult or too expensive to reproduce in CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Photoshop mock-ups have the additional downside of giving clients unrealistic expectations, leaving them disappointed when the final result isn’t exactly the same as the layout they first saw. —Web design: Is this the end of Photoshop?

Micro-Agile vs. Macro-Agile Methodologies

For the last couple of years I’ve been using agile methodologies for many of our development projects. Granted agile is not an obvious fit for a digital agency but I have actually experienced how agile methodologies protect our teams in the face of inevitable —mostly client-driven— change.

Some of the most useful tools include clear iterative cycles, sprint reviews, and stakeholder and customer involvement (or UX in lieu of final users). However, as effective as agile has been it hasn’t entirely resolved all the issues surrounding marketing project deliveries.

Project Development Methodologies

The agile approach is mostly employed during development and left out of the earlier and subsequent phases of product creation. This is not a concern in companies in which the main core competency is software production (eg. software development companies, production studios or startups) since non production-based phases are so rare. In the case of a digital agency, however, the product is not the core deliverable, the value added to the customer is. Which in turn means that software development is a byproduct of advertising agencies and receives only limited attention. (Some might think that this is a very naive approach to what the spirit of digital agencies should be. I might be one of those.)

Micro-Agile

Since the life of a project is only partially concerned with development, traditionally only said phase employed agile methodologies (which, I should remind the reader, are software development methodologies and therefore describe operations concerning the development phase alone.)

Micro-Agile Methodology by omarrr

This is what I’d call Micro-Agile; agile development applied only to a segment of the overall project life cycle. In the case of marketing campaigns we could consider that the whole project consists of Discovery, Planning, Development and Post-development.. Of all those phases, most agencies only use agile techniques during the software development phase (if at all).

Macro-Agile

As beneficial as this approach is, it could be improved by simple magnification. This is what I call Macro-agile; the enforcement of agile methodologies to the whole life cycle of a project going beyond the development phases. This new territory is not just limited to definition and delivery but also encompasses the management and planning of the Agile process itself (becoming a Meta-Agile methodology of sorts).

Macro-Agile Methodology by omarrr

Macro-Agile —just as Micro-Agile (or traditional agile)— deals with the complexities of customer feedback, proper project definition, goal assessment, success definition, etc. and these affairs are present during all phases of marketing campaigns.

The distinction between Micro-Agile and Macro-Agile is similar to the distinction between Agile software development and Agile project management.

Macro-Agile lies in the heart of the Agile Marketing movement and represents, in my opinion, the first attempt at a methodological approach to resolve the multiple issues present in digital agencies and to resolve the challenges in the face of a rapidly evolving market and customer expectations.

On Responsive Design vs Mobile First

Building your site from the mobile up.

Some marketers may think that by using responsive design that are delivering a strong mobile user experience when all they are doing is simply extending their desktop content to mobile without any consideration of what the mobile user wants.
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Instead, marketers should be focusing on making sure they are delivering a differentiated experience in mobile that truly focuses on what on-the-go consumers are looking for.

“In a ‘mobile first’ approach marketers are forced to undergo a content prioritization exercise, which in the long run achieves consistent brand messaging and optimal user experiences,” Siteworx’s Mr. McLaughlin said. “From here you can progressively add features and content as the device’s screen size increases, ultimately addressing the needs of your users’ and the needs of your business.”
Marketers at odds over effectiveness of responsive design