Interesting. Not because it’s surprising, but rather that it would be surprising if we believed we would NOT be judged by poor grammar, non-existent punctuation and nonsense sentences. After all, we’re judged by so many criteria these days.
Have you ever tried to pick the meaning out of an email or blog completely devoid of capital letters or full stops? The feelings of “Ahhh...bless...a novice on the keyboard...” soon dissipate and a much less charitable notion soon takes over.
The well-written word still means a lot, even in these days of electronic supremacy. Whilst the delivery systems have changed, much of what is being delivered has not. I found these lovely examples of mass dyslexia at GetReading.co.uk....
- ‘people lossing jobs’ (careless lossers!);
- ‘gullable’ (a naïve bird perhaps?);
- benifit (used twice so not a slip of the fingers);
- ‘suprise suprise’ (er ditto);
- propergander (having a good look at?);
- I new five girls (as opposed to I old five girls?)
- In countries such as Italy, which has higher morale values (happy Itis!)
- Alchol (hic!);
- Escape goat (I blame whoever left the gate open);
- Speach (or sapple or spear?)
- Opertunity (to be had at an opertune moment).
As you know, spotting howlers isn’t a new sport - it has a long and distinguished history.
‘So what?’ I can hear you say.
Well, quite a lot actually. Your company’s credibility (let alone your sales potential) is being affected by everything you email, communicate or upload, so it’s worth making the effort to ensure it’s not dangling participles in the faces of your readers.
We at B&V spend a huge amount of time and effort minimising errors (often in client-supplied copy), so that our communications make sense. Of course, in the perfect world, a spelling mistake would never exist. And when we all move to this much-anticipated ‘perfect world’ we’ll all breathe a sigh of relief. But until then, it’s back to the usual methods - sharp eyes and read it again and again and again....and then a bit more.
Incidentally, many years ago we used to keep a folder, titled The Studio Bok of Deliferate Mistales, into which all our howlers went. Amongst the gems was a series of 6 visuals, all for the same advert, all containing a different spelling of the word ‘refrigerator’ and proof, if proof were needed, that artists and designers cannot spell - never have been able to, probably never will.
In a departure from the corporate feel of our main site, the BVD site extols all the virtues of internet marketing and how our dedicated team help clients with web design and development, search engine marketing, email marketing and video for the web.
As you can see we’ve gone for a contemporary look and feel to the site but as a contrast to the clean white appearance of the B&V Creative site the look is darker and hopefully a bit more funky! The content too has been written with approachability in mind, to come across as relaxed and conversational.
The main idea with the content was to stress the benefit of internet marketing and the uncovered potential it can help realise in any business. The example page on the right is trumpeting the use of email marketing for instance…
We haven’t forgotten to sell ourselves though – especially the fact we really do tailor our digital marketing to our clients. Each project is tackled on its own merits, we don’t provide off the shelf solutions!
We’re pretty pleased with the site – and the ever expanding and increasingly informative blog. There are still a couple of new videos to upload (so keep an eye out for them) but we can definitely say, with excitement, B&V Digital has arrived!
If you’ve got any comments on the site, please do give me a shout!
As all marketing activities there are certain ways to extract and measure values from social media campaigns or activity, both qualitative and quantitative.
The running of your social media campaign will vary from traditional marketing campaigns in its approach as you take into account transparency, open and honest communications, but planning should not be dealt with differently.
Firstly you need to define the success metrics you use for the duration of the media campaign before carrying out the strategy. This will then help you understand where the return on investment will come from before investing your marketing budget in supporting a new business community, paying for production/development of online videos or even costs of developing a corporate blog.
If you are developing a strategy based on Twitter, your success metrics could be: increased traffic to your website, number of sales leads, savings on customer relationship management, telephone call charges, even recruitment of new staff. Engagement with clients, quality of followers, market research and client feedback.
Setting success metrics at the planning stage will assist in identifying the value social media can offer your business, plus helping you measure the success and demonstrate the benefits of activity to your organisation.
For more details on monitoring, reports, feedback and the ALL important ROI, call us and we’ll explain more…………………..
So what does the future hold for paper, our predominant information medium since 2nd-Century China? Books are holding strong, but for how long? Publications already have their online versions, so a logical conclusion is that paper will soon disappear into this virtual galaxy, taking with it a plethora of seductive charms: the scratch and rhythm of pen and ink across a sheet of quality handmade, the comforting rustle of a broadsheet cocoon, and even the desire, need and ability to read a book, not to mention the time and application that such pursuits require.
Will e-paper, with its blend of digital flexibility and the feel of physical paper, bridge the chasm between old and new? People may take to this compromise but, if they follow the easiest and most convenient route (which they usually do), then e-paper may well be little more than a bright idea as existing devices take over.
So what becomes of the ‘paperless office’? This concept seems to remain notional as people consume even more paper by printing out e-mails, web pages etc. Of course, this could be no more than a transitional phase practised by luddites who have a foot in both camps; those who value a piece of paper between their hands and before their eyes, despite the undeniable pull and benefits of information technology.
Perhaps the paperless office belongs to the generations being raised within the cradle of information technology. Those highchair cherubs who can navigate an electronic device/virtual landscape with the prowess of a seasoned explorer of Amundsen or Thesiger proportions; who respond to immediacy and things that ‘do,’ such as computer games and voice-activated gadgets, rather than things that ‘don’t’, such as books and board games - things that require something from their users to reveal their joys; things that are fostered and accrue and pay later dividends, not least being face-to-face inter-personal skills.
Has the eco-friendly paperless office merely been postponed? Will it help protect the world's forests or merely confer paper’s market share to other hungry harvesters? Ultimately, how long before information technology absorbs not just everything but everyone, and we are digitised into a mainframe, Lawnmowerman-style, living a virtual life in a virtual world?
Oh, well, just a thought. Now, please excuse me while I print this out for a final reading…
It got me thinking that that’s what we try to do when we’re creating a Brand. It’s the result of a process of researching the mood of the company and then reflecting that mood in all that we do to support the Brand.
So what would you be if you were a Brand? It’s a fun exercise. Do you see yourself as an adventurer with a sharp, funky personality? What colour might you be? Or maybe you see yourself as a bit of a teddy bear, in soft colours and slightly squidgy? How hard would it be to live up to that Brand or even change it in future years?
The point is that next time you find your mind wandering (not at work obviously) you might have fun looking around and creating a Brand for someone in your social circle or even in your family. Do you know I might have started a new craze or the breakdown of some beautiful relationships!
Anyway time to get back to the serious Branding challenge of a new client.
I've just read an interesting article entitled "Why logo design does not cost $5.00" and found myself agreeing with just about everything – but maybe not all – that its author was saying. And it did really set me thinking on why it seems to be that design in general seems to be somewhat undervalued in today's world.
It does seem to me that, as creatives, we designers really do work in a difficult industry. We all trust doctors with our health, dentists with our teeth, mechanics with our cars, lawyers with – OK, maybe we don't really trust lawyers, but you get the idea! But what do all these professionals have in common? Exactly that: they are PROFESSIONALS. They've trained for many years, built up lots of experience and generally know their onions. Well, believe it or not, the same is true of designers. We've all trained for years (usually at least 4) and the more experienced of us have many years of knowledge to draw on. Not only that, but we're constantly having to evolve and adapt, always searching for new, fresh ideas while having to embrace changes in technology.
But why then are designers and their skills so often undervalued and often ignored? Well, quite simply, I suspect it's down to human nature. As human beings, I believe we all have an innate appreciation of art & design and we all have our individual sense of style. So in truth, we can all legitimately say "I know what I like…". But is what we LIKE actually what is best for the job? As designers, it's not that we are particularly more "visually able" than anyone else – it's more that we're trained to really analyse the problems, explore possible solutions and then employ various strategies to best achieve results. It's this professional and technical expertise that we're really paid for. Sure, as human beings designers will always have opinions on a particular solution, but we are also able (or should be!) to step back from those opinions and assess whether it's the RIGHT solution. Factor in the experience element and there are also times when a good designer can almost instinctively cut to the chase and get very close to – if not right on – the money almost from the start. This is the area where most clients who insist on forcing their opinions through can really come unstuck. It's very easy to get hung up on personal taste and opinion, ignoring possible alternatives no matter how logical or suitable they may be.
The solution? Well, it's maybe not always that easy to ignore the human nature side of things, but it might be worth bearing in mind why the designer was employed in the first place. There was obviously an initial requirement to which someone made the suggestion of spending the money on bringing in a professional to help out. So, if a client is spending the money on bringing in specialist help and advice, does it not make sense – financially, if nothing else – to listen to what those outside specialists have to say? After all, if you were suffering from chest pains, would you go to the doctor to find out what's wrong and then disagree with any diagnosis because you once had a Fisher Price medical kit as a child?
Now, I don't disagree... having worked as a designer and in other industries (such as music production), I've had my cage rattled by cheap, nasty "creative" work too.
However, I have to say that alternative models of getting design can work...
One such site that's effectively tapped into the Social Networking model is crowdSPRING.
Buyers - people who need design - set a deadline and a price (minimum $200, Pro Accounts start at $1000 per project, and many of them are in the region of thousands of dollars), and submit the project to a bulletin board.
Creatives - the designers who wish to win the work - don't have to "bid", as the work is fixed price. They simply choose to submit a design, and the best design is adopted and gets paid for.
Now this might sound cut-throat and a bit unfair on the designers (most of whom will never have their designs chosen)... but what this does, is cultivate an environment for excellent design. Only the best designs actually get the work, therefore this isn't a place where you'll find off-the-shelf logos that look cheap - actually, the very best designs come to the fore. This opens up a potentially inaccessible marketplace (where often, only a few agencies get a look-in) to a huge number of freelance designers... equally, companies can tap into the creative energy of a huge number of designers.
The model is working... companies using crowdSPRING include the massive ad agency 'Crispin, Porter + Bogusky', the TV station 'Bravo', Fortune 500 company 'Henkel' (behind brands like Right Guard and Purex), the massive electronics company LG... the list does go on.
Perhaps there is space in the creative marketplace for both traditional agencies and designer communities?
So on a further read, I see that you're actually making a point about clients trusting their designers to do their job (rather than whether to hire professional designers or use a "logo for $5" website).
I guess some clients may feel that they're hiring a "Photoshop operator" to do their bidding, rather than a designer...
I like the doctor analogy. We (most of us) trust our doctor to diagnose our ailments... rather than going in and demanding "this is what's wrong with me... just sign the form!"
To further the analogy - when huge brands pay an unearthly sum to an agency for the privilege of being told that their existing logo is best left untouched, I guess this is the equivalent of being told "there's nothing wrong with you... so I'm prescribing this placebo. It's a 12 month course, so come back and see me with your chequebook then."
Absolutely - the $5.00 article (and probably a link off it) just got me thinking really. My point was exactly as you outline - that there's not much point in employing a professional (ANY professional), only to tell them that they're wrong and that you know better!
And quite agree with you on the placebo effect - although I guess some of these mega-companies still feel it's worth paying, if only for the comfort of knowing they're still OK where they are...
Blog ArchiveJuly 2009