August 31, 2010
One of the most interesting aspects of thinking strategically regarding business and operations, are the lessons that can be learned on a social level from friends. After all, many of the engagements on higher levels use a diplomacy of sorts, understanding the nuances of relationship building that translates into eventual trust and respect on both sides of the fence.
Here is one such story I’d like to share.
A few years ago, the brother of a good friend of mine was visiting from Taiwain. It was his first time being in Chicago, so a few of us in our circle really had a wonderful week planned giving John a true Chicago experience. Upon his arrival, we presented a gift; some athletic apparel (track pants and shirt plus jacket). We figured this was perfect since he was very athletic. We went to baseball games, enjoyed some blues and the great food Chicago has to offer. During the whole week however, he never wore the gift we gave him.
After a great visit and promising to return soon, he left.
One year later, he visited again and we made all the necessary arrangements. When we went to the airport to pick John up, the first thing I noticed as he walked through the gate toward us, was him wearing the gift we gave him, one year earlier. What I felt was an immediate sense of comfort and gratitude. As we were eating out that night, I leaned over to him and asked, “Why did you wear the gift we gave you when we picked you up?” He replied, “I loved the track suit and realized I had to exercise the greatest level of discipline to show my sense of gratitude. If I had worn the gift during my first visit, it would have certainly shown my appreciation. Waiting until my next visit allowed me to extend my gratitude and respect at a time when you did not expect it.”
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August 25, 2010
The Google Algorithm has been changed on us again! OMG!
While the case used to be that a domain could only appear twice in Google’s search results for any one query, Google has now expanded this limit. According to Google’s Webmaster Central blog, this applies to “queries that indicate a strong user interest in a particular domain.” Using Google’s example, if you do a search for “exhibitions at amnh,” 7 of the 10 results listings on the first page are from the American Museum of Natural History’s website; Google identifies pages on the site that each speak to a specific exhibit, because they want it to be easy for the searcher to quickly find info on various exhibits at that museum.
Using our own example, if you do a search for “chicago cubs jerseys” you should see our client CubWorld.com at the top of your organic results page (depending on where you live and how/if you’re logged into Google), followed by an array of other online retailers. But if you do a search for “jerseys at cubworld” you’ll see that 8 of the 10 results (as seen below) are various jersey pages on CubWorld.com. Apparently Google wants to speed up your shopping experience on that particular site.
So, what does this really mean?
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- Your brand is important. But let’s face it, we’re not all Nike or Coca Cola. So your brand combined with rich, compelling, well-organized content is really important. “Cubworld” alone doesn’t hold as much weight as a search query as “jerseys at cubworld” — there’s a band and some boy scout organizations who prove this. So yes, keep focusing on optimizing your site for both brand name-focused searches and other keywords.
August 20, 2010
Facebook recently released the information about their new location-based marketing tool so humbly titled “places”. When looking at the basics of places, all of the features seem to be right on compared to the likes of Foursquare and Gowalla. Although people called this the Foursquare killer, Foursquare and location-based marketers alike seem excited to integrate with the new Facebook feature. (Hmm, maybe it has to do with the 500 million users Facebook bring in?) However, although there are some similarities, Facebook did what they do best. (Take it to the next level)
How it works:
Like most location-based marketing tools you are able to check-in at a location via a GPS capable smart phone, and when you check-in you have the option whether or not you would like your location to be displayed to your friends, which is very similar to the features other companies like Foursquare offer. Then things start to get a little different from here on out. Not only do you know where your friends are, but also if you’re checked in nearby another friend, Facebook will send you a notification. This is a feature that has never been offered before, and one that could create some interesting interactions with Facebook friends.
Here’s a neat little video about places courtesy of Facebook:
Ok, so places seems pretty cool, but I know what you’re all thinking… How can this benefit my business? Well let me fill you in.
How it can benefit your business:
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August 19, 2010
Hungry? Love delicious, fresh food? Like to be treated well? Enjoy being in pleasant atmospheres? Of course you do! And surprise, surprise, we’ve just launched a website for a place just like that.
Reel Club in Oakbrook Center is a warm, casually elegant restaurant specializing in seafood, sushi, steak, and generally amazing, traditional dishes prepared with a 21st century twist. It’s a fitting addition to the Lettuce Entertain You tradition of high-quality dining and memorable experiences. And to match, envisionit has developed a warm, inviting, sleek new website. And we haven’t exactly tested this, but pretty sure it would be delicious too. Check out www.Reel-Club.com to whet your palette with a sneak peek of some signature dishes, as well as the comfortable, inspiring space. Read about Reel Club’s bar, the Barracuda Lounge and the tantalizing wine selection chosen by Master Sommelier, Alpana Singh. Make reservations online and treat yourself to a nice lunch or dinner after a fruitful shopping trip at Oakbrook…or place an order from Reel Club’s carryout menu to dine at home. Or even try your hand at preparing your own Reel Club dish with one of Chef Mychael Bonner’s favorites in the “Reel Recipes” section. And keep your social calendar exciting with Reel Club’s upcoming events and specials–there’s always something unique going on, like an intimate grill-out with Chef Bonner, himself.
August 18, 2010
Foursquare and other location-based marketing tools alike must be shaking in their boots today, while they un-eagerly await the big boy (Facebook) on the playground that’s about to show up in the sandbox that is location-based marketing.
Although rumors have been circulating the industry since May, Facebook is holding a large meeting at their central headquarters later this afternoon to officially release their plan for their location-based marketing tool.
When looking at current location-based marketing tools Foursquare is leading the way with over one million users. Well, when Facebook releases their program, it will instantly be available to 500 million users. (Yes, your math is correct, that’s 500 times the leader in the industry) With their whopping amount of users, it’s almost hard for anyone else to even compete.
So the question remains, will Foursquare and other location-based marketing tools become extinct upon the release of Facebook’s version? That is a question that can only be answered upon the release and evaluation of Facebook’s new tool. (usability, gratification, convenience, etc…)
One thing is for sure, this can be a great opportunity for local businesses to promote their company across the huge user-base that is Facebook, and directly offer discounts, information, and specials to them. Oh yea, don’t forget about nationwide companies getting in the mix, as McDonalds is in the talks as one of the first companies signing a contract with Facebook for the new location-based marketing tool.
Stay tuned for the soon-to-be-released details and specifics of Facebook’s 500 million user strong location-based marketing tool!
August 12, 2010
Think Google and Verizon feel today like that kid at school who makes a mortifyingly stupid or offensive comment in class that every student and teacher gets wind of and then whispers about in the hall, passing judgment as they brush by or shooting glares from across the playground? One might think so… There’s been so much negative buzz lately about the two powerhouses and their controversial Net neutrality policy proposal that one would assume they’re both at this moment begging their moms to let them stay home from school tomorrow.
But, in fact…well, they’re Google and Verizon, for gosh sake. They might turn on a convincing charm, but actually beat up those other kids for their lunch money. Or less metaphorically, they have enormous PR machines behind them that can manage a reputation or two. Just as quickly as two brand names as big as theirs can generate mass Twitter upheaval, so too can they quell the “rumors”—or spin the truth, as the case may be—and attempt to assure the public that they are in fact not the monsters that, say, the New York Times may have suggested.
The Net neutrality debate has been a heated one. The commentary has been rampant. And Google and Verizon’s identical blog posts yesterday were a direct response to the negative buzz–their attempt to lighten the controversy while asserting their position. Net neutrality is, at its simplest, the support of an Internet that remains unrestricted by Internet providers. And the joint Google/Verizon proposal that was submitted to the FCC is positioned as a pro-neutrality policy. But complaints against it suggest that it contains self-serving loopholes. For example, the companies propose the implementation of fines against Internet providers who attempt to block access to competing providers’ web properties. Could Google or Verizon afford to pay these fines if faced with them? Yep, most likely. Does this suggest they’ve designed the fines to work in their favor…and infer a potential elimination of competition? Indeed. Cue heated debate. (And this is just one element of the policy.)
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August 11, 2010
So. You and the team have worked real hard, impressed the bosses with a little brand refresh, you’re feeling real good about the new look. Now you’re about to launch a bright, shiny, new website, you’re hoping for a promotion… Because if you build it they will come, right? Um…No.
This question is one we at EIM get asked, well sometimes daily! Many of our clients have been with us for a long time, long enough that we work on their second, or even third website refresh with them (because as you should know, a website refresh every few years is typically a must!). The first time we worked on their site, SEO probably wasn’t a huge priority. Now? Well 99% of the time it’s a must-have. I mean, most websites are built with the goal of growing a business and increasing sales, right? Unless you are one of those businesses that is so busy you don’t want or need additional sales, then read on for WHY your new site needs a search engine optimization strategy.
1. It’s where your customers are. I shouldn’t need to explain this one much, it’s just a reminder. Search is huge. Your customers are most likely searching online for you, no matter what phase of the buying cycle they are in – Interest, Research, or Buying. Don’t you want to make sure when they do a search for your brand name, or your service and products, that you have a presence in the search engines?
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August 10, 2010
We moved into our River North address two years ago. Since then, our team and our business have expanded to an extent that our one mere floor of offices can no longer contain us. So, we’re doubling our workspace by adding the floor above us! We just started planning the layout, and we’ve set a move-in date for early Q4.
this photo shows the new main level office space as it is prepared for construction
The new, street-level space is pretty much everything a thriving interactive agency like envisionit media could want. Exposed brick walls, wooden beam ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, a combined 11,000 square feet of open space—y’know, the whole agency nine yards.
Now, we just have to figure out where to put the foosball table. Priorities.
August 9, 2010
This is Dave Berg, our new Director of Business Strategy.
Dave comes on board with a wealth of expertise in business strategy and interactive marketing. Prior to joining us, he had been leading business-development efforts at a Chicago-based interactive agency. Dave was key in building Axis Incorporated, a medical-consulting firm focused on cardiovascular ultrasound imaging. He spent ten years leading national marketing initiatives for USG, a Fortune 500 global manufacturer of building products. He’s also an active member of the Technology Committee at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, where he helps businesses use the interactive space to help them accomplish key business goals.
Now that he’s here, Dave is providing strategic direction for the new work that’s coming into envisionit media. He’s also going to be a major asset in growing new and existing client relationships. And we like his approach–he starts with the point of view of a client’s key customer, and then shapes marketing efforts accordingly to help clients drive loyalty and revenue.
Dave’s been with us for a few weeks now, so we wheedled him into telling us why he joined our team. Here’s what he said:
“One of the greatest observations I made about the envisionit team is the drive and passion they have at all levels of engagement. Everyone cares about the work. There is no buzzword or management style that can perform better for a client than the loyalty of dedicated people, I’m one of them.”
Aw, shucks. Thanks, Dave. We’re glad you’re here, too–welcome aboard!
August 7, 2010
envisionit media is proud to announce that once again we are looking to add new members into our team. We turn to our friends, clients and partners in efforts to help place talented individuals into our agency. We welcome any referrals you may be able to provide!
Listed below are the descriptions of each position:
Interactive Project Manager
Senior Interactive Account Manager
envisionit media is an interactive agency that drives action for its clients through the strategic integration of online and offline tactics.