Category Archives: Branding

What’s in a name?

Buy--)Rakuten

I’m on a bunch of email lists. Comes with the job of being a marketing guy. For some time now, I’ve gotten emails from Buy.com. I don’t buy a lot from them, but it’s interesting to see how they promote specials, format their emails, etc. Recently, I’ve been receiving emails from Rakuten.com, “formerly Buy.com.” Um…wha? Continue reading What’s in a name?

Updating our Look & Feel

It’s been a while, but I’ve finally gotten around to updating the site’s look. A little. When I first created the “Captain Digital” persona, I wanted to evoke a 1940’s style cartoon look. While that worked well as far as the goal, the reality was that working with the color halftone pattern was a major pain. Add to that a desire to remake Captain Digital’s image into something just a wee bit more modern and hip, and you have a need for a image refresh. Problem was, I really didn’t have time to work on it. I tried an intermediate step of using a modernized cartoon version of the original, but there were some things I wanted to fix – in particular, I felt like losing the helmet would be a good idea. So As of today, we’ve got a new version of Captain Digital. The old ones will be retired, as I can get to it.

Let me know what you think.

TyperActive.

I love typography. Always have. From a very early age, I’ve been fascinated with letterforms. When I was in elementary school, I used to rubber-band two pencils together to create a crude way to draw Blackletter (a.k.a. “Old English”) lettering on posters. While other kids decorated their textbook’s book covers with drawings of muscle cars, military tanks or alien spacecraft, I decorated mine with words in a variety of typefaces. Blackletter, calligraphy, Cooper Black, Bodoni, Futura – you name it, and I experimented with it. As I grew into a career as a freelance artist, I discovered that typefaces could provide a subtext (no pun intended) to ad copy and headlines. The face I chose to design something had the power to communicate meaning, context, and even tell people how to think about the words on the printed page, before they’d even read them.

Waaaaay cool. Continue reading TyperActive.

New site launched. Read all about it.

We just lit up a new site for RiverFields – an Amarillo-based sporting goods shop that specializes in fly fishing, hunting, and self-defense. Their old site was, dated, to put it mildly. The reason was, it required a web guy to make any changes. It was just way too difficult for RiverFields to make changes conveniently. Therefore, they simply didn’t change anything. For several years. At all.

We began the new site by designing it with an eye towards how they’d be able to update it easily. That meant designing it for Adobe Contribute (so they could make changes to the text and static pictures) and implement a content management system so they could easily make changes/additions/deletions to their photo galleries (using the worth-its-weight-in-gold SlideShow Pro Director).

You can see the new site at www.riverfields.com. You can compare and contrast it with the old site, which (for a while yet) is online at www.riverfields.com/oldsite.

Let me know what you think.

Let me entertain you.

It dawned on me, as I was creating some ‘quickie’ bizcards, that I needed a website specific to the musician-side of my life. I’m a big believer in perception versus reality, and the reality is, people perceive a certain degree of “serious” in regards to an email address. If you want someone to take you seriously, a Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo address is not gonna cut the mustard. On the other hand, if you have your own domain name, it’s almost like instant street cred. So I bought bradkozak.com and set it up as a site dedicated to my singer/songwriter/entertainer biz. Of course, since I create websites for a living, it didn’t take but a couple of hours to throw together a website. (It took longer to get Mrs. Digital to help me with the photos, and to do the Photoshopping than it did to write the site code.) Continue reading Let me entertain you.

A little experiment in musicial (self-)marketing.

Recently, I’ve gotten restless, and I’ve decided to begin playing music professionally again. Trouble is, I don’t have a lot of contacts here in Amarillo. So I’ve decided to apply the same techniques I recommend to my marketing clients to my own situation. That means I’ve got to find ways to get myself noticed around town. What you see at the left here is a poster I whipped up in an hour or so this evening. I’ve secured a one-night gig – kind of a “let’s see if this works” kind of thing. Obviously, I’d like this to turn into a regular gig. So I’m doing everything I know how to do to make that happen. First, we’ll start with promotions. I’m going to print several of these posters and give them to Pizza Hut. I figure that the combination of a nice-looking poster along with taking the initiative to promote my appearance there will go a long way towards helping them see the possibilities. It won’t cost me much to do it, and it will help serve my larger goal of getting my name out there as a musician in Amarillo. With only two days before the gig, I don’t have much time to self-promote, but I figure that anything I can do is better than sitting around and waiting for something good to happen. Continue reading A little experiment in musicial (self-)marketing.

A little blogging news.

grokmediaI’m a big fan of blogging. Part of it is that I’m a writer – copywriting, techincal writing, correspondence, you name it. (Mrs. Digital keeps bugging me about writing the next Great American Novel. We’ll see.) Anyway, I’ve been gratified by the responses I’ve gotten, as well as the ever-increasing number of people that are reading my blog. Blogging is a lot like anything else you do – the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. One of the things I’ve learned, is that if you put a little work into promoting your blog with the blog aggregators and social networking services, you’ll dramatically increase the number of people that know about your blog – and if it’s any good, the number of people reading it. Continue reading A little blogging news.

Perception IS Reality.

What is real? That’s really the most fundamental question, isn’t it? If we can’t trust our senses, we cannot tell what’s real from what’s not. And that brings us, campers, to the true nature of marketing – perception versus reality.

I once worked for a guy who was a brilliant marketer – a true natural. His favorite aphorism was “Perception IS reality.” His point was that your view of reality is colored by your belief system and, therefore, your perceptions…ergo, perception IS your reality. It follows then, that it doesn’t matter what reality is – it matters only what your audience PERCEIVES reality to be.

Think about the implications of this for a second. They are staggering. Continue reading Perception IS Reality.

BAND-AID® Marketing.

My kid loves BAND-AIDs. She believes that, any time she’s wounded, a BAND-AID strip will make it better. I’m not talking about bleeding, here – I mean, if she sprains her finger, the dog steps on her foot, or if she has a stiff neck – a BAND-AID will fix her right up. My apologies to the fine folks at Johnson & Johnson, but that ain’t necessisarily so. Don’t get me wrong…adhesive bandages serve a useful purpose in the healing process, but they are not the one-size-fits-all, universal cure that my daughter would have me believe. (If they were, I wouldn’t mind our anual expenditures for BAND-AIDs, which seems to be a significant portion of the family debt, since she’s taken to putting them on EVERYTHING…) Continue reading BAND-AID® Marketing.

EUReKa!…I think they’re on to something.

I love creative things. In particular, I’ve always loved science fiction (which gives writers a way to violate reality to serve their story ideas) and humor (which requires both creativity and intelligence to do really well). So when the SciFi channel launched EUReKA, a show that combines sicence fiction with humor, I quickly became a fan. Then they did something that, at the time at least, was creative in a marketing sense. They created a website that was a “we’re going to pretend as if all this is real” kind of thing, that somehow made the show that much beter. It was cool. The show was cool. And they were doing some pioneering work in how to use the web to market a show.

Season Two just started, and they have pulled off yet again another innovative idea in marketing – they’ve blurred the lines between product placement and conventional advertising, and in the process have forged something new, different, and in many ways, pretty scary. Continue reading EUReKa!…I think they’re on to something.