Jan 7, 2013
Recently I have had the opportunity to photograph some fantastic events including the AIR Society Benefit, UALC Strolling Supper, and Dance4Life Fundrasing Auction.
Here are a few selections from those great evenings.
Oct 10, 2012
Sep 25, 2012
I have decided to take this blog in a new direction. One with much less focus on marketing strategy (although I'm sure I will still find points of interest within that topic) and more focus on creativity. Specifically, I want to explore the intersection of creativity and money; the innumerable ways that people use their creativity in their professional lives, and the varying degrees of success and satisfaction that they achieve.
I thought that I would kick things off with this lovely, and appropriately titled, short documentary on musician Nick Zammuto (formerly of The Books, now solo). This glimpse into Nick's life is an inspiration both artistically and for his lifestyle choices. I may not have to chops to follow his lead as a professional musician, but I can aspire to his work-life balance and his creative integrity.
In the short term, I hope to find more inspiration for this blog and to post on a more regular basis. I have some ideas brewing, good things on the way!
Jun 27, 2012
May 31, 2012
When Facebook switched layouts to the current Timeline model a lot of businesses, including the one I was working for, had to rethink their strategy a bit. A lot of the tricks methods we use to rely on were altered or removed. It definitely took some trial and error to figure out what strategies created the best results. I wish I had found this post on Mari Smith's excellent social media blog sooner. She gives a comprehensive guide to the new layout, item by item. Check it out:
May 22, 2012
One of the businesses that I used to work for back in California recently introduced this great series of videos about their products and services. These clips are a perfect example of the video quality available to small businesses today. I'll have to ask them what camera they are using, but I would bet it is a Canon dSLR.
In this video they explain the many specific terms for the various components of a bicycle and point out areas that frequently require maintenance. This is a fantastic way of addressing the concerns of many bike shop customers and it helps connect Cycle Sports with their audience. They do an excellent job with the close up detail shots, and it's great to see my former co-worker Jonathan doing quite well speaking on camera.
This also reminds me that I need to stop by and visit next time I am out West.
May 21, 2012
Last week Joshua Gross' blog Unwieldy posted some interesting research. Through combing various articles and studies Joshua investigated the impact of New York City requiring licensed taxi cabs to install machines to accept credit card payment, and more importantly, the application of quick tip percentage buttons. He found:
During payment, the user is presented with three default buttons for tipping: 20%, 25%, and 30%. When cabs were cash only, the average tip was roughly 10%. After the introduction of this system, the tip percentage jumped to 22%.
Joshua goes on to point out that over the course of a year and 13,267 registered taxi cabs in New York, the additional tips generated totals roughly $144,146,165.oo.
This statistic perfectly illustrates the value of a slight shift in incentive and the power of societal pressures.
When New York taxis were a cash business, the rider had to do some quick math to calculate an appropriate tip. Most would get 80% of the way to an exact amount, round to the nearest dollar, and hand some cash to the front seat. That grey area left room for optimistic interpretation, "I think I gave a tip around 15%." It also didn't account for inflation. If you had been tipping a few bucks a cab ride for years, you weren't likely to add a cost of living increase.
Now with the new system, you were forced to stare an exact number in the face. Also, by only including 20% and up options, it added a pay-for-convenience incentive. Were you a 20% tipper? Or would you do your own math just to tip less? Based on the average tip of 22%, I would say most people just hit 20% and went on about their day.
This kind of psychological incentive is something that every small business can aspire to. Is there a new system that you can apply which will increase the perceived value of your products and services? A simple add-on which will be a no brainer during checkout, but one that nets a few percentage points on every transaction?
It's certainly an interesting challenge to consider.
May 20, 2012
Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the amazing Dekalb Market in Downtown Brooklyn. The Market is a creative re-thinking of an outdoor marketplace built out of recycled metal shipping containers. The container have been cut and crafted into small store fronts and food-truck-esque restaurants. They are arranged around a central courtyard full of picnic tables and smaller pop-up vendors. The result is a fun, casual environment in which to gather, eat, drink, and shop.
We arrived shortly after Noon and stayed until dusk. Large quantities of delicious food were consumed and many fantastic crafty items were purchased. Friends brought dogs and bicycle were parked casually at our tables. The whole energy was so laid back, I actually found myself looking for more rules. But everyone was courteous and friendly, sitting communally and chatting with whomever was nearby. Overall The Dekalb Market was a great place to spend an afternoon.
I will definitely be returning to Dekalb, and bringing friends. I also want to talk to some of the small business owners who inhabit the space, to find out the unique and interesting strategies afforded by the community-driven marketplace.
May 17, 2012
While Marc Jacobs is hardly a small business, I thought that the recent vandalism-turned-marketing-coup which has been all over the blogs, was a great example of creative marketing with which to kick off this site.
Let's recap briefly: Kidult is a French graffiti artist who is known to frequently target major fashion labels. Last week he scrawled "ART" across the fecade of the Marc Jacobs store here in NYC.
Now, I am a fan of graffiti. I believe in everyone's right to express themselves in the space that they inhabit, and I love creative rethinking of how public space in meant to be used and enjoyed. But on a real world level, the employees of that particular store are not a corporate entity. They are the ones who have to take down the art. I have worked in retail most of my adult life and let me tell you, no matter how much you love graffiti, that will ruin your day real quick.
So here is where things get brilliant. Upon discovering the repainting of their storefront, somebody at Marc Jacobs (I'd like to think it was one of the store level employees tasked with the cleanup) decided to turn this art into a branding exercise. They tweeted their own photos of the graffiti, taking pride in the art that was thrust on them. Essentially becoming that kid in school who accidentally wore two different color socks but turned it into a fad.
Then the Marc Jacobs team took it a step further, offering T-shirts with photos of the ART for $689. Again, I would like to think that the $689 number equals the total cost of the cleanup, but that is probably reading-in more meaning than is actually there.
At any rate, the whole thing is an extremely clever way to turn a tediuos day of cleanup into a big marketing win for the company. This kind of creative thinking is even more applicable to small businesses who are able to meneuver quickly and stand to gain valuable community support.
The New York Observer had the best final take on the incident:
While it is inherently difficult to root for capitalist enterprises, any artist trying to subvert something through destruction for attention (such as Kidult clearly does) is difficult to root for as well.... Especially when the response is as crafty, canny, and genuinely more artful than the provocation it’s answering.
May 15, 2012
Welcome to The 21st Idea. Here's the theory: it takes twenty ideas on a project to get through all the standard solutions that aren't bringing anything new to the table. It takes twenty ideas to really start engaging the brain and thinking outside of the box. The first twenty ideas are just process.
Inspiration starts at idea number twenty one.
More realistically, inspiration can come at any time. But if you do the work, and put out twenty one real ideas, you ensure that your brain is engaged and you are doing your best work. Twenty one ideas is a minimum. If the project isn't worth spending the time to come up with twenty one, then it's not worth starting.
The 21st Idea is my marketing project focussing on the challenges of marketing a small business. On this blog I will share my ideas and projects as well as strokes of brilliance found around the web. My goal is for this site to be a resource for both small business owners and marketing professionals looking for creative solutions and inspiration.
Great ideas are made to be shared.