Nossi’s Photography Certificate Program will help serious hobbyists and company employees

By Leslie Kerr, Guest Blogger | 7.6.17

A new Photography Certificate Program at Nossi College of Art will help serious hobbyists or business owners and employees who need to take better pictures for their company web sites and social media pages.

Starting this fall, the 16-week program will meet four hours per week at night. Professional photography instructors will utilize Nossi’s facilities to teach camera functions, lighting techniques, studio etiquette and software programs for post-production needs.

“It’s going to be fun, intensive and we’re going to be moving fast,” said Nossi Photography Coordinator Tom Stanford. “We anticipate having very motivated students who want to come in and, in four short months, really improve their skill sets.”

A major advantage for certificate students will be access to Nossi’s 2,500 square foot photo studio, the largest instructional studio in the southeast. They will also receive focused instruction to process their work in a professional setting. The course will be structured in segments that will include some beginning photography, software instruction, advanced photography and cataloging.

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“The idea is to shoot a little bit, learn about how to process those images, shoot more sophisticated stuff, and then learn how to do post-production in the Adobe programs Photoshop and Lightroom,” Stanford said. “Lightroom allows you to organize your photos in a logical way. It also allows you to make changes on photographs and, at any time in the future, go back and undo those changes or edit further.”

While classes are structured, students will be expected to shoot most of their projects outside the classroom. As techniques are explained, outside assignments will be assigned accordingly to help students hone a specific technique, according to Stanford.

Another important element of Nossi’s new photography certificate program is the partnership with Dury’s, a Nashville photography company established in 1882. Part of Dury’s mission is to help customers learn how to use their photography equipment most effectively.

According to Cyrus Vatandoost, Executive Vice President of Nossi College, a partnership between Dury’s and Nossi College is the perfect collaboration.

“Dury’s and Nossi have had a longstanding relationship,” Vatandoost said. “We at Nossi want to support the local photography community and Dury’s has the same vision. They work with our students on camera and lighting options and Dury’s owner Charles Small been a member of Nossi’s photography advisory board for a decade. They help us understand what’s new in photography equipment and what is available for students.”

Nossi’s photography certificate program will offer Dury’s customers a way to advance, either as a hobbyist or staff photographer.

“It’s a two-way street,” Vatandoost said. “Nossi will share knowledge of skill and technique while Dury’s offers insight into available equipment. Their experts will be able to offer suggestions on how to use certain cameras.”

Vatandoost hastened to add that the certificate program is open to anyone with an interest, not just Dury’s customers.

“This certificate will serve many markets,” he said. “Some serious hobbyists already have equipment, have learned all they can on their own and need someone to take them to the next level. Some students may want to start a small full- or part-time photography business and they will benefit from additional skills that we can teach them. Then there are those who work in corporate or business environments who find themselves now being the social media person for their company. This will help them and their employers.”

The Photography Certificate Program will begin in Fall 2017. Course and admissions information is available at www.nossi.edu.

 

[PODCAST] Company culture as marketing with Buffer’s Courtney Seiter

By Chuck Bryant | 5.3.17

Sometimes, the way a company upholds its values can be just as valuable a marketing point as its product, and perhaps nobody knows that better than Buffer Director of People Courtney Seiter, who will be presenting “Company Culture as Marketing” at NAMA Power Lunch on May 4.  

Buffer is a platform for scheduling, sharing and analyzing social media for small businesses, pursuing a two-pronged mission: In addition to giving people a greater voice on social media, Buffer also aims to create the future of work.

“It’s a little bit of a lofty mission there, and it’s kind of up to interpretation sometimes, but we often will talk about what the future of work looks like and how we can get there and how we can help other people talk about that and have those conversations to get there too,” Seiter said.

In order to accomplish this goal, Buffer takes radical approaches to traditional workplace practices.

First, its more than 75 team members are fully remote, with employees living across the world, fostering a global community of both flexibility and creative problem solving.

“We have to create unique ways to work together. If I want to talk to Adnan in Sri Lanka and I want to talk to Hannah in the UK, we’ve got some timezone things, we’ve got some asynchronous communications to overcome,” Seiter said.

Second, Buffer seeks to pioneer a culture of transparency, maintaining measures that not only keep everyone up to date on happenings in the workspace, but giving customers information access as well.

“We have a set of ten values that guide everything we do. One of those is ‘Default to transparency.’ That means, to me, unless there’s a clear tangible reason why you wouldn’t share something within the team and possibly to the wider public, go ahead and share it,” Seiter said. “For us that has created a really wonderful situation where there are no secrets on the team as far as how we work, as far as how we get paid, as far as why we price our product the way we do. And there are no secrets between us and our community and us and our customers.”

In one of its biggest moves of transparency, Buffer began making salaries public in 2013, publishing income numbers for every team member. This move, Seiter said, was a reaction to the lack of guidance available for deciding salaries in tech.

“The idea is when we began to build Buffer in the very early days, there’s a lot of high-level advice on how to pay people, how to structure benefits, but there wasn’t a whole lot for our founders to look at — it was really in the weeds– about how to structure pay and how do you pay people and make sure it’s equitable,” she said.

The move was anxiety-inducing for some team members who were concerned about how people would react once the information was available. However, in the years since Buffer published the numbers, it has proved itself a blueprint for more fair pay and applications to the company have increased by 40 percent.

In addition to transparent salaries, Buffer also allows for email conversations between two or more people to be viewed by any other members of the company, allowing for email trails to be traced back and referenced by anyone who needs them.

Employees also take turns helping out with customer support, allowing them to take part in other means of external transparency as well, showing customers how their money is being spent, and, in Seiter’s experience, seeing how much people appreciate the level of transparency the company upholds.

“The idea is that you as a Buffer customer should know where your money is going to. We respect our customers enough to recognize that’s information they want to know and that it will benefit them and make our relationship stronger to have that knowledge,” she said.

While it takes significant time and effort for a company to implement radical workplace changes like widespread transparency, Seiter said that companies can start by looking into the heart of the company and what drives its mission. Without these goals, it can difficult for companies to put into place future-thinking ways of changing the workplace.

“One thing that people, founders and organizations can do is to look to their values. If they do have values, they tend to be written on a wall or in the breakroom or somewhere not referred to all that often,” Seiter said.

Once those values are identified or created, founders should look for creative new ways to hold people accountable for making progress in company culture, backing them up with policy and experimenting with new methods.

This isn’t something that can be done without a passion behind it, however, Seiter said.

“It has to be genuine and authentic. I don’t think you can start out in this mission thinking ‘Oh, if we share this, the New York Times is going to want our story.’ It has to come form an organic and helpful and authentic and genuine place. People will recognize that and will respond to that. People can also recognize that false note really, really quickly,” she said.

But, if done with a genuine and creative spirit, radical changes in company culture can be a piece of the marketing platform in and of themselves, attracting customers and personalities that are interested and excited to contribute.

“People want to see companies doing good. People want to align themselves with mission, with values they believe in. You have so many choices today; you can choose from any number of products to solve any sort of issue for you, but with that choice there needs to be something else you hang onto. I think values are quickly becoming the thing that I personally choose when I choose a product or a service. And a lot of folks feel that way: They want something more,” Seiter said.

For more information about Buffer, visit them online at buffer.com and check out their transparency blog at open.bufferapp.com.

Seiter will be the keynote speaker at NAMA Power Lunch’s Company Culture as Marketing featuring Buffer on May 4. Register now.

Editor’s Note: The NAMA Power Lunch podcast is a production of Relationary Marketing in partnership with the Nashville American Marketing Association. This episode was produced by Chuck Bryant and host Clark Buckner, edited and mixed by Jess Grommet, with music by Zachary D. Noblitt.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Knight Stivender

Knight Stivender

Knight Stivender
CEO, Girls To The Moon
Director of Client Success, Alcott Marketing Science
Volunteer, NAMA Marketing Technology SIG Committee

What prompted you to join NAMA?
I joined NAMA six years ago when I was transitioning from a career in Journalism to a career in Marketing and Advertising. I found it to be a nice blend of learning and networking.

You currently serve (or have served) on NAMA’s Board. Why did you decide to volunteer?
I’ve served in a variety of board roles, including Communications Chair, Programming Chair, and Marketing Technology SIG Chair. I initially volunteered for the same reason I think a lot of people do – because a friend roped me into it! But I stuck around because NAMA has been tremendously valuable in my own career, and I feel I owe it to the organization to give back as much as I can.

What has been (or was) your proudest moment in this role?
When I was Programming Chair, my team and I brought in one of NAMA’s most diverse and inclusive lineups of luncheon speakers. I’m proud of that, though I think we can always do better and should be constantly thinking of ways we can be more reflective of our growing and changing community.

How has NAMA impacted you professionally?
I’ve met people who have become clients, sponsors, mentors, employees, and friends. I could literally put a dollar value on parts of it, but that would be giving away trade secrets. 🙂 And besides that, the most important parts transcend monetization.

What differentiates NAMA from other groups?
The diversity of industries and professional experiences of the members, speakers and event attendees sets NAMA apart from other professional organizations of which I’ve been a part. I hear a lot of people say this, and I’ve found it to be the case myself.

Can you share a memorable experience from your career thus far?
My team and I were finalists for a Pulitzer Prize for our breaking news coverage of the Nashville floods in 2010. We knew almost immediately that Saturday the rains started that we were in for a historic weather event, and my own neighborhood was one where people were evacuated in boats. It was incredible.

Why would you encourage others to join and volunteer with NAMA?
You’ll learn a lot – from both a professional standpoint as well as a “who’s who” of the Nashville marketing, advertising and agency scene.

Nashville’s Super Bowl Moment

By Samuel Cowden, Guest Blogger | 2.26.17

The Super Bowl is still quite visible in our rearview mirror, and we have been exposed to the year’s most exquisite examples of advertising.

The big game was an opportunity for brands to impress, to excite, and to entice. With advertising spots, even the shortest, running bills of over a million dollars, brands carefully considered their advertising — making sure to make the most of an opportunity, and audience, that only comes once a year.

Here’s the thing, Nashville is having it’s Super Bowl moment. The nation is watching us, waiting to see what we have to offer.

Unfortunately — in the business world — we don’t have much to show them because our approach to advertising is about as refined as a used car salesman’s.

In 2012, my business partner and I moved to Nashville from a small town 20 minutes outside of Dayton, Ohio to start a commercial animation studio. Nashville seemed like the perfect place to begin — fertile ground, as they say — due to its burgeoning economic landscape.

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Only a few years after the economic crisis of 2008, Nashville was growing faster than almost any city in the country and we were looking to capitalize — and we did. Nearly five years later, we’re still here — and doing pretty well.

There’s just one catch, less than ten percent of our business will originate in Nashville this year.

In the beginning, we played the game. We paid ourselves next to nothing, taking every job that came our way — no matter the budget — just to get our foothold. Our studio began to grow. We hired new employees and started making livable salaries. We were given the opportunity to work with some of the biggest advertising agencies in the world as well as directly with businesses like Bad Robot, Amazon, and CBS.

However, Nashville advertisers quickly began to balk at our budgets. When working in Nashville we were constantly face-to-face with a question — make great work or make a living? We were at war with a culture of low expectations.

Of all the obstacles to overcome, low expectations may be the hardest. Once somebody tells you that what you’re doing is good enough, it becomes indescribably harder to be convinced otherwise.

Well, here’s your wake-up call. Here’s somebody telling you that the rest of the country is passing you by while you’re busy pinching pennies.

On the other hand, maybe Nashville isn’t ready for its Super Bowl moment. Maybe we should tell the world to avert their eyes for a few years while we figure out this whole advertising thing. Maybe we just need a little time.

As I write this, I’m sitting in seat 15F on a plane bound for Los Angeles, followed by stops in Seattle and San Francisco — places that, when given their moment, didn’t fumble the ball.

 

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Samuel Cowden is the founder and Executive Producer of IV, an award-winning animation studio focused on creating beautiful videos about the human narrative for design-conscious brands including IDEO, Edelman, CBS, Amazon, and Google.

[PODCAST] Busting the myths of brand storytelling with Lindsay Jamieson

By Chuck Bryant | 2.26.17

In today’s advertising environment, selling a product based on emotion is just as important – if not more – than selling based on reason.

“It’s very much about emotional positioning or creating emotion in the narrative. Some people are good at that. Some people don’t dare do it,” said Lindsay Jamieson, founder of brand-strategy company Jamieson Brand.

To Jamieson, however, it seems as though advertisers have taken that narrative strategy a little too far – an idea that he will bring to the table on as the speaker at NAMA Power Lunch on Thursday, March 2, at City Winery.

“I think for the last 10 years, people have been sort of rambling along about, ‘That’s how you do marketing—you tell a story.’  And a lot of marketing companies and advertising agencies make big claims about being storytellers, and ‘We’ll tell your brand’s story,’ and that sort of stuff,” Jamieson said. “But some people are looking at that the wrong way ‘round.”

At the intersection of marketing, branding, and business, different means often come to the forefront of industry attention as the new best solution, Jamieson said.

And while using brand storytelling as a method of advertising is effective in building a two-way relationship with customers, advertisers often forget that what the product has to offer is just as important.

“There’s the product story – which is the buy, which is all of these features, and what color it is, and how much it is, and everything literally tangible around the product offering,” Jamieson continued. Then there’s the brand story, and that’s where you begin to explore higher level concepts, abstract values, beliefs, intangible elements that build personality into the bigger offering

One brand that does this particularly well, Jamieson said, is Louis Vuitton, which manages to seduce potential customers with a big picture that’s full of emotion.

“They take you into another world that you can relate to and desire to be in,” he said.

Jamieson explained how successful ad campaigns can help sell not only the product, but the brand itself; a brand cannot really be owned, but only influenced in how it is perceived. This means that it’s often difficult for people on the inside to gauge a brand’s effectiveness.

“The reason I have a job is because marketing yourself is really, really hard,” Jamieson said.

In order to combat this, advertisers must stay open-minded, listening to the perspectives of those who know the industry, and gathering an arsenal of knowledge by observing how other brands solve or don’t solve problems.

That also includes getting distance from the industry sometimes. Jamieson said he frequently DVRs television to skip the ads, closes his computer for the weekend, and takes walks in nature every single day to avoid overstimulation.

“The last 10 years have been exponential in the growth of noise,” he said.

All of it chalks up to members deliberately disrupting themselves from an industry that is overflowing with new content, even if it’s no7t always good content, Jamieson added.

“I’m not looking for failure, I’m just seeing it. And then I’m getting excited when I see good creativity,” he said.

Jamieson will be the keynote speaker at NAMA Power Lunch’s Debunking the Myths about Brand Storytelling on March 2. Register now.

 

Editor’s Note: The NAMA Power Lunch podcast is a production of Relationary Marketing in partnership with the Nashville American Marketing Association. This episode was produced by Chuck Bryant and host Clark Buckner, edited and mixed by Jess Grommet, with music by Zachary D. Noblitt.

Volunteer Spotlight: Tim Earnhart

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Tim Earnhart
Founder/CEO of Werkshop Branding
NAMA Board Member, Chair of Entertainment & Sports Marketing SIG

What prompted you to join NAMA?
I re-joined NAMA in 2014 as a board member. However, our company had been a member since 2008. NAMA is a great place to find industry thought leadership, networking opportunities, potential business, and amazing friendships.

You currently serve on NAMA’s Board. Why did you decide to volunteer?
I enjoy giving of my time to valuable organizations that I personally will benefit from. NAMA provides multiple volunteer opportunities in various areas. It was easy for me to find a spot where I thought I could be of benefit to the organization. 

What has been (or was) your proudest moment in this role?
Upon joining the board in 2014, I initially served on the volunteer committee as co-chair and then chair. During this time I talked and met with countless professionals who wanted to get involved with NAMA and volunteer just like me. It was very fulfilling for me to meet these people and learn more about their passions and what drove them to want to get involved with NAMA.

Within the last few months, NAMA has launched the Entertainment & Sports Marketing SIG – their newest special interest group – and I have agreed to chair that SIG. It only makes sense for NAMA to have such a group given the impact both entertainment and sports have on Nashville.

How has NAMA impacted you professionally?
The past three years have been extremely positive for me. I have learned so much interacting with fellow board members, members, and speakers/panelists. You get out of anything what you put in it. I live in Kentucky, so I’ve made it a commitment and priority to attend as many of the NAMA events as possible.

What differentiates NAMA from other groups?
NAMA is diverse. It’s that simple. Meaning, those who are involved with NAMA come from various professional disciplines like marketing, branding, advertising, communications, PR, social & digital media, C-suite, management, and even business ownership.

You will find a great mix of agency and corporate. I love this about NAMA. The diversity of our membership is great. This is what I think sets us apart from other groups.

Can you share a memorable experience from your career thus far?
I’m what they call a serial entrepreneur, so I have had many memorable experiences. I’ve been a co-founder or partner of seven start-ups/companies over the last 16 years. I enjoy the excitement and challenges behind launching a new brand or growing an existing business.

I was honored in 2004 as the Small Business Person of the Year by the Bowling Green, KY Chamber of Commerce. My most proud moment was in 2012 when I was honored by Junior Achievement USA with the national Impact Award for my service to that non-profit organization. I’ve served on a local JA board for 20 years. 

Why would you encourage others to join and volunteer with NAMA?
Our time as professionals is precious. However, if you make a commitment to NAMA and all that it has to offer, it will be time well spent. You get out of it what you put in it. There’s plenty of other organizations and events in Nashville that can consume your time. However, if you are at all in the global world of marketing, you need to be a part of NAMA.

Mayor Megan Barry’s Marketing Plan for 2017

By Chelsea Kallman, NAMA Blogger | 1.23.17

With a fresh year in front of us we decided it was time to get a unique marketing perspective – from the public sector.

I spoke with Sean Braisted, Press Secretary for Mayor Megan Barry, to find out how our mayor plans to market Nashville in 2017.

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A common tagline for our great city is “Nashville – A great place to live, work, and play.” Mayor Megan Barry plans to continue marketing our city as such, which is great because there has been plenty of news that confirms its truth.

Travel and Leisure named Nashville one of the friendliest cities in America. Braisted says this is due to local residents and workers who ensure all visitors leave with a great impression.

Another accolade: Forbes named Nashville the fourth best city for tech jobs.

“We have been very successful in bringing tech companies from the Bay Area to Nashville, while also growing our homegrown tech community through organizations like the Entrepreneur Center and Nashville Technology Council,” Braisted said.

The Mayor plans to play up what is already great about Nashville. This means embracing Nashville as Music City, including the television show ‘Nashville.’ He says the show highlights our culture and many entertainment venues in our city.

It is one of the best investments we can make from a marketing standpoint in helping to ensure the show will remain on the air in this coming year and have the number of episodes necessary to be syndicated,” Braisted explained.

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Because Nashville is comprised of many different types of people, it would be difficult to look past all the artists in our population.

“Nashville’s creative community enriches the quality of life for all of our residents and sets our city apart from others,” he continued.

A tangible investment in this branding has been The Ryman Lofts, an MDHA project providing affordable housing options for artists.

“Additionally, we are looking at ways to expand the availability of maker space in Nashville so that creative and talented people have a physical place to turn their ideas and dreams into reality,” Braisted said.

Mayor Megan Barry also wants to embrace diversity, inclusion, and equity. She doesn’t want to shy away from shining light on difficult, yet important topics.

“As the Mayor often says, it doesn’t matter where you come from, how you got here, or whom you love – Nashville should remain a warm and welcoming place to call home,” Braisted said.

He also reminds us of last summer when, following the nationwide officer-involved shootings, Mayor Barry held a Race, Equity, and Leadership summit bringing nearly 1,000 community members and Metro officials together to discuss areas where they could improve the community.

The Mayor also hosted a youth violence summit, bringing together more than 400 students from Nashville’s public high schools to discuss key issues and ways to proactively address them.

Stemming from this summit came Opportunity NOW, an initiative aimed at connecting youths age 14-24 with meaningful paid internships or jobs over the summer break. This is a private-public partnership, and the goal is to employ 10,000 youth in 2017. Businesses and nonprofits around the city are being asked to step up to be a part of Opportunity NOW. One of the first companies to sign on was HCA, which donated $250,000 to fund 100 internships.

Another driving force in Mayor Megan Barry’s plan to continue Nashville’s growth is nMotion, a $6 billion, 25-year strategic plan for mass transit. She is developing nMotion so Nashville can join other major cities that have a “robust transit system.” This project is currently working to establish long term funding streams.

At a time when Nashville is quickly growing in both popularity and population, we are all fortunate to have such a goal-oriented leadership team in our local government.

What are your growth plans for yourself, your company, and Nashville in 2017?

The changing attitudes of consumerism in healthcare with Mark Lee Taylor

By Chuck Bryant, Relationary Marketing | 1.4.17

Healthcare in Nashville is a billion-dollar industry, but not all of what drives consumers’ medical decisions is based on what happens on the operating table or in the physician’s office.

With more than 20 years under his belt, Mark Lee Taylor knows a thing or two about how to inform and advertise to those looking for care for themselves or their loved ones.

Taylor is the Director of Communications for the Clinical Services Group at HCA, where he develops new and innovating ways to connect with consumers in the healthcare sector. He will be moderating a panel on how to navigate the shift toward consumerism in healthcare marketing at NAMA’s Power Lunch on Thursday, Jan. 12, at City Winery.

According to Taylor, many people see healthcare as a consumerist service or product until they or a loved one need healthcare, at which point it becomes a vital need. This urgency sets healthcare apart from most other industries in which major decisions can be postponed or researched over time.

That’s where healthcare marketing comes in – providing information as immediately and seamlessly as possible, while also minimizing negative experiences and impact, Taylor explained.

“People have to look at a lot of information fast and have to find a lot of answers fast. The marketer that can provide the easiest pathway to give them information and solve their problem really has the upper hand,” Taylor said.

Having worked as a healthcare marketing pioneer in the ‘90s with St. Thomas Heart Institute, Taylor has noticed a significant shift in both the focus of the industry and its consumers in just a couple of decades.

“A lot of the advertising campaigns for hospitals were centered around caring and how much the hospitals provided care, what great care they provided. It focused on advertising and community outreach more than any other marketing technique. Things have certainly changed since then,” Taylor said.

Today, he said, there is an inherent expectation that there is caring in the service industry, so people are more interested in good outcomes and cost transparency. Taylor believes that easy access to healthcare information – both true and false – has contributed to this shift.

“There’s so much more information available than there was previously. Before that, you had to rely on a physician or someone else or word of mouth to find out what you wanted. Back when we were doing advertising for healthcare systems, we were just trying to get people to indicate that they wanted to make a choice about where they went,” Taylor said.

Today’s healthcare consumers not only have more of a choice in where they seek care, but they are also “savvier” consumers with a higher service expectation, Taylor continued. Whereas patients might previously have been willing to wait two hours at a physician’s office, consumers today place emphasis on access and convenience in each step of their healthcare process

“There’s a lot of internal resistance in healthcare to refer to patients as consumers, and I think that point has finally hit the tipping point where people understand ‘Oh, they’re patients and consumers. Consumers have choices and are not going to blindly go where they’re sent.’”

Looking toward the future of healthcare marketing, Taylor said that big focuses will be on implementation of service standards in the physician’s offices and quick, convenient means of response between health care services and consumers.

“There’s two ways of looking at anything, and life’s all about how you look at it. In this case, it’s a really exciting time to be in healthcare. We’re going to need creative, innovative ideas more than ever. And who is it that comes up with those things in America? It’s marketers,” he said.

Connect with Taylor on LinkedIn.

On Jan. 12, Taylor will moderate How Consumerism is Affecting Healthcare Marketing alongside SmileDirectClub’s Hal Hassall, Nicole Provonchee of MissionPoint Health, and Celina Burns, consultant to Healthcare Blue Book at the NAMA Power Lunch at City Winery. Register now.  

Editor’s Note: The NAMA Power Lunch podcast is a production of Relationary Marketing in partnership with the Nashville American Marketing Association. This episode was produced by Chuck Bryant and host Clark Buckner, edited and mixed by Jess Grommet, with music by Zachary D. Noblitt.


chuck-bryant
Chuck Bryant is co-founder and CEO of Relationary Marketing, a podcast production agency that creates broadcast-quality interviews for rich content marketing, event promotion, relationship nurturing and thought leadership.

10 Steps to Create Successful Mobile Apps for Your Organization

By Sanjay Pathak, Guest Blogger

 

Vector Sphere made from a Application Icons. Abstract Design Object. Isolated on White Background.

Welcome to the app world.

While an online presence is still mandatory to be relevant in business, the landscape of how information is accessed – and how commerce is conducted online – has changed.

 

The desktop browser is no longer a leader; mobile devices are taking over. Most enterprises have at least one App that provides information or transaction capabilities to their customers. And some companies (e.g. Uber) are solely focused on mobile devices.

It is an App world.

As a marketer, understanding how to create a successful mobile app is important to its ROI.  Whether you are building an App for your external customer or internal users, following these 10 App development best practices will not only provide productivity improvements but also provide greater user experience and adoptions – all resulting in greater success for your business.

  1. Identify Your Audience Characteristics
    These include age, geography, current relationship to your business and control over your audience.  These will affect the complexity of functionalities, need to include geo-diversity.
  1. Select Device/Platform
    Identify which devices and platforms you will be supporting.  If devices are supplied by the organization, focusing on limited device platforms will simplify the process.  For external audiences, you should review your audience and consider limiting the type of devices platforms you support (e.g. iOS and Android).
  1. Select App Architecture
    Identify your App architecture to balance between best user experience and fast time to market. A native app provides richer experience but takes extra effort. Whereas non-native Apps can be developed relatively quickly and provide to time to market advantage.
  1. Select App Form Factor
    Consider what size of mobile device that your users will be bringing. App design will be simpler if you can control the device size. Otherwise your App will need to respond to varying degree of device sizes and that can take a little longer to develop.
  1. Select Mobile App Deployment Model
    Most Apps require back-end business logic, data storage, and integration with other systems. This code and databases have to be deployed somewhere. Choices include:
    Dedicated hosting – useful when security is paramount or utilization is expected to be high 24/7
    Shared hosting – less expensive, adequate performance, and security for most
    Cloud deployment – similar to shared hosting but more cost effective with enhanced performance. A virtual private cloud can provide improved security.
  1. Plan for Signal Strength
    Mobile device network connectivity is more than on or off.  Weak signal or high signal to noise ratio and unpredictable network disconnects must also be considered to ensure good user experience.  For external audiences, use the 80/20 rule – plan for 80% coverage unless your App is mission critical.
  1. Leverage What Is Already Out There
    Avoid duplicating the functionalities of existing social Apps (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.).  When possible, consider integration instead.
  1. Leverage New Mobile Platform Capabilities
    Device-embedded features (camera, location services, compass, etc.) provide data you can use to enhance your App productivity and user experience. Wearables, IoTs, iBeacon, and similar devices can provide additional data either directly or via cloud interfaces to enhance user experience with your App’s functions.
  1. Decide on Tools and Technology
    This is the easy part. Leverage what you already have and choose the tools and technologies that you, your architect, and your developers are comfortable using. That’s right – there is no best set of tools.
  1. Define App Distribution Strategy
    Your App needs to go to your customers’ hands. The major ways for App distribution are:
    Web link on a managed web page – most well-suited for internal audiences. This does not allow for automatic updates, but gives you better control of your audience.
    Public App store (Apple, Google Play, etc) – best for B2C customers. It provides a better downloading, installation and upgrading experience.
    Enterprise App store (i.e. Apperian, Mass 360, Appaloosa) – recommended for B2B audiences. This provides good App upgrades and secure distribution.

As more organizations adopt the power of mobile computing to improve productivity, following mobile App development best practices will enhance user delight with the Apps and help businesses achieve greater success.

 

sanjay-pathak

Sanjay Pathak, PhD, is a Master Practitioner and Sr. Manager at The North Highland Company, a global consulting firm that has changed the model of how a consultancy serves its clients.

Three Holiday Marketing Campaigns to Bring in the New Year

By Jordan Watkins, Guest Blogger

For many, the holidays are an exciting time of the year spent with family while retelling old stories and making new memories.

It is also an exciting time of year for the marketing industry as new and unique holiday marketing campaigns are launched and become popular topics of conversation among consumers.

Familiarize yourself with three of this year’s most popular campaigns that make perfect conversation starters at family gatherings or a New Year’s Eve party.

#RedCupContest – Starbucks Holiday Red Cups
Some of this year’s holiday marketing campaigns uniquely depended on consumer involvement in ways that deserve recognition.

One in particular is the annual Starbucks Holiday Red Cups campaign. These red cups have been an iconic symbol of the holidays since Starbucks first introduced them in 1997. After all, warm festive drinks are an important part of getting in the holiday spirit!

This year, Starbucks lovers everywhere were encouraged to post their own holiday red cup designs to social media using the hashtag #redcupcontest. Thirteen submissions from six different countries were chosen to be used as the designs for this year’s cups.

NAMA Blogger Chelsea Kallman accurately describes this year’s Starbucks holiday marketing campaign as one which “evokes emotions and promotes sharing by making everything personal.” Read Kallman’s article, How Starbucks Nails (Holiday) Marketing – and how to implement it in your brand that delves deeper into this campaign.

#BusterTheBoxer – John Lewis
As the holiday season began, the European department store John Lewis launched an unforgettable holiday marketing campaign involving a trampoline and “Buster the Boxer,” the featured family’s dog.

On Christmas morning, the family’s daughter, Summer, is not the only one who gets her wish. Buster beats her outside for a long-awaited turn on the new trampoline.

John Lewis has turned “Buster the Boxer” into a brand of its own.

An entire section of the John Lewis website is dedicated to the buzzworthy pup where you can purchase plush toy versions of Buster and other themed merchandise. In the spirit of giving, the department store announced that ten percent of its proceeds from Buster the Boxer merchandise sales will be donated to The Wildlife Trusts charity.

Moreover, John Lewis didn’t stop there. In addition to heavily promoting the hashtag #BusterTheBoxer across social media platforms, a 360-degree interactive video experience is available to view online and is compatible with your Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset. The company even made custom Snapchat filters available for fans to download.

Although past holiday marketing campaigns from John Lewis have been impressive, the company took this year’s campaign to an entirely new level. Watch the full John Lewis Christmas Advert 2016 – #BusterTheBoxer.

#Barbour Christmas – Barbour’s tribute to Raymond Briggs
The Raymond Briggs children’s tale The Snowman holds an important place in many consumers’ childhood Christmas memories. Over the years, both an animated television special of the original tale and an animated sequel titled The Snowman and the Snowdog have been produced.

This holiday season, Barbour teamed up with Lupus Films to produce a tribute to the classic tales. The advertisement aims to appeal nostalgically to viewers who remember the tales fondly, and features all three characters from the Briggs tales.

The tributary advertisement frames the brand in the same timeless light with the concluding campaign slogan: ‘gifts they’ll remember.’

Barbour launched an email marketing campaign encouraging consumers to nominate and share why they felt a certain loved one deserved to win a gift from Barbour.

Not only did Barbour launch a uniquely nostalgic holiday marketing campaign, but they also incorporated the consumer – leveraging a personal touch to the campaign. Watch Barbour’s tributary holiday advertisement.

Strike up a conversation about one of these three holiday marketing campaigns of 2016 with your family, coworkers, or friends to kick off the new year. Who doesn’t love an adorably heartwarming video in which a group of animals jumps on a trampoline?!

 

jordan-watkins

Jordan Watkins is a recent graduate of Sewanee, The University of the South, and serves as an Associate Project Manager with Mailer’s Choice.