Atata might just be your Huckleberry

By Emma Everett, Guest Blogger | 7.25.17

Tombstone

I’m Your Huckleberry

Remember that line from the movie, “Tombstone?”  Doc Holiday catches up with nefarious Ringo and delivers one of the most quoted lines in Western movie history. And, just in case you didn’t see the movie or understand what Doc is talking about, Doc is basically saying, “When I shoot– I don’t miss.”

In Nashville’s wild west of product and software development companies, there’s a new gunslinger in town. (Did I go too far with the western analogy?)

Atata is now on the scene and they just might be your Huckleberry. How will you know? You might start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • Do I need a rapid prototype or MVP developed?
  • Do I need wireframes for a new app I’m creating?
  • Do I need a software product fully developed from UX to product road-mapping?
  • Do I need a software expert(s) to come in and help me accelerate my build or help me get through a pinch?

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then there’s a good chance Atata is your huckleberry.

Don’t worry, though.  We’re not going to oversell you or take on a project unless we’re confident we will hit a bullseye. If you’re looking for a general how-to guide on how to go about hiring a software development company, there are some great resources out there. And, rather than reinvent the wheel, we’ll simply share our favorite one with you.

So, how is Atata the same/different from the other “gunslingers” in town?

  • 100% Nashville talent
  • Senior level team
  • Transparency
  • Flexibility to pivot and meet a unique need

Atata’s core services include:

  • Project-based application development
  • Product development
  • UX/UI
  • Data science (i.e. machine learning, predictive modeling, natural language processing, statistical analysis)
  • Staff Augmentation

Since Atata is a young company, we’re interested in hearing from you about your needs when it comes to application builds and software development.  Drop us a line either through our website or by emailing emma.everett@atata.co.  More information can be found at atata.co.

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.

 

Nossi College of Art launches new UX/UI Design program

By Libby Funke, Guest Blogger | 5.24.17

Improving one’s professional development isn’t always the most exciting thing to check off your professional to do list.

Everyone has been part of team building exercises, multi-day conventions to learn the latest (insert latest thing here) or classes making you more proficient in Excel, Word, or even social media. Rarely do these opportunities leave you feeling empowered to use or share these new skills.

Nossi College of Art wants to help change how you make an impact on your career.

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Starting in the fall, Nossi College will offer a 16-week UX/UI Design certificate to help marketers, business owners, executives, and those looking to dip their toes into a new career field, find useful skillsets that can be transferred to the professional world.

UX/UI Design is in high demand, not only in Middle Tennessee, but also across the country. More companies are asking new hires to have knowledge in the tech arena, specifically around web development and design.

With hundreds of thousands of vacant jobs in the tech field, and an average salary of $90,000*, Nossi College saw this need when creating our Bachelor and Associate Web and Interactive degrees. Because of this need, we began researching and created a perceptive, 16-week UX/UI Design certificate course.

Whether you are a complete beginner, you have been dabbling with code and want to become more efficient, or you are proficient and want to learn about theories behind your design, this 16-week course was made for you.

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You will have an opportunity to learn Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator skills on top of web design skills and by the time you have completed the certification, you can take measurable skills back to your job or you can start thinking about changing your path altogether.

Nossi College is also offering NAMA members an exclusive scholarship opportunity for half off tuition.

Interested in that scholarship opportunity? Simply sign up here for your chance to be considered.

During the certificate program, the NAMA scholarship winner will post to social media periodically, create blogs about their experience and give a testimonial at the end of the program.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Libby Funke with Nossi College. Call her at 615.514.2787 or email her at LFunke@nossi.edu.

 

*According to a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The New Era of Social Media: Private Messaging is The Next Frontier

By Tiffany Pack, Guest Blogger | 4.3.17

At their inception, traditional social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter gained wild, immediate popularity.

Why? Because they tapped into the basic human need to connect with other people and redefined how we do so.

Its spontaneity, with few controls and freedom from the intrusion of advertising we didn’t choose to see, spawned a second wave of social media channels such as Vine, Pinterest, and Instagram.

But, as with any new medium, platform owners and businesses began to lose sight of users and what drew them to social media in the first place. Users began to seek newer, more private messaging apps, hence the advent of Snapchat, Kik, and Facebook Messenger.

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As a result, we are experiencing a shift, or rebalancing, of the social landscape that effectively serves the platforms and brands that are present on them, along with the users themselves.

Messaging apps are evolving quickly. As Facebook, Microsoft and Apple continue to innovate in this space, we are in an era of change unlike any experienced since Apple introduced the iOS platform in 2008.

The Rise of Private Messaging Platforms

As evidenced by Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 million in 2014 and its more recent unsuccessful bid to buy Snapchat for $3 billion in cash – and Snapchat’s recent IPO with a $33 billion market capitalization – private messaging is the next wave of social.

Last year, the number of monthly users of these messaging apps surpassed the number of monthly active users on traditional social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This exciting shift highlights what made social media so appealing to users initially: the ability for humans to connect with other humans authentically – free from control and brand messaging being imposed upon them. 

What does that mean for brands?

Now, reconnecting with users on these new messaging social media platforms is entirely possible and should be part of any complete marketing strategy.

Consider these features that users, brands and the platforms can find mutually beneficial:

Human Needs                Messaging Apps                   Social/Business Needs
Authentic platform           Pull vs. push ads                  Marketing
Fun/Spontaneous            One to close friends             Mobile
Simple/Convenient          Ease and convenience         Ads/sweeps
Unobtrusive ads              Privacy                                 Data-driven

For example, on Snapchat, brands can purchase lenses to help promote their products. For sponsorship fees of $450,000-$750,000, brands can reach a potential audience of more than 100 million daily users age 13-34, which is what X-Men: Apocalypse did effectively to support its release.

Facebook Messenger App uses AI bot assistants that enable users to purchase directly from 1-800-Flowers and Urban Outfitters without leaving the app.

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Simple, user-friendly SMS interfaces let customers engage and purchase without having to navigate multiple apps. And, Facebook earns transaction fees from the brands providing measurable results.

The implication for brands is simple: private messaging is the new frontier and you should be there now.

 

Tiffany Pack
Tiffany Pack is director of strategy for Sparks Grove, a division of North Highland.

 

Still Fed Up With Millennials? Get Over It.

By Jordan Watkins, NAMA Blogger | 4.1.17

Gone are the days when a singular marketing approach was all that was needed.

Today’s marketing campaigns must be able to effectively target more than just a singular audience, generation, or demographic.

It’s true, a loyal customer is more valuable and affordable to target than a potential one. However, today’s marketers must not only take into consideration their current loyalties, but also audiences from which future brand loyal individuals can be gained.

Such audiences are largely made up of 18-34 year olds. You may know them better as millennials.

Unfortunately, the title often implies a rather negative stigma characterizing these youngsters as some of society’s rudest, most overly-opinionated, and annoyingly-entitled individuals.

millennial

While this may be true to some degree, it is not an entirely accurate definition.

This generation was raised to believe they could become and do anything. As such, they are a generation of ambitious youngsters who harbor a plethoric sense of optimism. They are profusely motivated, overwhelmingly tech tech-savvy, and very well-educated.

Though they may be young, it can no longer be argued that millennials lack the spending power possessed by Baby Boomers and Generation X. Having been employed within the work force for some time now, such an argument is simply no longer true.

Based on information gathered from research done by the Center for Financial Services, Jim Higgins explains how millennials currently earn a collective total of roughly $214 billion annually and are expected to make roughly $3.4 trillion annually by 2018.

In his words, this means that millennial earnings will effectively, “eclipse the earnings of Baby Boomers, who are expected to have an annual income of $2.8 trillion at that time.”

Unfortunately, millennials are not nearly as brand loyal as their parents – and changing that is no easy task.

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Effectively marketing to these youngsters is an entirely different ballgame from days of old. They boast a rather inconvenient average attention span of roughly eight seconds or less. As such, your window for catching their attention and making a memorable impression is shorter than the average Snapchat story.

The only world millennials have ever known is one dependent on technology. A world in which a computer in the home, the school, and every family member’s hand (including their own) has always been the norm.

From day one, these youngsters have not only made personal connections with their closest friends and neighbors, but connections that span across the nation, and even globally.

Their very existence and entire way of communication depends greatly on social media – where popularity is not only dependent on the clothes worn on their first day of school, but also on the restaurants and stores where they check in, and the brands they review and mention in their posts.

With millennials as the target audience, traditional marketing strategies are a waste of time. Instead, millennials want to be impressed. They expect interactively-tailored advertisements boasting content that speaks to an individual’s personality, like “What do your jeans say about you? Everything! Take the quiz to find your perfect style and save 30%”.

As marketers we must befriend this younger demographic. Let’s engage them by getting personal and tell our brand’s story through a cleverly-built social media presence that speaks directly to millennials on a personal level.

You don’t have to like them. But you do need them. They are not only today’s largest and most diverse consumer demographic, they are also the key to the future success of your brand.

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.

Volunteer Spotlight: Austin Harrison

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Austin Harrison
Relationship Director, Identity Visuals
NAMA Board Member, Sponsorship Chair

What prompted you to join NAMA?
I started coming to NAMA events shortly after moving to Nashville. My boss recommended it as a great place to learn about the Nashville marketing community.

You currently serve (or have served) on NAMA’s Board. Why did you decide to volunteer?
About four years ago – when I first started at my role for Identity Visuals – I literally had no idea what I was doing and knew no one. So many people helped me that first year, taking me to coffee, giving me advice, connecting me with people, and inviting me to events like NAMA. Joining the board and endeavoring to do the same things for other new Nashvillians is one of the ways I’ve tried to pay it forward.

What has been (or was) your proudest moment in this role?
Helping to start the NAMA Podcast and negotiating that sponsorship was definitely one of the highlights. Clark and Chuck at Relationary have been amazing to work with, and it was a blast helping to kick that off.

How has NAMA impacted you professionally?
I’ve learned from the brightest Nashville (and sometimes other cities) has to offer, I’ve made lifetime friends, I’ve been able to help new people to town, and I’ve made great relationships that have resulted in working together. NAMA also was a huge part of making my first conference, the Mental Health Marketing Conference, successful last May.

What differentiates NAMA from other groups?
The quality of events, the welcoming nature, and the people.

Can you share a memorable experience from your career thus far?
Seeing our small studio grow over the last four years to work with clients like CBS, Reddit, and Amazon. That and the time I got to tour the NASA Goddard Space station with the NASA animation team and see the James Webb Space Telescope in person – that was pretty cool.

Why would you encourage others to join and volunteer with NAMA?
You will not find a better opportunity in the marketing community to learn, build relationships, and give back than NAMA.

[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.

Why going ‘Glocal’ with your Social Media Marketing is an undeniable necessity

By Jordan Watkins, NAMA Blogger | 2.22.17

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even Snapchat are no longer simply means of staying in touch with friends. A carefully-tailored online presence across various social media platforms is now essential to any successful marketing campaign or branding strategy.

Establishing a social media presence gives your brand a humanly-relatable personality to which users feel they can connect with in the same ways as they do their closest friends. In his article, “The Top 10 Benefits of Social Media Marketing,” Jayson Demers discusses the specifics of how social media marketing leads to increased brand recognition, increased inbound traffic, improved brand loyalty, and better search engine rankings.

In his words, “social media is a place where brands can act like people do…people like doing business with other people; not with companies.”

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Last fall, Pew Research Center published its Social Media Update 2016, in which the group states that 86 percent of Americans are Internet users. According to the update, that means 8-in-10 Americans – or 68 percent of all adults in the U.S. – are Facebook users.

Without even taking into consideration global statistics, it’s clear that social media marketing is an undeniable necessity. However, the geographical impact of it is by no means limited to the United States or to any locally-based audience for that matter.

Social media provides marketers with an outlet through which to directly communicate with audiences located in various geographical locations.

These user-based platforms are designed to operate beneath the surface of cultural and societal differences. However, such platforms alone are not enough for a brand’s social media presence to effectively resonate with culturally diverse audiences.

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Despite the growing popularity of a mindset focused on a homogenous global identity, society, and culture, societies of the world still function as separately-governed entities that each have uniquely different cultures. This diversity presents a number of challenges that are most effectively addressed by adapting what is popularly known as the “glocal” approach.

The term itself is derived from the concept of “glocalization.”

In his work The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Thomas Friedman defines glocalization as, “the ability of a culture, when it encounters other strong cultures, to absorb influences that naturally fit into and can enrich that culture, to resist those things that are truly alien and compartmentalize those things that, while different, can nevertheless be enjoyed and celebrated as different.”

For this reason, the glocal approach is derived from this same concept.

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In “Achieving ‘Glocal’ Success,” authors Michael Czinkota and Ilkka Ronkainen describe it as an approach that “provides clear global strategic direction along with the flexibility to adapt to local opportunities and requirements.”

In short, a glocal social media marketing strategy establishes a global social media presence while focusing a brand’s marketing efforts on resonating with locally diverse audiences.

Facebook’s Global Pages is an ideal platform through which to execute glocalized social media marketing. While not appropriate for every brand, it is ideal for those with an already established global footprint.

Through one URL, Global Pages allows a brand to maintain a singular global presence that is applicable to all culturally diverse audiences. Based on a user’s geographical location and set language preferences, they are automatically directed to one of the brands pages. There, the user can view, share, and interact with content specifically generated to correspond with the locally present cultural and societal differences.

This platform is just one example of the many effective methods of implementing a glocal social media marketing strategy. Once a brand has adapted a glocally-organized social media marketing approach, it has the ability to effectively market to any number of audiences globally.

Whether locally-focused or globally established, implementing a social media marketing strategy is undeniably beneficial to any brand’s marketing success.

If you haven’t yet, take a leaf from the books of today’s youngest generations to whom social media is seemingly necessary for survival. What are you waiting for? Your brand has a unique personality and social media is waiting to help you tell the world its story.