Sunday, December 30, 2007

After Watching Some TV Today...

I watched some news shows this morning and later in the day some football. After this unusually large amount of TV viewing today I walked away understanding a few things...
1. If I were to ever take either Cialis or Viagra the amount of side effects far outnumber the benefits - and large amounts of alcohol should not be consumed prior to ingesting these pills - LOL
2. The NFL is still extremely fun to watch - even on little TVs
3. Most of the commercials I saw were for either cars, car dealerships or prescription drugs - I am not in the market for any of these
4. If I was in the market for a car I sure as hell would not visit any dealership I saw advertised on TV today - in fact I think those ridiculous ads have the opposite effect
5. I usually enjoy CBS Sunday morning, but it really stunk today
6. Large amounts of alcohol should be consumed prior to watching Cleo Lemon play quarterback

Albert Einstein

I was in the bookstore today and read a quote by Albert Einstein that I thought was, go figure, genius.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

I guess without one the other can become very stagnant.

Is Relevance Really Even This Day and Age

It has been awhile since I have mentioned relevance. I was reviewing my blog, it's description and it's position as I occasionally do. Sometimes I change a few things because I feel like over time my own personal views change as I learn more - or experience something that leaves an impression or causes a change in thinking.

Something that has not changed are my feelings on how delivering content that your audience truly finds interesting or has a genuine connection to can benefit your organization, but most importantly benefit your audience. (i.e. Nike creating and distributing tips, recommendations and training manuals for runners that educate on points of interest way beyond what sneakers you wear).

I guess this can best be described or explained in examples, not pontification. After all, why should you believe me? I was reading a piece in this month's Wired Magazine that jarred some thoughts and brought me back to this topic.

Once you read this piece, I really do not need to say much more. I guess some folks may want to get into a debate about what media was used, is it advertising, or not, is this "new media" or "permission-based" marketing. All I can say is people always try to box up things they are not accustomed to so a label can be created that makes them feel comfortable or maybe even "relevant" but the reality is it does not matter what it is called. Frankly I think it is some mix of strategic marketing, advertising and just flat out imaginative, creative execution of a plan to produce and deliver content that is relevant to an audience through driving curiosity and promising some sort of conclusion that the audience is craving. Call it what you will - using industry jargon or not. The result was a phenomenal success at getting millions of people to interact - not passively watch - but physically and mentally interact with what the audience considered a relevant subject - or the "product." The bottom line is the "product" being pushed was done so successfully with relevant, cleverly delivered content. A side note, the article briefly mentions "I Love Bees." It was a big success too. Learn more at a couple of sites IGN and Wired.

I guess the trick is understanding your target audience well enough to understand 1. is there any type of content you can deliver that they would consider relevant and 2. if so, would it have anything to do with what you are marketing/selling? Lastly, 3. can you deliver it in a way that enhances or adds to the relevance of the brand or the brand promise; does it associate personal experience or interest with what your brand offers, motivates the audience to engage or creates a great experience that your audience will find enjoyable, fun or even something worthy of sharing with a friend? Is there any real interest? If not you are probably just producing more clutter for the masses to ignore.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Remember What Peter Drucker Said...

I am starting this entry off paraphrasing a quote by Peter Drucker, "The two primary ways to grow a business are marketing and innovation." I would add to Mr. Drucker's comments by saying that the two primary ways to grow an industry are through marketing and innovation. You may ask yourself, "How do you market an entire industry?" Well, associations can and do accomplish this or any company or groups of companies within an industry that position themselves as leaders through educating others about an industry is another way that this happens. How can an industry, as a whole, innovate? Typically it takes a major player to innovate, then the rest follow, or a new company arrives on the scene with innovation in hand, grabs up market share and then the rest follow. In both cases see Google.

I particularly enjoy the scenario of groups coming together to educate simply because it typically raises the tide for everyone in that industry that is a sincere value to the industry. There are times however, when this group "promotion" can backfire and pollute an industry through misinformation.

Recently a friend of mine attended an all day conference that was put on to help the marketplace learn more about online marketing and how to best leverage it as a way to grow business. Great idea...until my friend told me that a number of the folks
there were down talking Flash and it's role on the web. Specifically that Flash is bad for web sites because it is not compatible for organic SEO. Basically several of these "online marketers" were running flash through the ringer because of it's perceived lack of SEO friendliness. It is important to state that I was not there so I do not know how accurate this report is, but I have heard this inaccurate spew before from other "online marketers" so I thought I would take the opportunity to address it. If it was communicated, all I can say is I feel bad for attendees who may not know better because they paid to be misled,, I mean educated.

Now I am no programmer but I understand enough about Flash to know that it is like most online tools - it is versatile and can be a tremendous asset when utilized properly and can be a detriment when misused. As it relates to SEO or otherwise.

In this instance regarding Flash, its role in digital media and how it either hurts or helps SEO, I think presenters who claim Flash is a boondoggle to SEO are only about 20% correct, however I wonder if most even realize this? If so do they intentionally mislead to boost their desire to sell more SEO? In either event it is a tremendous disservice to their audience, and to the industry in general. Long term it is a detriment to themselves.

So, let's talk facts shall we?
It is a fact that Flash heavy sites are not optimal if your main goal is to run a site that is created to perform optimally in organic search. For pay per click it is a non issue.

It is also a fact that the average time spent on web sites is horrible. Less than 60 seconds for over 60% of all sites. For a large number it is considerably less. Considering the gross majority of sites are still dominated by HTML that does not bode well for you even if you are ranked high in organic search. What good is getting people to your site if the experience is so poor that they cut out 30 seconds later with a poor impression? Sorry but the fact is that your general consumer cares not about code, but about experience. An awful lot of people want an engaging experience - it is a fact - look at the consumer driving sites that actually hold users on for a decent amount of time. I am talking general consumers - critical mass, not specialized programmer users. When Flash is properly utilized in a site the stickiness of that site, traditionally, is much higher than static sites - it is a tested and proven fact. I have seen it first hand.

Flash can be incorporated into highly optimized html sites. Typically called hybrid sites. These sites not only are more flexible visually and interactively, but also succeed in organic rankings.

Flash sites can be optimized. Again, I am no programmer, but know plenty of instances and organizations that sell this capability where Flash is laid over optimized code, yielding a very successful organic placement. It is not an all or nothing proposition.

Lastly, I am a marketer, one that does not restrict good marketing research, strategy, practice, measurement or results to one very narrow tactic. In a holistic marketing approach, especially with a business that values its brand and its position in the marketplace, experience goes a long way with the customer relationship. SEO is a very small piece of the pie when it comes to a quality relationship with a customer. Is SEO valuable - of course it is when done well - but what truly offers long term value to a potential customer or a returning customer is not how high you are in Google rankings, rather a quality product or service offering and how you engage the customer based on their interest in what you have to offer. The last time I checked a high level of interactivity incorporated with a well thought out, intuitive, and properly executed user interface based on customer desire does more to KEEP your audience on your site. Flash is a superb tool, when executed well, for all of the above. For all of the folks who think Flash is counter to a great online marketing strategy, I might refer back to Peter Drucker's quote and ask them to educate themselves before misinforming others - because as far as digital content is concerned it is the present and a huge part of the future. If it wasn't I do not think Google (many of these "online marketers'" feeding trough) would be figuring out rich media ads for its AdWords program, continuously working on better ways to access and rank video and flash heavy sites, have purchased YouTube and there is a silly little rumor going around that the big G is considering giving a weighted advantage to web sites in its organic rankings that are rich media heavy - since the gross majority of rich media online is delivered through Flash, I see well executed Flash sites as the future - even in an SEO centric strategy. Looks like Google understands where Mr. Drucker is coming from. I wish others could stop the bashing long enough to understand this concept too.

Monday, December 10, 2007

New Basement Demo On Its Way

I have had the opportunity to see the some elements for the new Basement demo and it will be another sweet piece of work. It will also highlight some of the work we have done recently and showcase 3D animation composited in to a real environment. When it is done I will post it.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Basement's Own Brian Phillips Named to The Indiana University School of Informatics Media Arts and Science Advisory Board

Brian Phillips, partner at The Basement Design + Motion, a motion design and animation studio located in Indianapolis, has been named to The Indiana University School of Informatics Media Arts and Science Advisory Board.

Brian Phillips has been at the forefront of the media industry, particularly as a leader in understanding, executing and showcasing a mix of art and technology. Many markets, especially Central Indiana, have experienced his work. Brian has produced some of this market’s highest profile and most recognized digital media.

“I am honored and excited to have been invited to join The Indiana University School of Informatics Media Arts and Science Advisory Board. I have enjoyed the opportunity to teach at the school for the last couple of years and understand the value they offer their students and the marketplace. I look forward to pulling from my professional experience to help guide the school to an even bigger and brighter future." --Brian Phillips

Dr. Anthony Faiola, director, Media Arts and Science, stated, “I asked Brian Phillips to join our Advisory Board because of his passion for excellence in the media arts. He is ambitious to make Indianapolis a Media Arts center and I want that kind of visionary person to be part of our Board and part of our Program. His energy and professionalism will only add to the already collective brilliance of the Advisory Board.”

The Basement Design + Motion
is a studio that specializes in contemporary interface design, motion graphics, web delivered video, 2D and 3D animation. The Basement Design + Motion primarily partners with advertising agencies, marketing firms, public relations firms, and web development companies to fill a void in integrating contemporary interface design, high-end Flash development, motion graphics, 2D and 3D animation. The result is an effective media experience that lives and interacts through depth, motion and response.

For more information visit or call 317.352.5848.