Friday, December 30, 2011

Management and the use of design

Design as a discipline is an important link within the organization. Those organizations that succeed through winning strategies engage strong fundamentals in marketing, finance and production. Each of these three fundamental business activities ultimately will be improved through design. Design is a word that has different context’s, it seems apt that a clear set of definitions is offered so the reader can draw proper conclusions about how design can be integrated into the business model. Achieving success can be supported in a variety of ways with a commitment to design as an essential aspect of driving performance to a higher plateau.
Design as Utility
Design as a visual application brought to a standard that is representative of an organization’s identity and prepared for distribution to target audiences. This includes the traditional approach to design management and everything that falls from that management discipline. Design traditionally has been used within organizations to effectively communicate to both internal and external audiences through a suite of marketing tools. A finely tuned organization will make an investment that ensures their expression through design is unique and differentiates from the competition.
A consideration to standardizing all design outreach with an approach that is original and cuts through to the organizations key constituents and audience’s is fundamental to effective design. Design is leveraged by the organization through a commitment to raising the utility of communications products based on strong design standards. Design as a utilitarian function is a baseline requirement for remaining competitive today.
Design as Ideology
Design as ideology within an organization introduces greater emphasis then design as utility. Ideology generally is set from the organization leadership and is extended throughout the organization as a central focus rather then departmentalized or delegated to a lower level. Generally organizations that embrace design have buy in among all levels. Everything the organization stands for including its legacy to present day milestones support the organization position with design as central to those accomplishments. Organizations that adopt ideology based on design will also engage leading design management principles to ensure their offering meets exceptionally high standards supported by their unique suite of communications tools and related outreach products. A core construct of the organizations identity though is based on design as a competitive position. Design ideology is seen as a character attribute or part of the organizations ethos with design integrated as a focal point of any offering or experience along the customer journey.
Design as Access
A clear difference in design exists between design for esthetic value and design that is based on making information accessible or meaningful. These two thoughts are not mutually exclusive for successful design and combining the two will maximize designs effectiveness. Critical thinking about how to achieve pathways to understanding and structure information in ways that reduce uncertainty or complexities that limit anxiety for the audience is an important function of design. Moreover, design that is developed for accessibility has many benefits for society. Access will support higher levels of learning and knowledge for improved understanding. Design for access ensures the reader a meaningful experience that raises the design value especially in an digital era with people becoming highly attuned to governing their personal level of information based on the need to filter vast amounts of content daily. Designers play a vital role toward offering solutions according to those preferences, solutions based on making complex content easy to understand and designing for audiences in such a way that demonstrates empathy.
Design Thinking
Design thinking is a management procedure and logic applied to the development of original ideas and innovation. A process based management construct that has gained considerable attention among academia and the business world alike. Management today is seeking to innovate and compete. Organizations continue to rely on traditional management methods based on reliable practices or the science of management. Design Thinking offers additional methods in support of improved organization practices. Design Thinking management provides a method for creation of a better road map forward in support of original ideas and innovation. The design thinking procedure places emphasis on the traditional steps and tactics designers implement to achieve outcomes and connect the dots that are generally considered original, innovative and out of the box. Design Thinking can be defined as a distinctly new management framework, evolved from the practice of design utility. Design thinking as a management process coopts all the related techniques and innovations underlying the traditional design practice in turn design thinking offers those within organizations a way forward to support growth and innovation.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Money versus Nature

Since reading about Indigenous people I have gained some appreciation about how evolution has occurred along different paths specifically for those with origins out of Europe compared to those who've been here on the continent centuries before new comers arrived. Early contact between two different societies, date stamped just over five centuries ago provides a rich chronology about two distinct cultures and how their relations evolved. Aboriginal societies offer us thinking and insight about balance and preservation which for them is a covenant about survival compared to the present day march we've embraced globally, a march that is headed toward uncertain times.

Today, I turned on a movie called HOME. Free on youtube by clicking the link, this corporate sponsored production is a very provocative hour and thirty three minutes about the earths bio sphere. This film brings a new definition to the concept of carbon footprint.

Jane Goodall who was featured on the movie WISDOM is the Anthropologist famous for her work among Chimpanzee’s, she hits a chord with me specifically when she describes indigenous peoples approach to stewarding the land and ensuring that the harvest of bush food is just enough so what remained would be plentiful and meet the needs for seven generations into the future. 

That point of view compared to the motives of industry and the need to drive the bottom line prior to the next shareholders meeting or the need to harvest from the bush to make a quick dollar based on the preference for game versus domestic foods in specific regions. She describes the plight of animals in Africa and other realities about expansion into lands with roads and clear cutting which have made animal habitats far more accessible putting species at risk under threat of human encroachment and exploitation, including anything that moves larger then a squirrel.

The polarity between cultures of the world is evident and has been so throughout the ages. Moreover, human kinds written catalogues and texts describe the evolution with rich chronology about colonialism, imperialism, power and mercantilism to name a few descriptors about culture and societies methods of engagement together for better or worse.

Money remains the principle driver in the commodification of natural world elements.
We place a price on wood, minerals, water and other resources, wild animals and fish that are not man made or that have evolved from the universe through the phenomena of life.

This reality has run a course to present day and is cause for some reflection as we continue to exhaust or deplete natural worlds stocks, further choking the global environments vitality.

A tipping point will occur which will force a more moderate balance, a balance about how we use natural worlds resources and how we bring stewardship levels toward preservation and balanced standards, this as a way forward in support of future generations. Counter measures are needed today to reduce and preserve. Counter measures that come forward to reduce or stop the depletion of natural species or resources, these measures would perhaps force society to resort to other methods of sustaining economic balance.

How the current trends are expected to sustain the thirst for 7 Billion humans and growing does put priority on nations and their future outlook. When will the narrative engage among those of influence about how society reverse the march and begin to learn from indigenous thinking about balance and sharing for future generations? 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

gordongroup wins gold for development of lifestyle brand within the real estate sector.

A winning Residential Lifestyle Brand was introduced to the Ottawa market earlier this year from Ashcroft Homes. gordongroup along with stakeholder participants won an International Davey award for the Condominium community Q West. 

The Giants Behind the Davey

The Davey Awards may be for smaller organizations, but the judges have big reputations. The Davey is sanctioned and judged by the International Academy of the Visual Arts, an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from a "Who's Who" of acclaimed media, advertising, and marketing firms. IAVA members include executives from organizations such as Condè Nast, Michael Kors Inc., Disney, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Microsoft, HBO,, MTV, Polo Ralph Lauren, Sotheby's Institute of Art, Victoria's Secret, Howcast and many more.

You can watch the video here :

Plastic Industry Brand Building

This video was produced and directed in conjunction with our great friend and expert Chris Mullington

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Renewal of Client Engagements is Vital to Business Success

An important aspect of new business year after year is the parallel responsibility of effective customer care, while bringing together all the key skills in support of design of the product and brand building. Both aspects of client engagement have equal importance and become core to delivering the highest standard of performance.

Using design-thinking terminology, one can look at extreme users to define the client profile. Extreme users are two opposite ends of a profile or cross section of a community with a median. From the point of view of twenty-five years in business, gordongroup has had the benefit of working with many clients across the spectrum. Our experience extends to Federal Departments, Small and Medium sized businesses, Non Governmental Organizations, Private sector Enterprise, Universities, Developers, Embassies and Mom and Pop organizations; a few examples demonstrate the nature of our client groups.

As a multi-disciplinary company, we place core focus on customer care. Our project management includes customer relations and responsive frontline support. Moreover, clients have full access to specific expertise at any time during the project term. In many cases our Creative Director, Digital Director and Writing Leads including Direct-marketing representatives are full participants and perform an integral role at the table, in the interest of getting the best possible outcomes on behalf of our clients.

An important fact about the practical business of producing stellar brand solutions is the support offered under our customer care management. 

Customer care must take into account the diverse organizational nature and management structure of different client groups.  The client has an obligation to be transparent with both their internal and external organization membership, an extension of these groups includes partner stakeholders who may perform a central role influencing the client organizations success. Stakeholders may include governance bodies, trade organizations, volunteers and many others who are willing to make contributions supporting the client outreach and brand building. Customer care managed properly ensures brand building is streamlined and inclusive.

Larger administrations rely on gordongroup to put bridges in place to ensure all participants, to the degree possible take part and contribute toward the client project mandate. Collaboration brings greater opportunity, with ideas or innovation that will maximize results.

Bringing people together, moving beyond “buy in” and ensuring meaningful contribution is a core role gordongroup performs. Research proves that a collective approach or working together among disparate teams or across organization locations, disciplines or hierarchies leads to the best possible outcomes. 

High Performance Team: This is a group that meets all the conditions of real teams, and has members who are also deeply committed to each other's personal growth and success. That commitment usually transcends the team. The high performance team significantly outperforms all other like teams, and outperforms all reasonable expectations given its membership.
(Jon R. Katzenbach, 1992)

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
Henry Ford (American industrialist, 1863-1947) 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

World of Stock Supplied By Francesco Santalucia

a guest post...

When I started my career 25 years ago I entered a market with no internet. E-mail was just beginning. I mainly worked for advertising agencies and book publishers creating traditional finished art. I illustrated painting with a brush and airbrush on cardboard that needed to be peeled off the cardboard back and then wrapped to a scanner cylinder for printing. 

My clients were finding me because I advertised in design books and I would book face to face meetings with local art directors in Montreal and My art agent in New York. The illustration and design business was booming then. But I remember there were artists complaining then that things were not the same as they used to be.

Enter the Internet. Nobody saw this one coming. It was like a giant came by and kicked the creative content ant hill. 

One thing is for sure it is not a fad. It is not going away it is growing at exponential speed and evolving just as fast. Where it is going is impossible to predict but one thing is for sure it will be incredible. The Internet is like nature it will kill anything that does not adapt to its system and it will reward anything that takes advantage of its qualities.

Digital content today is still booming but how it is monetized is drastically changing. 

Example music industry artists today do not make most of their money selling content but have to tour to make a living. The content they produce helps market and increase their touring income. Music artists have been forced to change their business model because of the Internet.

Retail stores are now seeing their sales decline because of online purchases through online retailers like Amazon. Bookstores are going on the same road as the music stores went through. Album to cd, to digital download no brick and mortar store needed. Paper Book to e-book no brick and mortar store needed.

When was the last time you rented a movie at Block Busters? Netflix soaring
Day old Newspapers or to "up to the second" online news

See the pattern?

In order to adapt to the new Internet age. How did I change my business model?

When parts of my traditional business slowed down. Instead of fear about losing past success I had excitement for the future opportunities ahead. In essence I needed to become a creative entrepreneur.

I completely retooled my studio. Transferring my traditional design skills to new digital tools and applications. I researched a bunch of new online revenue streams. And licensing content was the thing that was the most intriguing to me because I could create anything I wanted whenever I chose and then upload it to websites that sell print on demand or stock or go talk to companies directly and speak to the decision makers on how my designs on their products can improve their profits.

 I would literally walk into a retail store pick up a product that had horrible looking package or art and I would contact the company find the decision maker and present my thoughts on how we could work together. And the amazing thing is finding clients this way has enabled me to create long-term business relationships.

Imagine a business model were you decide on how much you will earn. You create content whether it is an e-book, design, illustration, photography, movie, music etc and you sell a license fee for anybody that would like to use your art. Creating a large network of small revenue streams you will end up with an ocean that pays you dividends in perpetuity.

Somebody once said “there are people who complain about the wind and others who build sail boats.” 

I have made my choice.

Francesco Santalucia
Santalucia Art Inc.
gordongroup Montreal office

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What's the idea behind Design Thinking?

Reliable vs Validation

Design thinking has been put forward as a counter measure to lack of competitiveness and eroding domestic markets. Management theorists have suggested that designers use less scientific models to achieve outcomes or that designers base their choices on more intuitive factors. They attempt trial or pilot projects and experimentation. They take risks that may involve exploration into new areas toward validation of opportunity and innovation. Design Thinking challenges those within organization to approach management with a perspective that weighs reliable factors next to validation factors. Competitive organizations will continue to measure their market position and performance against reliable frameworks. This process will continue to benchmark organization legacy. The challenge for organizations though is to break away from repetitive systems that have not led into more innovative outcomes. Organizations it is suggested must change the lens to future opportunities. The notion of design thinking specifically validation places into context emphasis on taking risk, gaining insight from those who are on the ground and allocating resources in areas that may lead to break through in areas completely unexpected or uncovered.

The logic can be applied in many areas including municipal projects working toward better methods for recycling, educational practices or resource management. The thinking and strategy can go to the core of what may be a destabilizing issue within a society such as poor retention and drop out rates in schooling or drug and alcohol abuse.

IDEO has prepared the document Human Centered Design to offer a framework specifically for people in developing countries. The steps outlined are consistent with how design has been implemented to achieve innovation, engage stakeholders in the process and ultimately gain consensus to get to validation of a positive outcome.

The challenge has been that CEO and others within corporate executive suite echelons are not accustom to engaging in less reliable bets. To that end status quo is accepted and circumstances remain consistent with what has gone on in the past.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Design Thinking in Developing Countries

As practitioners within the design service business we’re fortunate since we gain so much through the introductions to people from diverse backgrounds, places and areas of expertise.

The Design Thinking narrative offers practical methodology and systems in support of management practices. Design Thinking is an inclusive process that will contribute to overcoming roadblocks and bring people together as a collective to achieve better performance or results. Over the years we’ve been witness on occasions to new businesses being established through utilizing the logic and steps prescribed in Design Thinking management. Clients engagements have resulted in solutions evolved from Design Thinking techniques, solutions that have gained positive measurable returns.

Affiliation with UGSM Monarch Business School has included introductions among a wider reach internationally, meeting people and learning from their shared perspective.

Much is available on this subject area today with a larger movement forming both among academia and corporate management.

The reference linked above is a very practical tool book that I discovered from the organization IDEO. The methodology offers thought and practical guidelines on design thinking.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Five Vectors Paddling a Canoe


After a great night on the river cruising moon light channels, enjoying a cigar, rum and good conversation the weekend shaped up as a welcome respite from the work days past. This morning I decided to try my hand at a little Kayaking. My good friend Chris Ohearn went back to his summer home on Hay Island with a bag of my things in his boat on that previous night.

Getting the stuff back, I decided would involve a “voyage” out on the river and back. The water was calm and for a Saturday morning not many crafts were cruising about. Setting out seemed like an okay idea. These indicators combined with the rivers natural magnetism triggered the events that unfolded earlier today.  I went to our boathouse at the waters edge beneath the bluff, my sister stores a variety of water vessels in this structure. The building is an extension of the family home and is set in a protected channel with islands dotting the vista. The place has always been a strong focal point of river experiences throughout my years, from the time our family arrived in the 1000 Island Region during the early 1970’s. The boathouse provides a great launching off place for those coming and going on the River.

I set out to use the Kayak but unfortunately she had that locked up so that vessel was out of commission, in hindsight that would have been a better choice. The other option a yellow canoe was strung up from the roof rafters with its marine like architecture. The canoe with lines the shape of a reliable performer, would carry me out on the water and get me to my objective and back.

Paddling a canoe is a great way to get exercise, one thing I noticed earlier on though and this harked back to my experience sailing catamarans on the river is the dynamics of wind and how wind plays on the vessels performance and direction. Pointing against the wind puts a combination of vectors in play. Three vectors include balance adjustment, paddling effort adjustment, and wind compensation adjustment. A fourth incidental vector of course is wave size. A fifth incidental vector exists when water flows over the sides of the boat.

The voyage started with mild corrections on each of these standard vectors and after settling into things canoeing looked like easy sailing. The initial awkward repetition in paddling strokes gave way to a rhythmic effort. I felt the pace would ease my way across to the island and back.

I was surprised to see water flowing between my feet as the canoe was now unstable, that early warning signal was the moment of recovery, had I moved mid ship and ballasted the canoe. I did not move in that direction which resulted in going back overboard.

The boat took on water at the point indicated on the map based on wind pushing the bow away from the direction I wanted to hold course. I compensated to hold course by exerting much heavier effort in paddling, this activity drove the stern under the water surface. The boat began taking on water. The canoe went under and I was now swimming for shore with the drifting plastic shell upside down, paddle in hand, shoes on.

The water wasn’t that chilly and I guess my adrenaline convinced me to relax take it easy and swim with the overturned canoe and paddle to an island shoreline. Thankfully a power boat came up to me in the water and “threw me a life line”. 

My mother got to witness the spectacle from her sunroom, on the bluff, back on the mainland. My attempt at canoeing to Hay Island ended up marooned and ditched into the river. I will have to redeem myself on another occasion and make the crossing without getting wet. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Re Tooling Milestones and the Art of Sustaining a Design Enterprise

Here in 2011 we're underway dealing in the era of data. 

I had the pleasure spending time with a faculty member today from my design school who dropped in at our offices. This meeting was impromptu however a welcome opportunity to get perspective on the ideology and thinking from someone immersed in helping young people transition into the business world.  

My commute before arriving at the office was spent listening to the latest App. introduced to me by my strategic counsel, Louise my wife, who uploaded the technology onto my iphone. 

The app called Radio Paradise functioned without a blip during the 30 minute road trip to the office. Uninterrupted music streaming off the internet along the way to work. Streaming music rather then sponsored local radio is another example of the game changing brought about by online technology and how new or emergent technologies have people facing dramatic re tooling within different organizational models. Certainly in the design business we've been witness to some core shifts in market, primarily brought on by technology. 

The colleague who stopped in this morning engaged me in great conversation about the new crop of graduates entering the workforce, we shared thoughts about the realities they face navigating the online emergent environment today. One on one conversation among people together within shared space remains a genuine, rich, unimpeded temporal experience especially when the conversation is free of binary intervention. The temptation to refer to devices specifically ring tone disruption, incoming emails or other sensory broadcast online remains constant. Turning things off is always good. 

I enjoyed my trip to Kingston taking part in the St. Lawrence College design exhibition a few weeks back. I'm also pleased to be engaged on the school advisory committee. 

We covered many subjects, reflecting over the years past highlighted a number of core events that involved adapting new tools and tactics. The chart above is a retro view of some of those re tooling milestones. Milestones that certainly have made the fast changing, innovation and design business dynamic.

Note: Tactile last of Gutenberg refers to print losing its dominant channel specifically the distribution of information.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Express yourself

Perce, Gaspe

Storytelling can be achieved through crafting a simple email exchange or perhaps from years of study and research culminating in a thesis that relates to a special field of interest.

Joseph Campbell a scholar wrote extensively on the subject. His work informs the reader about how stories deal in characterizing culture and how those characterizations through the ages have been remarkably similar. Stories based on themes or references that are consistent with similar patterns from societies around the world.

The similarity of story elements to different groups that are profiled in Campbell's books suggest a phenomenon or order of influence that perhaps underscores people's need to frame or cast their existence through remarkably similar context. Moreover, analysis of symbols, myths, deities, archetypes, legends including other elements such as those derived from nature, for example trees, water, wind the sun and the moon emerge consistently across many groups. 

Universal representations integrated into storytelling.

The Campbell texts are useful reference for those developing effective and meaningful brand frameworks and tools. A practical resource for those interested in solutions intended to withstand the test of time and bridge cultural differences. Campbell’s writings are an invaluable resource for effective storytelling.

A profound aspect of his work emphasizes the need to separate physical appearance from ones verbal expression or the act of expressing oneself.

I remember seeing a Greek company perform Oedipus Rex. Oedipus ends up tearing his eyes out, the kind of physical action the Greeks loved. The chorus had their backs to the audience, and shortly after the display of this horror, the members turned around and opened their arms, and there you sensed that going past the human suffering to the majesty of what is contained in that play that is, of the mystery of life showing itself through the action of life. There lies the key to art. It is beyond the pairs of opposites, beyond desire or fears. (Campbell, 2001)

This passage is a short example of Joseph Campbell’s brilliant thinking. Within his books the philosophy and thought leadership formed the basis for George Lucas’ Star Wars Trilogy, blockbuster movies that garnered universal appeal using the foundations of the hero myth.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Write and Record

"Write and Record" pronounced by Simon Dubnow an individual who as an elder met his fate at the hands of the Nazi's during the second world war in Latvia.

This individual's legacy is referred to within the book “Earth into Property” The book is authored by Anthony Hall. Anthony’s remarkable work of history has been my source of reference and insight for the last couple of months. 

The stories within the 800-page odyssey provide descriptions in the simplest of terms about crude edge policies and actions. The book poignantly chronicles the relationships over the ages among societies with an emphasis on Canadian Indigenous culture in perspective with First Nations internationally. Context about how nation states and their co-opted industrial partners have extended a myriad of unfortunate interventions upon people.  

Corporations aligned with governing bodies engaged in expansionist actions, they used a parade of remarkable invention and strategic thinking to the detriment of many people in their path.

The book covers the Columbian conquests onward to 9/11 and recent outcomes within the 21 century. Analysis about centuries of relations and disparities among nations, organizations and people. 

While reading the book pages in Cuba last month I found the details on, Castro and Che Guevara compelling and informative. The text includes much about that Nations history and international influence .

Friday, April 8, 2011


It looks like a video camera and plays like a video camera, check out the frame

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thoughts on Social Media

This week I took part with a colleague from my organization at a local conference sponsored by a bank. The subject of the conference was Brand and Social Media. A representative from a large advertising agency conglomerate based in Toronto Canada took the floor for three hours to offer insight on brand. He also included for the audience in the Real Estate Development business a primer on social media.

The presentation also validated for me that many of the strategies and related brand tactics we’ve been offering our clients by extension their various stake holders, internal and external audiences are not unlike or different from what is being professed from the multinationals out of the big centres of commerce globally. The speaker validated to the letter in some cases much of what we’ve been sharing in our efforts with clients for the last decade. His talk was a parallel conversation to gordongroup's ideology and brand leadership models. This made the event worthwhile for me. 

My quest for learning continues, I was interested in hearing about the social media model being offered from the Toronto large agency perspective. It's exciting times on the internet after all and the potential for organizations to embrace, leverage and grow their online market share seems to me remains an uncharted phenomena. Again the speakers’ ability to introduce and engage the audience was intriguing and prompted some very relevant questions. Core ideas introduced contributed to my appreciation of ways to take advantage of this new opportunity.

Letting the ideas flow from followers either good or bad turns out contributes to an upside for the organization that remains transparent and responds in a humane and intelligent way rather then censoring or filtering negative commentary out. This is open to jury review on case by case from my perspective.

The opportunity has emerged today to gain competitive insight from young people who bring convictions and sensibilities about how their success and winning outcomes using different social media platforms have proven effective. This "staffing" trend offers organizations and management opportunity to introduce multi generational collaboration. 

  1. Content remains king
Your investment in content, that is content constructs specifically to do with your unique personality within the vast sea of noise called social media. Content that “cuts through” the tremendous amount of information online is required today for social media campaigns. This is truly what separates the leaders from all the masses online. Good content like a good photograph, illustration, house or aircraft is not derived from testing things out. You will be judged on your weakest link, a fact of the design business. Once you launch your campaign ensure you can keep feeding the beast with the best possible content. This points to how you plan to sustain your brand online.
Great content comes from years of experience refining, measuring and continual improvement. For some, this may come naturally yet, with resources limited in most organizations specifically for market outreach, “content” is often the weak link. Management will have to invest in great content.

  1. ABC company now does publishing
Social Media bottom line, to do this you have to operate a publishing unit. You may build homes, aircraft or buses but a function of the company has to begin publishing. In fact rather than social media, the name may be more representative if it were known as publishing media. Organizations small or medium sized may not have design units or writers on staff, yet “cut through” online will require a minimum level of craft and discipline to effectively compete with those who leverage these skills to drive their business. Keeping a vital and steady brand building program starts with management's commitment to ensure regular, smart, and meaningful communications remains constant for months and years ahead. A publishing unit that creates smart narrative that is sent to followers and others who have influence. Influencers or customers who will make a difference on your organizations bottom line.
Identify who within the administration will effectively run the publishing unit.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A brand conversation and forum with MBAs

One hour to define the complex world of brand is hardly adequate but that's what I was allotted yesterday evening among a group of University of Ottawa MBA students. 

Providing insight within a learning institution is a great way to assert and crystallize your thoughts while contributing to knowledge and understanding. 

University of Ottawa has invited us on numerous occasions to share our professional views and practical theories with their students. In each occasion we've benefitted from meeting very engaging and thoughtful individuals. 

Unfortunately I could not get to all those who raised their hands for questions but the students enthusiasm to ask questions provided me comfort that another hour could easily have been spent.  

The time together with the students was used to present our model for brand leadership. This is useful because the thinking is applied to many circumstances relating to an organizations market position and their tactics in support of building brand.  Deconstructing brand and understanding the component parts perhaps for some is a defensive strategy in our present age of information overload and brand democracy for the, Twitter. For those wanting to understand more about the techniques and methods used on audiences to persuade or "convert" people to action, having a primer about how this is mapped out is useful. Those looking at brand structure will be informed about how to process the strategies corporate organizations implement to disseminate content and sell product or other things. The model discussed may apply to an individual, organization or nation. Breaking brand down into clear and accessible parts removes much of the mystery inherent in this loaded subject area. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Clicks, a primer about online media

Google AdWords

Google AdWords is by far the most advanced online platform for developing content relative advertising and delivering it to individuals amidst their information search process, when they are more likely to make a purchase decision. Using Google AdWords, we can optimize advertising to ensure that we are hitting the right users (people searching Google) at the right time in the right place.

High Level Overview 

1. Determine client objectives with respect to digital advertising (awareness, interest, sales, etc)
2. Determine the overall budget of the AdWords Campaigns and duration. Set daily limits for dollars spent
3. Keyword Research – which are most effective by looking at competitors and the industry. Categorize keywords into AdGroups
4. Create an AdWords Campaign for each objective (ie. Business or Tourism clients)
5. Create content for the ad(s) which will show up on the Google search and/or content networks
6. Launch campaign
7. Monitor for trends while optimizing the campaign to ensure that the buy is being spent most efficiently

Pricing Information Pricing is based on the scope of the campaign and set by either using a Pay Per Click (PPC) or Cost Per 
Thousand Impressions (CPM) models. Traditionally, PPC yields better results for clients with a very specific target audience/client.
PPC pricing is determined based on the influence of the keywords, the traffic they produce and the other bids submitted to Google AdWords for the same keywords.
Eg. Keywords “Hotels in Ottawa” = ~$3/click. Therefore, a budget of $15,000 would result in 5,000 clicks, which can be purchased on a per diem basis. This means we can set the daily budget at $150 or 50 clicks. Monitoring the campaign allows us to tweak the numbers and budget based on results.


LinkedIn’s advertising platform operates much the same way as Google AdWords or Facebook Ads. The benefit of using LinkedIn Ads is that your keywords are highly targeted to relevant users based on the information they have included in their public profile. LinkedIn Ads can be purchased in a similar fashion to Google AdWords, using both PPC and CPM models.
The difference between LinkedIn’s ad platform and Google AdWords is in how the information (advertising) is absorbed. LinkedIn relies on targeted interested whereas Google AdWords uses search functionality. For this reason, Google AdWords campaigns can be slightly more expensive than LinkedIn but usually yield better results.