Extreme Makeover

Posted on September 27, 2010 by 1 Comment

As defined by Wikipedia, a facelift, technically known as a rhytidectomy (literally, surgical removal of wrinkles), is a type of cosmetic surgery procedure used to give a more youthful appearance. The first facelift was performed in Berlin in 1901 by Eugen Holländer.

You’ve no doubt seen the before-and-after celebrity pictures. Joan Rivers, Michael Jackson, George Clooney, Sharon Stone — they’re among the most famous makeovers in Hollywood. Sometimes it’s just a “re-skin,” but in many cases it’s more than skin deep. Zac Efron had the gap between his front teeth corrected and Miley Cyrus had the length of her choppers evened out. Then there’s the hair implants. One of the biggest problems is that they don’t lie against the head properly unless styled. George of the Jungle’s Brendan Fraser, known for his lack of “vines,” looks like he ran out of hair product at home.

But there’s a way to do it right. Not on your face of course, but with your brand. Let’s take a quick look at the corporate world and a couple of companies that have done it right. The multi-colored Apple logo was in use for 22 years before it was axed by Steve Jobs less than a year after his return in 1997. In its place came a new logo that did away with the colorful stripes and replaced them with a more modern monochromatic look that has taken on a variety of sizes and colors over the past few years. The overall shape of the logo, however, remains unchanged from its original inception 33 years ago. Another example is UPS, founded in 1907 (just six years after the first facelift) as a messenger company. Nearly a century and three logo generations later, it unveiled a modernized mark (still in the shield but sans bow string) which symbolizes their expansion from package delivery into a broader array of supply chain services. They were thinking globally. Logos aside, how about brand image? McDonalds is working to improve theirs by tapping into the designer coffee culture. McLatte? Don’t laugh; they’re not the first ones to steal a good idea. Starbucks’ Black Forest Ham, Parmesan Frittata & Cheddar on Artisan Roll breakfast sandwich was born back in 1972. It was called the Egg McMuffin.

Okay, so where am I going with all this talk about re-skin and re-fresh? You’ve made it to my blog so you’ve no doubt seen waggeneredstrom.com. Does it look a little different? For the most part, we have kept the same layout and page structure. But we’ve freshened it up with our new brand colors, fonts, and imagery. Our goal was to contemporize and differentiate our site and show a little more of the Waggener Edstrom personality. We are not a cold corporate entity; we are real people with a passion for what we do.

Notice throughout the site a brighter backdrop and more open space, allowing the layout to breathe and the images to pop. We’ve completely redesigned our Product Toolkit and you can find it on the new Product & Services page. It displays the four segments, the five social media essential products and our 12 key tools. We’ve revamped the Newsroom page with a hero image, and this page now incorporates live tweets and Facebook posts. We’ve redone the Global Practice pages with colorized hero images that reflect the practice. Even the little things count. We’ve added movement to some of the links as you scroll over them.

We believe that waggeneredstrom.com conveys our vibrant personality, our commitment to ongoing innovation, and most important, the more human side of Waggener Edstrom.

Making Sense of World Cup Chatter With WE twendz pro™

Posted on July 9, 2010 by 1 Comment

Since the World Cup tournament kicked off June 11th, we have been tracking Twitter conversations around the tournament using WE twendz pro™.  To say people are talking about this tournament in social media channels is beyond an understatement —  they are roaring.  Tweets regarding this football extravaganza have reached over half a billion people, and Twitter has crashed multiple times over the past month because of the volume of noise.  That’s a lot of chatter, but who cares?  What does it all mean?  How can one make sense of it?  Who has the time to make sense of it?

To me, using Twitter can kind of feel like being pelted with teeny, tiny rocks over and over.  In general, I don’t care about two thirds of what I hear each day.  I only have so much capacity in my little brain and unless whatever is being said is concise and compelling, it doesn’t stick (this might explain my attraction to US magazine  “stories”).  Even before we use Twitter, don’t we get bombarded with information all day, every day?  Everywhere we turn, TV, radio, friends, newspapers, magazines, work, life – people are always telling us stuff.

So what cuts through the Twitter noise?  Is it the loudest voice?  Is it the most repeated information?  Is it how the information is delivered?  Is it the source that makes us take note?  For me, it is a combination of all of these, and that’s why twendz pro is such a great tool. 

Data & What to Do With It in Two Simple Steps

In a nutshell, here’s the way twendz pro™ works:

 1. You choose the key words and phrasing you would like to monitor on Twitter, and we set up a dashboard for you, which can hold up to 30 days of tweet data.

2. Our analysts then mine through the findings, and walk you through them. You can decide what type of chatter you want to hear on Twitter, then have a nice, smart person analyze that pile of data for you, and make helpful, objective suggestions about what it means, which informs the actions you might consider taking.

It’s like programming your radio to avoid the static. It’s efficient.

Our World Cup Lesson

So what did we learn from our analysis of the World Cup? We learned that outlets like The Onion, Huffington Post, ESPN and Mashable chatted up the World Cup on Twitter. We learned that Russell Brand, Tony Hawk and Shaq, to name a few well-knowns, joined the discussion. These people have gazillions of followers, so their voices might have a bit more impact.

We learned that at the beginning of the World Cup, Brazil was the fan favorite with 34% of tweeters cheering for that team.  Argentina followed Brazil as the second most favored team at 9%, then Spain at 8%.  Now that Spain and the Netherlands are in the finals, we are finding that the Netherlands is favored by fans over Spain 58% to 42%. 

Why you should care?  We’ve gathered some interesting factoids and stats about “influencers” – the persuasive voices who Tweet about this tournament, what teams are favored, and how those stats have changed over time.  Just think about how this tool could be used to analyze business trends, to find out what people are saying about your brand and who is saying it. 

Tapping into this humongous audience to learn about what people are saying about you (and your competition) allows you to course-correct mid-campaign, to make it even better when it is already going well and to improve your strategy next quarter. 

Relevant Data for Meaningful Solutions

Twendz pro isn’t about tracking every little Tweet. Twendz pro is about mining the data that matters and distilling it into useful information that can help people solve business problems.  Our World Cup dashboard analysis was fun, global reaching and a way to stay in touch with the tournament.  We didn’t plan on solving any business problems, we wanted to hear what people were saying and who was saying it, and we wanted to share the fun factoids we learned. 

This tool can be used for much more than “fun factoid” learning.  It can be used to learn the impact your messaging may be having on your brand and the resonance it is having.  It can also be used to track how discussions about your brand are trending over time.  Data is available in piles if you want it.  Big whoop.  It is what you do with that data that matters – the statistical analysis that comes with twendz pro – the human element – is really what allows us to understand how we can use the information in meaningful ways.

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