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A Winning Idea

27 Jan

Yesterday, Maude Hunter’s Pub posted a single Lottery ticket on their Facebook page and announced that they would share their winnings with everyone that ‘liked’ the post.

With a 50 million dollar pot on the line, the stakes are high – no pun intended. In less than 24 hours, the post has garnered 1,351 likes and 40 comments. For those keeping score, that’s about $37,000 for each person. You’ll have to hurry though if you want to get in on the action – the  numbers are drawn today at 6pm.

But, if we can stop planning out our future fortunes and refrain from pre-selecting our favorite friends for just one second, we can talk about what a brilliant social marketing tactic this is.  Many people wonder how Facebook ‘decides’ what to display on your news feed. Well, we know from social media speaker Jay Baer , it’s not random. There is actually an algorithm that dictates whose posts you see. The probability your activity will show up on someone’s page is based on 3 things:

1. Your affinity with the other party as a whole

Are you in pictures together? Do you have mutual friends? Are you posting on each other’s wall?

2. Your previous action with similar content

Have you liked, tagged, or commented previously on similar content?

3. Time

How long ago was the content created?

Hence, the more you like a brand’s page and like/comment on their posts, the more you’ll start to see their content flow through your news feed. From a marketing perspective, this is the winning ticket. It’s why you see brands transfixed on getting likes.

Red Bull's Like Us facebook pageI’ve written before that a blanket plea for likes just doesn’t cut it anymore. So, it’s refreshing to see some out-of-the-box thinking and content that actually warrants a click.  It’s not the first time too that Jaryd Zinkewich from Maude’s has impressed us with his marketing savvy. Check out the Pint for a Pic post.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to see a man about buying a pony.

Photo Credit: Jay Baer

Into The Wild

26 Jan

This time last year I was preparing to finish my last year of design school. While most days were spent worrying about project deadlines and final presentations, I also remember being clouded by thoughts regarding what I was to do once I was forced to leave this comfy nest called art school. Where will I work? How will I get there? Where do I start?

A year later, now three weeks into my role as Art Director, I thought I’d look back at what I’ve learned since then and see if I can’t share it with the next crop of students. Having just gone into the wild – here are a few tips that worked for me and a few more I didn’t get the chance to try.

DIRECTION

Often times people would say to me “Victoria is so small that all the good design jobs are taken”. The way I see it, the smaller the town the easier it should be to stand out amongst the crowd. So before you decide to pack up and move to that neighbouring metropolis, remember: you have to ability to make a mark in your small town, too. Find out exactly what your dream job is and make it your goal. Stay optimistic and keep focused. The unfortunate reality is that as time passes your competition will slowly drop out of the race. If you manage to outlast you’ll start to move up the ladder.

GET OUT THERE

Don’t sit idle between dropping off resumes. Do something to get your work noticed. Start a design blog and post local content, re-design your school newsletter and offer to maintain it, pitch your designs to companies you admire. Take a chance and don’t be afraid to be shot down. Sure you could get rejected, and at first you probably will – but if you’re lucky you might at least gain a pro’s insight regarding your work. While these ideas might not get you paid, they’re all are great steps towards growing your portfolio with real world experience.

NETWORK

Don’t stress this one. Networking will come naturally, if you’re here reading this blog then you’re already doing it. Because most jobs aren’t advertised, networking can be your best bet to get your foot in the door. Consider a student membership to the Graphic Designers of Canada. Your local chapter has dozens of social events each year. Why not start by volunteering to check coats or take tickets at an event? These events are meant to be fun, so relax. Nobody’s there to interview you, try to have fun and enjoy yourself. Your personality should be on show, not your portfolio.

NAVIGATE

Get to know any potential employers in your area. Navigate your way through the company, introduce yourself to the staff, find out what the mood around the office is like. Now the fun part – don’t just tell potential employers that you’re creative, show them!  Go a step further by customizing a package based on what you’ve learned. Put aside the typical resume. Try a website, video or DVD portfolio.

RESOURCES

Now is the perfect time to start seeking out internships, scholarships and awards. Internships are your best bet for work right now, it’s how mostly all designers start.

Check Applied Arts, Communication Arts and Adobe for student awards. They’re a great way to get regional and even worldwide recognition for your work. Another benefit of the GDC is that they’ll do much of the work for you. A student membership gives you access to up-to-date job/internship postings, scholarships and awards info.

Get yourself a website to showcase your work but keep it simple, and remember when it comes to a portfolio it’s always quality over quantity. Be sure to replace old pieces with new ones as your skills progress. And if your web skills aren’t up to snuff yet, there’s plenty of easy-to-use portfolio sites out there. Try Behance , Carbon Made or Cargo Collective.

SOCIAL MEDIA

You’d be surprised what opportunities that might arise from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. There’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to access all three. Each one is different, so learn which to use for particular content. They’re a great way to engage with people, and give them a reason to follow you. Share unique content specific to you: your opinions, your portfolio pieces, and discussions that you’re taking part in.

Thanks for reading, I hope that helps. I’ve included my icon pack for download if you’d like them for personal use. For now you can get to know us @YourCopeland. We love students.

The world is strong-arming me to get mobile.

10 Jan

I don’t have a cell phone. I have very little interest in changing this.

It irritates some of my friends. Sometimes I feel like I am missing out, but when I am having a drink at the pub with a bunch of people and half of them are elbows deep in a text I think ‘not for me’. I get by fine with a land-line and the many communication options my Mac has to offer. I got by fine until last week that is.

My Shaw phone modem malfunctioned. I not only couldn’t make or receive calls, but nobody could buzz me from the front door of my building. I lived with this for a few days but I eventually had to make the 45 minute call to Shaw to get the modem replaced. Of course I had to make this call elsewhere than home.

‘Your phone is not working at all?’
‘Nope, and my buzzer doesn’t work either.’
‘What’s your cell number?’
‘I don’t have one. I’m one of those guys. Last one I bet, right?’
‘Can you use a friend’s phone?’
‘I can’t ask a friend to wait with me from 8 AM to 8 PM for your guy on a work day. Can’t he just toss a stone at my window when he gets here?’

I arranged for the technician to check in with the coffee shop in my building to be let in. So long as he made it before 4:30 PM this would work. After that no dice. At least most of the ridiculous appointment waiting period was covered.

But really, what a hassle. At this point my refusal to join the mobile masses is the real problem. I’m the asshole, not Shaw.

The tech made it before 4:30 PM and my phone works again. Like somebody who made a promise to god in order to get out of a jam – and survived – I don’t feel much like keeping my promise to get a cell phone. But really it is time, or is it?

If you think calling around for a coffin is weird, try asking for a body bag.

19 Dec

Image

I have just completed the packaging design for my first recording since 2005. I figured after six years of silence a shot of me alive in a coffin would be a cool image for the cover. A sort of back from the dead thing.

You’d think finding a coffin for a photoshoot in the city of the ‘nearly dead’ would be an easy thing. I imagined every household in Oak Bay to have to have several on stand by for the occasion one of the residents expired. I figured I could make a few calls to the local funeral homes and get permission to use a floor model. Not the case. Turns out it is a sensitive topic. I did however find a home that would rent one to me. Apparently they had in the past for movie shoots. Turns out they have much higher budgets than I; $2,500 more. The funeral director was extremely helpful as well as serious about the proposition.

There are a few costs that I had not considered. The liner cannot be re-used. I said I would take my shoes off, he didn’t laugh. It’s a law. That makes sense since the temporary occupant may be a bit leaky. And there is the cost of transporting the coffin off site to do the shoot. They can’t have it done in their building. Fair enough, and for obvious reasons. Plus he would have to take in account that he is loosing potential revenue while the coffin is off site and unavailable to use for real corpses. He said he could probably swing it for me for just under $1,000. Since this is coming out of my pocket I had to decline.

I had seen a coffin for sale on UsedVictoria.com in October for $800 and that now seemed a fair price. I did some searching through my emails because I had to ask the seller questions back then because it’s not an item you find for sale every day. It had already sold. Damn. I figured I was now at a loss and I would have to re-concept. Then I got a new idea. What about a body bag? Way cheaper, and creepier. But where do you find one of those?

It’s really awkward. And I just didn’t know where to start. I called St. john’s Ambulance and had to leave a message. They didn’t return my call. I called the Coroner’s Office and they could even suggest who to call. A few places simply hung up.

It looked like I was stumped again. Then I thought, why not try my funeral director friend. He was helpful and didn’t act even the slightest bit phased. He said ‘Yes we do,’ and ‘yes we can.’ The cost? $28. And could I please bring exact change.

When I showed up to pick up the body bag he not only explained in detail how to use it but showed me everything else I could rent if I needed it: the hearses and the $1,000 coffin (which was sweet!). He seemed to want to give me a tour of the place. Maybe he just appreciated the company of someone alive.

Anyways, below is the finished image. Was it worth it?

 

Image

Can’t get enough of Mobile? Win a signed copy of Simon Salt’s Book – Social Location Marketing!

19 Oct

We love our contests here at Copeland and we can’t help but want to spread the buzz around mobile marketing and the opportunities around it.

Copeland contest for free copy of Simon Salt's Social Location MarketingWe recently hosted mobile marketing specialist, national US social media speaker, and author Simon Salt to Victoria.

We are now in possession of three signed copies of his book “Social Location Marketing” which we want to give away randomly in a simple mobile contest.

You can read our review of his book here.

Our pet alligator is full from the last mobile contest so whether or not you win one of the 3 books, we do have a special treat for you just for entering (hinted at below!).

Please go here for contest details.

Good luck!

Canadian mobile usage infographic

 

Flowers for a CEO

6 Oct

I heard the news of Steve Jobs passing along with countless others, on Twitter. A lone questioning tweet appeared, then a trickle, then the news cascaded down the stream. If you had just arrived on earth to witness it you’d be forgiven for thinking a beloved humanitarian fighting injustice and suffering had been assassinated.

Steve Jobs Apple silhouetteAs Apple’s figurehead and spokesman he didn’t invent any of Apple’s industry changing products, nor did he design them, he was the CEO. Which makes it all the more incredible that customers fans have been leaving flowers outside Apple stores in remembrance and people from countries all over the world are still flooding social networks with micro memorials.

Steve Jobs wasn’t just one of the greatest American CEOs, he was a true visionary.

The people who knew him describe his relentless drive to innovate, to push the people he worked with to improve every aspect of what they were working on, to do things differently. Not to give people what they wanted, but to bring them new products that they would love.

That he did this at the expense of profit led to him being fired by the Apple board in 1985. His return with his visionary leadership style intact made Apple what it is today. That’s what makes him one of the greatest American CEOs, but that doesn’t explain the genuine grief evident in the social sphere.

For me that’s explained in his ability to elevate form over function in a world that is increasingly focused on ROI, efficiency & the ruthless pursuit of cost-cutting.

We have an emotional response to design in a way we never will with an list of impressive specifications. With his drive, every Apple product touched by his vision shines. It’s what led Apple to be elevated to not just a global company, but a movement. And movements are driven by emotion. Few people leave such an amazing legacy.

This is a 5 star blog post

21 Sep

This is a 5 star blog post… or is it a 1 star blog post? Well you’re reading it, you decide. The star rating is the grandfather of social validation and review mechanisms. Migrating from the hospitality industry it moved to the entertainment industry before slipping effortlessly onto websites where it makes perfect sense for our attention deficit, fragmented, time-poor online world.

Copeland image: The problem with star ratings.With a single click you can sum up your entire experience of a product, service, or entity and be off to your next online destination. Conversely, no time to investigate a product? Just check the star rating. Everyone wins? Well no, and for the typical implementation of star rating systems here’s why:

It’s too democratic
The leveling power of the Internet has done some wonderful things. Bypassing the media, it has given a voice to people where previously their frustrations and delight would be confined to a small circle of friends and peers.

Mainstream social media hasn’t addressed this yet, but its problem is that in many ways influence and positioning vastly overshadow experience & knowledge. That’s for another post, but in the context of star ratings it means that everyone has the same level of authority when they rate something. So what’s wrong with that?

Well, should you really be allowed to rate something if you’ve never actually bought the product or experienced the service yourself? Why should you have the power to influence others based on hear-say, or worse, in the pursuit of an ill-informed agenda? Especially considering your star rating is elevated to the same level of influence as someone who actually paid for the product or service.

A star rating for a meal or movie accounts for a passive activity with a very short timeline. Should it be applied to a complex product or service with which you interact for a period of months or years? The blanket democracy takes no account of whether you read the instructions, ignored the warnings, let alone whether you paid for the product.

It’s open to abuse
Running a campaign or launching a product? Why not just buy 5 star reviews. Or go the extra step and buy 1 star reviews to be applied to your competitors.

Electronic Arts suffered the wrath of agenda driven star rating abuse when they released Spore, a PC game with what was seen by consumers as having  draconian anti-piracy measures. An organised backlash resulted in 837 1 star reviews being posted on Amazon within days, many by people who had never bought the game. Maybe this was a fair rating of the anti-piracy features, but it tarred every aspect of the product with the same brush.

It amplifies inherent bias.
If you pass my imaginary gate for people who have actually paid for the product then we run into the next huge failing. Inherent bias.
If you’ve committed to the point where you shell out money for a product or service then you’re pre-disposed to like it. There’s also the documented need to validate our decision. If you’ve ever looked for a review of a movie after you’ve watched it, or searched for a product review for the gadget sitting next to you on your sofa, as I have, then you’re probably looking for approval via social validation. You’ll be inclined to leave a higher rating as a result.

At the other end of the scale are those looking to assuage their anger with a 1 star review. What star ratings don’t show is the vast majority of people who find the product satisfactory. Have you ever taken the time to rate, or review  something that you were mildly pleased with, or was satisfactory? This evangelism amplifies both end of the scale, leaving the middle ground in a vacuum. It’s the reason youtube is looking for alternatives to star ratings. And if they are I’d wager the big e-commerce sites are as well.