Adelie Studios 2.0 – the relaunch

So as promised the first step to relaunching Adelie Studios was the new logo design, thanks to all those who helped with the design process.

Now I have completely overhauled the website making it more user friendly, focused on online video animation and generally cooler in all ways. I give you the 62% more awesome…Adelie Studios Website.

It still needs work – I’ll be writing and adding an e-book about online video marketing, adding new blog posts and specific online video landing pages but for now…I rest.

Thanks to all who have been supportive during this process and if you know someone who wants to find a more entertaining way to market their business online…well you know who to call. Thank you.

Rebranding Adelie Studios – The Reveal

The people have spoken! Many through Facebook or Twitter, some by email and a handful on the blog in the comments. Crowd sourcing the design was definitely a great idea and I got a lot of ideas and feedback that I wouldn’t have gone to on my own.

#6 was the overwhelming favorite however a number of people liked elements from #7, particularly the ink blot rather than the traditional circle for the play button because of how that ink blot related to the style relative to the animated work I do. I felt it also gave it less of a “corporate” design studio look and what I do is definitely not traditional messaging as I tend to make branding more interesting and entertaining. So there had to be a fun element to the design too. So… a la peanut butter and jelly sandwiches…I combined the two elements into one logo.

I also decided to play around with the colors a bit, I felt like the dark burgundy (or PMS #1815 to those geeky designers out there) was too strong and would function better on the website in small quantities used to stress links, thin rules and such. So after playing around for a bit I came up with the following.

I bring you the new and improved logo for Adelie Studios.

Adelie Studios...better, faster, stronger

Adelie Studios...better, faster, stronger

I truly appreciate all the feedback I got which made the rebranding far more fun getting other peoples perspectives, constructive criticism and input. Special thanks goes out to Mark Cahill, David Saraiva, Jenn O’Meara, Mark Shunney, Mike Langford, Lisa Middleton Griffin, Melissa Fetterhoff, Tammy Miner Stott, Ian MacLean Davis, Paul Scannell, Jeff Brouillet, Matt “Klawful” Smith and of course to Leah Guerin, my wife who put up with my incessant “What do you think of this?”, “What about these colors?”, “What does this make you think of?”, “What if I move this over here?”, “Is there any coffee left downstairs?”…you get the picture.

Thanks to all of you and be on the lookout for the website relaunch in the next couple of weeks!

Rebranding Adelie Studios

It was has been almost 10 years ago since Adelie Studios was started as predominantly a graphic and web design company and a lot has changed since then. Now I am doing mostly online marketing animation and animated tutorial videos…not so much graphic or web design. So because of this shift in my design focus and the fact that it’s been neglected for so long…it’s time for Adelie Studios to have a make over.

Originally Adelie Studios was named after my dog but I decided to play around with the branding a bit and look at other elements like the penguin (which I got the name for the dog from) and the meaning of Adelie which is “noble” in both French and German.

So now is where I am looking for your help. I am so used to taking other people’s concepts and running with a creative message that it becomes difficult for me to be objective with my own stuff when I am the only voice. So I’d like to crowd source some feedback from my creative friends and connections.

I have posted a few of my most recent logo design concepts here. Please vote for which one you like below in the comments, on Facebook or you can tweet me your favorite on Twitter. I look forward to all of your feedback!
















Buzzworthy Wednesday: Liberty Mutual "Good Vibrations"

Liberty Mutual has been using the “good karma” branding message for a number of years now. This week’s Buzzworthy Wednesday is a recently created animated addition to their Responsibility Project. It’s not often that you see a company take the marketing strategy to create change and to be authentic about it. I think this message was successful in grabbing the viewer to show the impact a simple action can have in the lives of others but comes across seeming disingenuous in others.

The animation is very well done and their pay it forward puts an emotional touch on their brand to communicate meaningfully with consumers.

Where I think it fails in some ways is in the use of the office building…let’s be honest most large office buildings are occupied by large corporations, financial and insurance companies and Liberty Mutual is no exception. Is this a reach? A sort of pessimism on my viewing part? I don’t know. It may be I’m seeing some symbolism that Liberty Mutual hadn’t considered when working on the project. It’s also a little long at a little over 4 minutes so part of the reason it may have gotten so few views is the fact that many online viewers have a shorter attention span than this video requires to unfold.

Either way, it’s definitely very well crafted by French animator Jérémy Clapin, the director of Skhizein. Clapin’s visual voice is incredibly strong and make this brilliant piece a pleasure to watch regardless of whether or not I am reading into the crowd in the office building symbolism too much. I guess if you remove Liberty Mutual and its marketing message from the equation I find it much more enjoyable and captivating short to watch. What about you? Am I crazy here?

Don't Stay "On Message" Think Like a Human

dodo_birdA recent post by Chad Northrup at Chatterbox about LinkedIn being the “No Fun Social Network” recently got me thinking about many of the companies I have worked with that are clinging to the old school methodology of marketing by constantly staying on message and not seeing what is going on right now in the online world.

Years ago, staying on message was how you branded your business. So whether someone saw your newspaper ad, brochure, radio ad, TV spot, etc. it all had the same look, feel and message. Recognition through replication.

Now however things are changing. Branding through certain visual markers like colors, fonts, logo, etc. is still equally important but the message is different because people online want to engage and interact with your brand. They don’t want to get your mission statement delivered to them, they want to know about what interesting projects you are working on or how your product is going to help them personally. You need to have a conversation with your potential audience not deliver a soliloquy.

Given this seismic shift, you also need to change how you brand yourself and your business because the people behind the brand are taking center stage now. Your voice is now equally as important to your branding as your logo. Don’t handcuff your employee brand advocates – let your companies personalities shine!

Another pitfall companies fall into is being bland. I can’t tell you how many businesses I have met with and all they want to do is plug their same boring sales message into video format. Why? Do something wildly creative! Solve one of your most frequently asked questions or problems in a creative story. In every blog post, in every video or podcast you create there’s got to be emotion or opinion to trigger an action of some kind. Make interesting content that people want to read/view and if it’s REALLY interesting share with their network. No one is going to share your mission statement unless maybe you make it into a rap or something entertaining.

Creative thinking and authentic engagement will be what makes some brands more noticeable in the coming years…not how much money they dumped into traditional advertising. Small companies like Blendtec will be the household names of tomorrow because they are creating online content that people like to consume and be entertained by.

What about you? What do you think the future holds for branding?

Buzzworthy Wednesday: The Battle for Milkquarious

The Battle for Milkquarious, is a 20-minute online rock opera about a rock icon named White Gold fighting for justice and his girl on the faraway planet of Milkquarious…that description alone is worthy of Buzzworthy Wednesday. This destination website with movie was launched in mid-October by the California Milk Processor Board and agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (the creators of “Got Milk”).

This short film has sort of a Zoolander-ish feel which carefully walks the line between cool and corny. The result is a hilarious piece with frequent and humorous one liner references to milk like “You guys want to sip on my one gallon axe?”.

They’ve also created the “Milkdonkulous Give-a-way” which is a contest to high schools across California to create their own interpretations of scenes from the movie and win $50,000 for your school’s art, music, and drama programs.

The contest is kind of cool, but where they fall short is having the high school kids interpret scenes. Why stop there? Why not have them write new scenes? The winner could have their script used in the further adventures of White Gold. I think expanding upon the intellectual property of Milkquarious rather than just rehashing the material would make far more sense and really let the creativity of these high school students run wild. Then these kids could share their videos on YouTube and Facebook and create a social buzz around Milkquarious. That’s where the payback would be from a marketing perspective.

All in all it’s a pretty funny and great marketing effort, but is this the future of online video advertising? Will more and more online marketing videos be moving to this type of immersive experience? What do you think?


Entrepreneurship is not an "employment gap"

Recruiter: “This is a pretty long employment gap.”

Me: “What employment gap?”

Recruiter: “Well you haven’t been employed since 2002.”

Me: “I have been employed, as you can see on my resume I’ve been running my own business since then.”

So went the conversation between myself and an HR recruiter while he was reading my resume. I’m not sure why this view is held but I’ve had similar conversations with several other HR recruiters. Now I’m not writing this to speak poorly of any HR recruiter but to shed light on the positive aspects of hiring an entrepreneur.

Let me explain how I came to be an entrepreneur. While working at EMC Corporation as the Internal Marketing Communications Coordinator…I loved my job. If the dot com bust and 9/11 hadn’t happened, I might still be working for them. Immediately after I was laid off, EMC started sub-contracting projects to me. Initially I wasn’t inclined to start my own business…I was used to the comfortable umbrella that working for someone else provided. However given the economy in early 2002, my employment options as a creative marketing director were limited.

Running my own business was something I’d never considered. It was a great unknown but I jumped in.

Entrepreneurs are willing to take risks.

I found it a challenge to run my own business; I needed to learn stuff like bookkeeping, come up with a business plan and spend endless hours doing “non-paying” work to lay the foundation for the future of my business. I loved it and spent endless hours working well beyond the traditional 40 hour work week to make my business succeed.

Entrepreneurs are persistent workers who enjoy a challenge.

I also continued to learn, adapt and change as the needs and requirements of my clients evolved. When I originally started out I was doing predominantly graphic design for traditional marketing. After about a year I saw my clients needed more help integrating their offline with their online marketing so I took classes and educated myself about web design and online marketing. Now the focus of my business is more about providing online marketing solutions to clients through educating them about social media and providing creative content like online video production to work seamlessly with their social media efforts.

Entrepreneurs are committed to adapting and improvement.

While I know this is just my experience and every entrepreneur is different, I don’t see how potentially hiring someone with these skills could be a bad thing for any company.

Entrepreneurs bring a prudent sense of risk taking to the job. That doesn’t mean they’re running around like Yosemite Sam firing their guns in the air. They just know how to balance risk with reward. Entrepreneurs are also relentless and aren’t easily disheartened. They are willing to work very hard if the rewards are right.

I understand that some employers may be hesitant because they may feel an entrepreneur could jump ship at the next big opportunity. That’s understandable and each individual with an entrepreneurial background is different. But would you rather hire a mediocre employee who’s just punching the clock or an employee with an entrepreneurial background who given the right working environment could reap results for your company far beyond your expectations? What are your thoughts?

Buzzworthy Wednesday Video: Nike SB

So this week was a little light in terms of newly released online marketing videos that I would consider buzzworthy. However my pick this week is for Nike SB to celebrate the release of professional skateboarder Paul Rodriguez’s (aka P Rod) third shoe (the skateboarding son of the famous comedian). Set to the grooving tempo of the Ice Cube song “Today Was a Good Day”, the Nike video kind of parallels the original Ice Cube music video storyline just through the eyes of a skateboarder with one slight humorous difference at the end. It’s had over 370,000 views since being uploaded about 3 weeks ago.

Nothing earth shattering here. No crazy production. No trick camera skills. No dancing babies or flash mobs. While there are some very cool skateboarding tricks, I’m not a particularly big fan of skateboarding. So why did this video appeal to me? I probably just like it because the skateboarding tricks ARE cool, the tempo of them follow the music well and it’s set to one of my all time favorite rap songs. There I said it. Sometimes it’s all about the music and how it moves you or grabs you.

Metro-West Chamber’s Social Media Panel Discussion


Mike Langford, CEO of Tweetworks, was kind enough to invite me to participate as part of a panel discussion about social media for the Metro-West Chamber of Commerce. I was joined on the panel by Mike and two others; Cappy Popp of Thought Labs and Jeff Cutler of

The title for the panel discussion was “Linked in – How to Increase Sales” however given all of our diverse backgrounds with using social media in all different ways, it quickly evolved into a broader discussion about how we use and recommend using social media for business.

Jeff had some great recommendations for finding the “pulse” of online conversations going on around your company online and using Google Alerts to find those conversations. Mike had a great analogy of how social media is really no different than going to a Chamber networking mixer. Cappy’s reminder that in social media you need to “give” if you want to “receive” to build a brand following falls right in line with Mike’s analogy too. Networking online using social media is virtually the same (other than the technology) as networking in person. It’s all about building relationships.

I’ve shared Mike Langford’s video recording of the panel discussion. Although the still on the video looks like I am about to break into song…I assure you that doesn’t happen. I wouldn’t torture my blog readers with my horrible singing voice. Enjoy!




Effective call-to-action with e-commerce video



Recently there’s been a lot of talk online about how video can help e-commerce and adding interactivity to video is a natural progression to keep the viewer engaged. There was a great blog post written on effective trigger design for interactive video commerce which answers the question – how should video interactivity be applied to e-commerce video? It’s always been part of my approach on each project, what is the end goal? Are you a non-profit looking for donations, a company selling products looking for a purchase or maybe you are looking for viewers to contact you for more information and become more engaged with your brand? There are three steps (according to the Video Commerce Consortium blog post) to creating an effective trigger or call-to-action, I’m going to elaborate on each:

1. The trigger must be noticeable. This sounds self explanatory, but you’d be surprised to realize that most consumers are passive viewers of online video content, they aren’t used to interacting with it. It also needs to be blatantly obvious to the viewer that interaction is possible.

2. The trigger must be associated with the targeted behavior. When you are creating a call-to-action, think carefully about the wording and design because they can have a huge impact on the viewers expectations. Don’t have a button that says “Product information” really be a link directly to add an item to a shopping cart. As an example, we have a customer who sells generally to engineers who will want to see product specifications before they consider purchasing so we incorporated a “Download Specifications PDF” right into the video. Carefully design the call-to-actions within your video experience to meet your viewers expectations.

3. The trigger must occur when the user is both motivated and able to perform the target behavior. The great thing about online video is we can be more subtle with a call-to-action. As the Video Commerce Consortium blog post points out “clicking a mouse is still easier than picking up the phone”. But scripting the video so the ask is part of the story is key, when are your customers most motivated to buy? Is it after a particular product or feature where a button can pop up so they can click that for more information about that feature?

Not sure where your video is peaking curiousity or if there is a falloff in viewership before they get to your call-to-action? Using a video measurement service like Visible Measures can precisely calculate video engagement by capturing every event that occurs within an Internet video player – each play, pause, rewind, fast-forward, share, embed, and more.

Not sure how to build those call-to-actions within your video? I recommend Flimp which has a great WYSIWYG interface to create landing pages and e-mail integration with Constant Contact as well as a few other major email service providers. I also suggest Permission TV which offers an outstanding video platform allowing you to build those call-to-action links right into the video player creating more interactive experiences to everyone who visits your site. Both offer outstanding analytics so you can track and analyze your video’s performance.

Ultimately a call-to-action is useless unless the video itself is engaging and can easily be found. If your video is buried on your website, who’s going to see it? What if the content is so boring no one ever gets to the call-to-action?

What you need to do is to think of the call-to-action within your video and the trigger button or action as one seamless process, not separate parts. That is the future of online video, it’s all part of the viewer experience.

That’s what I think anyway, what about you?