Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Behind-the-Scenes of Marie’s Interview for KQED’s “The California Report”

November 29th, 2012

It all started with a call to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue’s publicist, Patty Stanton. KQED was looking to interview a volunteer for The California Report’s recurring feature called “The Giivng State”. The segment spotlights  volunteers who shares their experience and passion behind their charitible work.

I was  honored when Patty offered it to me. It was a pretty exciting morning of the day that the interview took place. KQED intern Reena Flores captured the sounds and excitement of Muttville’s first ever Holiday Pup-Up Store last year (Dec 2011). We received a generous donation –  a huge retail space in a busy part of town a block from Van Ness. I envisioned this empty room filled with vintage decor and furniture with dogs relaxing in the front room’s bay window displays on classy armchairs and festive attire. The day Reena met me at the Pup-Up Store for the interview, it was really busy day! Lots of people were coming out to see what it was all about.

Reena followed me around with a microphone while I talked to dogs (yes I often do this!), and talked to people – welcoming visitors, answering questions about dogs for adoption, and directing volunteers where help was needed. We had Santa Paws photos, organic treats for sale, hot apple cider to warm up cold hands, and lots of adorable dogs looking for homes.

Muttville dogs willing to dress up as elves to find homes!

Reena captured roughly 2 hours, which seemed like 20 minutes with all that was going on.

I was thrilled to be able to rant on about how much I love saving senior dogs, and using my Marketing know-how for a cause that means so much to me.

I thank Muttville and Patty for giving me this opportunity to come out from “behind-the-scenes” for a moment in front of the mic, and have 2 minutes on my favorite radio station, NPR!

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue is a non profit organization that rescues dogs 7 years and older from shelters and people who can no longer care for them. Sometimes their guardians have passed away, and other times they are simply given away. For the last 5 years, Muttville has changed the future for senior dogs in the Bay Area, and beyond. The organization also strives to educate people on senior dog care to keep dogs in homes when possible. When Muttville is a senior dog’s last resort, they are given the medical care and TLC they need, and new homes are found so they can find new beginnings. Please check out Muttville’s website and read about the great work we do: www.Muttville.org. The work I do for Muttville has enriched my life and my career. Most certainly, it is the best work I have ever accomplished.

 

 

Reena Flores, Intern for KQED's The Callifornia Report interviewing Marie Macaspac

Here’s the interview!

California Report’s “The Giving State” Interview with Marie Macaspac,
Marketing Director for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

 

How To Show Off Your Best Yelp Reviews

August 16th, 2012

Are you one of the hundreds of business owners with a Yelp business listing who is frustrated with Yelp’s so-called fair selection of featured reviews? Yelp states on their website: “The filter establishes an objective standard against which every review can be measured. Even though it inevitably affects legitimate reviews from time to time and misses some fake ones, too, it helps protect the integrity of the site both for consumers (who will be less likely to be led astray by bogus reviews) and business owners (who will spend less time worrying about whether their competitors are writing negative reviews about them).”

In a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, business owner James Lee voices a sentiment that resonates with many business owners on Yelp. The article stated that “Lee contends that Yelp doesn’t play fair with small businesses, frequently filtering out positive reviews but leaving negative ones.”

“Yelp picks and chooses how they want to apply things for their own best interests,” Lee said. “They say it’s an unbiased, fair system for reviews, but they manipulate it as well.”

Rather than spend – or waste – time dealing with Yelp, where it is clear that a business owner can not have full control over their own listing that is on Yelp’s website, we’ve got better ways for you to use your valuable time – and showcase  your best testimonials.

1. Where are all your best reviews? Probably you have a few on Yelp, a few on LinkedIn, and maybe other profiles like Google Places, Yahoo Local, and industry-based directory sites. Take all your best reviews and gather them into a single document, and include a link to each review’s original source.

2. If you don’t already have one, add a Testimonials page to your website. (See this example on Family Law Attorney Lucy McAllister’s website.) You can also add a widget or plugin to your website’s sidebar if you have one, and post a different review on each page. (See this example on Intuitive Counselor Jessica Lanyadoo’s website.) You can also get fancy and use a slideshow tool like Slidedeck that rotates to show a different review every few seconds. (See an example on Switchblade’s website.). Keep the testimonials text-based so that search engine robots can scan your reviews too.

4. Adding a Testimonials page to your website gives you the control of which reviews you want showcased, and it also gives you a place to consolidate all reviews from various sources. If a review quotes a business or client, you have an opportunity to link back to their online presence, which can be a subtle “thank you” for their testimonial.

5. Don’t forget to SEO this page! Make sure to include a sentence on this page that says something to the effect of: “Thank you to our clients for these great reviews we’ve collected from Yelp, LinkedIn, and Google Places (list all sources of the testimonials you’ve included on the page.) When you SEO the back end, be sure to include in your keywords for this page, “Yelp review, LinkedIn recommendations” and terms that include the source names as well as your business’s name, services or products. With good, strong SEO, you just might rank higher than your Yelp listing.

6. If you also have a Facebook business page, you can create a Testimonials page as a custom tab. Some apps like Woobox let you take an existing web page and drop it into a custom Facebook tab. You can simply designate the URL of your Testimonials page as the custom tab source. Otherwise, simply copy the text and paste it in. (See this example on small club’s FB page.)

7. How about a blog category called “Customer Review of the Month”? Thank clients and customers for taking the time to put in a good word for you. Showcase their business and review in a blog article, where you can also link back to their business’ website, and share background information on their product or service and also the service you provided to them, if this is applicable. (See this example on Ebisu Sushi’s website.)

Do you have other suggestions? Let us know! Please share with us in the comments section of this article. Or let us know what you think of these suggestions.

Memorable Day with Muttville and SF Giants Pitcher Tim Lincecum

July 3rd, 2012

a special baseball card we made for Muttville's star, Timmy

A special day for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, July 1, 2012, will go down in Muttville history for a once homeless senior dog named Timmy. A week ago he was an abandoned stray. Last Sunday, he became a star! The chosen, long haired mutt now had a special advocate helping him find a new home… SF Giants star pitcher, Tim Lincecum!

I was truly honored to be one of the four Muttville representatives to meet two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum. He was a genuine, down-to-earth, animal loving gentleman that won our hearts. And we believe Muttville’s senior dog cause won Tim’s heart.

I created three items for this special day: a unique Timmy baseball card (shown on left), reminiscent of one of Tim Lincecum’s Topps cards ; a 40-sec video that was played on the Giants jumbo screen(!); and a Limited Edition Muttville baseball tee in Giants colors, worn by our proud Muttville volunteers. We gave one to Tim, too. I hope he wears it!!

 

Read Marie’s blog article for Muttville about Timmy’s big moment, and see the whole day captured in photos in this slideshow:

Congrats to the Nominees in the 2012 Bay Woof Beast of the Bay Awards!

January 6th, 2012

Vote for your faves in the Bay Woof Beast of the Bay Awards 2012

What a great 2011 and beginning to a new year for many of our pet-related colleagues and clients!

Switchblade is proud to announce the following clients and events nominated in the 2012 Bay Woof Beast of the Bay Awards. We are honored to be associated with these great events, organizations and businesses:

Best Adult Dog Play Group / Event:
Pet Pride Day
(sponsored by Friends of SFACC and SFACC)

Best Dog-Friendly Winery:
Mutt Lynch Winery

Best Dog-Friendly Bakery:
Paw Patch Pastries

Best Pet Superstore:
Pet Food Express

Best Doggie Birthday Present:
Massage from Happy Hounds Massage
A Paw Patch Pastries pastry

Best Canine Massage Therapist:
Shelah Barr, Happy Hounds Massage

Best Overnight Boarder:
High Tail Hotel

Best Pet Photographer:
Mark Rogers Photography

Best Rescue Group, Best Canine Cause:
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Best Fundraising Event:
Pet Pride Day (SFACC)
Moolah For Mutts (Muttville)

Best Online Adoption Website:
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

ALSO: Northern California Pet Adoptions has a photo of Switchblade founder Marie Macaspac with her beloved border collie, Collette, on its homepage! This website was also nominated for Best Adoption Website!. Photo taken by Mark Rogers Photography.

 VOTE! Support your favorite businesses, events, rescue organizations, and dog parks!

Click here to vote!

Switchblade is excited to be attending this weekend’s No More Homeless Pets Conference in Las Vegas

October 20th, 2011

As part of our dedication to animal rescue and our role as Marketing Team Leader for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, We are very excited to be attending for the first time the Annual No More Homeless Pets Conference, organized by the Best Friends Animal Society and located in Las Vegas, NV. We’re excited to meet other rescue organizations and represent Muttville.  Along with Muttville leaders: Ellen Lazarus, Patty Stanton, Anne Lauck, and Founder / Executive Director, Sherri Franklin, we are looking forward to the presentations in store for the 50+ rescue organizations attending this year.

Additionally, Muttville is looking forward to being part of the launch of Sharingpet.com, a new social network for animal lovers and rescue advocates. Muttville will be part of their special showcase, demonstrating how their innovative online site hopes to increase adoptions and donations to rescue groups all over the nation, and eventually worldwide.

We’ll be reporting as much as we can while we are at the conference! Follow our hashtags #SeniorDogsRule and #11NMHP, as well as Sharingpet’s special hashtag #SAVE1mMORE.

Switchblade Creative Studios and Adobe present “Bert Monroy, Part II: Photoshop Filters and 3D Workflow”

October 12th, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

OCTOBER 13th at Adobe offices, 601 Townsend, San Francisco, CA

6pm – 8:30pm

Bert Monroy, Part II: Photoshop Filters and 3D Workflow

Bert Monroy is considered one the world’s leading Photoshop painters. He

returns for a presentation to teach and inspire. He will share with you

many of the techniques he has developed in the creation of his

internationally renowned work.

If you think you know everything there is to know about Photoshop, you

must attend this event. If you were at his last appearance, you know he

will cover a lot of ground. Bert will teach you features of Photoshop most

people overlook — not just how things work, but, most importantly, why.

You’ll come away with a renewed excitement about what Photoshop allows you

to create.

Bert will show you how to use filters in ways you never thought possible.

He will show you how to take a blank screen and create imagery that

will force the viewer to question whether the image is real or an

illusion.

ALSO: Bert will also show new exciting 3D workflows for creative designers

who want to learn about Photoshop CS5 Extended’s 3D capabilities. There

are many simple 3D effects one can use for many different creative outputs

that many people aren’t aware of and Bert will wow us with these

techniques.

This event promises to be not only educational but inspirational. You will

be left with the motivation to take Photoshop and your imagination

to heights you never thought possible.

More about Bert:

Bert Monroy is considered one of the pioneers of digital art. His work has

been seen in many magazines and scores of books. He has served on

the faculty of many well known institutions, lectured around the

world and appeared on hundreds of TV shows internationally. Bert hosted a

weekly podcast called “Pixel Perfect” for Revision3.com. He was a monthly

regular on The Screen Savers TV show for almost 4 years.

He co-authored “The Official Adobe Photoshop Handbook”, the first book on

Photoshop plus many other books since. His latest books, “Photoshop

Studio with Bert Monroy: Digital Painting” has gotten critical

acclaim around the world. Bert writes a column for Photoshop User.

Bert serves a client list that includes Apple Computer, Adobe Systems,

AT&T, American Express, Pixar Animation, Disney Animation and

Lockheed/Martin. Bert has also worked in the motion picture

industry for Industrial Light and Magic, Pacific Data Images, and

R/Greenberg.

In 2004 Bert was inducted into the Photoshop Hall of Fame.

We are very excited to have Bert join us again!

How Switchblade Became Experts in Marketing for the Animal Friendly Community

September 19th, 2011

Switchblade Creative Studios is proud of our work with animal welfare/rescue organizations, film productions, and pet-related businesses that volunteer or support animal causes,
and/or donate their products and services.

small club: big adventures for small dogs

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Switchblade Became Experts in Marketing
For Animal Related Causes & Pet Lovin’ Consumers

When I left behind corporate life and started this company in 2007, the first thing I was excited to do was volunteer with animal rescue organizations. No longer living within a demanding 60+ hour a week job, I couldn’t wait to explore the options. Becoming a volunteer at the San Francisco Animal Care & Control was the perfect introduction to the animal rescue world. It became an important part of my routine and I welcomed this new community of animal loving folks. Shortly before my first orientation at SFACC, my life also dramatically changed when Jazmin, my soulmate canine companion of 11 years, passed away at the age of 14. Losing Jazmin motivated me to give even more in memory of her and our life together.

Volunteering at the SFACC was a joy, but coming home to any empty place with no pets depressed me. I started searching local dog rescue groups where I could foster. I used PetFinder and googled “dog rescue groups”. Searching through the dozens of listings, I gravitated towards dogs I thought were probably “less adoptable”, either because of age or health concerns. I searched and found the saddest looking dog within 50 miles, saved by Wonder Dog Rescue. She was a 40 lb 9-year-old cattle dog mix with the saddest story I have ever heard. And she was indeed the saddest dog I ever met. I named her Frida.

frida jedi switchblade creative studios

frida and jedi

I also sent an email to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue to inquire about fostering. It turned out Muttville was in its first year as an official 501(c) organization. We luckily shared the same neighborhood. Another plus for me was its focus on senior dogs. Muttville Founder  Sherri Franklin instantly became my hero and mentor,  and “Muttville Manor” my second home. My first foster dog was Jedi, a chihuahua mix with irresistible big brown eyes. Jedi and Frida joined my home and it felt warm and inviting to me once again.

My role with Muttville quickly grew into so much more than fostering. I had just left a career as a designer and marketing specialist for 11 years, working myself to the bone, so that part of me wasn’t going to change! I basically took over as Muttville’s marketing lead and designer.  The opportunity to combine my talent and skills with my passion to save dogs was invigorating! The role gave me the opportunity to work with more inspiring individuals behind Muttville: Board President, Jane Goldman, the V.P. of Lifestyle Marketing at CBS Interactive and founder of CHOW.com., and Muttville’s web development engineer, Carol Balacek. Five years later, they both continue to mentor and inspire me and are great influences to me as a business owner. As the Director of Marketing & Design for Muttville, I continually learn from the organization’s other team leaders who contribute their expertise in fundraising, public relations, event planning, and grant writing. As a team, we regularly collaborate and develop innovative strategies, challenging ourselves to improve upon the previous successes.

Muttville leaders at the 3rd Annual Moolah For Mutts

L-R: Jane Goldman, Chris, Sherri Franklin, Deanne Franklin (behind Sherri/Marie), Marie Macaspac, Carol Balacek, John Mounier

Four and a half years and 100 foster dogs later, my passion has led me to be a proud member of a community of inspiring, dedicated folks who have specialized their businesses and organizations in animals. For fellow pet-friendly business owners who create products or offer services or produce films, the most important aspect we have in common is our need to contribute to animal rescue. For those special leaders who successfully manage a rescue organization, who inspire a community to support their causes, I am honored to be a part of their work.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 7.24.06 PM

Marie’s “Story of Collette” and Muttville published in Bella Dog Magazine

May 31st, 2011

A blog post written by Switchblade Creative Studios founder, Marie Rochelle Macaspac, originally published for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue on April 2, 2011 called “What Muttville Means To Me: The Story of Collette”, was picked up by Bella Dog Magazine for their Summer 2011 issue. They featured a full spread for Muttville, also portraying founder Sherri Franklin and the work Muttville has accomplished in their first four years.

“I was pleasantly surprised and so grateful for their gesture, ” said Marie. “if it helps bring comfort to others who have loved dogs with cancer and brings new supporters for Muttville, that would make me very happy.”

Enjoy!

 

Marie's story of Collette in Bella Dog Magazine

Marie's story of Collette in Bella Dog Mag

FaceBook Tab Manager…In short, we love it! PLUS Switchblade “Sharp Tip of the Week”

March 14th, 2011

The plugin developed by Carr Communications called Facebook Tab Manager has opened new doors for customization of FaceBook pages. Custom pages in Facebook were once limited to the FBML app that only allowed basic HTML. With the release of this app along with the upgrade to FaceBook Pages introduced on February 10, custom pages can now be built using WordPress.

So many new possibilities for landing pages, forms, engaging with FB fans , and another portal to access websites without leaving Facebook. We’re excited to offer these new possibilities to our clients!

Switchblade’s  Sharp Tip of the Week

Does your website utilize a form for site visitors to contact you and/or give you detailed information you need? Using the Facebook Tab Manager, you can now put that same form as a tab on your Facebook Page. And if you use a service like Mailchimp, it can be a feed of the same form that lives on your website so you still capture data to single database.

Our client, Jessica Lanyadoo, was the first to give us the opportunity to implement this feature to her Facebook page. She relies on her form to schedule new clients and existing clients, so giving her fans the option to sign up on Facebook will surely fill her calendar for the year (After just one month after her site launched in January,  Jessica was already booked through July.)

Is Print Dead? Find out at Visual Media 2011

March 8th, 2011

Switchblade Creative Studios founder, Marie Macaspac,  will explore the topic of print and how it fits with today’s marketing strategies in a panel discussion at the Visual Media  2011 Conference on May 12, 2011 at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center.

Marie will be the Panel Moderator, delving into topics and questions that explore the fears and the successes of those who built their careers and businesses in the print and publishing world. Our esteemed Panel Speakers provide insight in how they survived the changes in the print industry and came out on top, but not without a few scrapes and bruises.

PANEL DISCUSSION:

Take Your Knowledge of Print Marketing to Online Mediums

For many years, being well versed in graphic design and marketing meant understanding the ins-and-outs of printing. Although those principles remain important, they keep close company with web design, social media, and email marketing. The list goes on with more to come. This session will explore the broad spectrum of industry professionals. They will discuss their challenges and successes, and how they made the transition from print-focused collateral to online mediums.

Panel Moderator:
Marie Rochelle Macaspac, Co-Founder / Creative Director of Switchblade Creative Studios

Panel Speakers:

Jane Goldman, Founder of  CHOW.com

Steve Decker, Founder of Zooka Creative

Jessica Greenwalt, Freelance Graphic Designer, www.jgreenwalt.com

Mark Rogers, Owner of Mark Rogers Photography

 

Interested in contributing to the discussion? Please send your questions, and we’ll consider them for our panel discussion.