Archive for the ‘Social Media Marketing’ Category

14,000+ Weekly Visits to Your Website. Realistic Goal? YES!

August 30th, 2012

These are real weekly stats received by Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. On average, Mutville’s website receives 10,000 to 20,000 visits per week. It fluctuates depending on the time of year,  news coverage, fundraisers, events, or campaigns under way.

Muttville’s website launched 5 years ago, and has steadily received this level of traffic for the last 3 years.

Interested in learning some of Muttville’s Marketing and PR efforts? Here is a list of some of the organization’s regular activities, both online and offline, to give you an idea:

 

 

Online Efforts

Blogging: Muttville posts 2-3 times a week. Every blog is shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Twitter: Muttville tweets every blog post, event, and dog profile as soon they are published. Profiles are retweeted until dogs are adopted.

Facebook: Muttville posts every blog post, event, and dog profile on Facebook as soon as they are published. They also have a custom Facebook tab with all links back to the website of each dog available for adoption. They also have custom tabs with links to various website pages: Give, Adopt, Foster, Volunteer.

YouTube: Muttville has accumulated a pretty decent library of videos. In November, we were pleased to have a new volunteer who studied film, and was interested in producing our very own Holiday themed video. Starring Muttvillle mutts, it was entitled “A Christmas Tail”. It launched December 22. By New Year’s Day, it had over 4000 views. Muttville plans on producing a documentary style video and a few more fun short films in 2012. A special video is produced every year and premiered at the annual fundraiser, Moolah For Mutts. This year’s video was called “Suma’s Story”.

Social Responsible Sites: Muttville is a beneficiary of various revenue-generating services, like KarmaWell, Rally.org and Causes.org. Participating on sites like these not only earns donations to non-profits like Muttville, it also offers a valuable Marketing opportunity for non-profits to share their missions and causes to new audiences.

Other Social Media: Muttville also uses Digg, Foursquare, Instagram, as well as countless shares to other sites, thanks to our supporters and volunteers.

Inbound Links: These are some of the highest sources of traffic. These sites posts Muttville’s dog profiles of adoptable dogs: The Shelter Pet Project, Petfinder, Dogtime, PetBond, Adopt-A-Pet. Weekly, these sites provide about 50% of the total site visitors. If you didn’t know the importance of effective inbound links, here are shining examples. Businesses can create similar traffic through affiliate marketing programs.

Email Marketing: Many Muttville supporters came to know this organization to adopt a dog or simply to offer a one time donation. Muttville continues to show gratitude to every supporter with on-going communication through email marketing efforts. Often times, the subjects of our newsletters are happy and positive, to share a success story from a fellow adopter, to share a personal heartfelt thanks from our founder,  and sometimes to celebrate special occasions with our pets. Once a year, the efforts are focused for the annual Matching Grant Fundraiser.

Contests: Muttville enters many contests every year. The benefits are plenty –  a chance to repurpose excellent collateral – videos, photos, and advertisements – produced by professionals (all volunteers). The marketing and promotion efforts for the call-to-action (i.e. votes or FB likes or watching a video) are shared with the company or business sponsoring the contest; it is a great excuse to team up with supporters; and the actions can be done by anyone who has access to a computer. Of course the biggest benefit are the prizes. This past year, Muttville won these prizes as a result of winning or placing in various contests:  a new Toyota Sienna, thanks to the Toyota 100 Cars For Good contest, SF Giants star pitcher Tim Lincecum promoted a Muttville dog and spent time taking photos and video, thanks to popchips, a $10,000 grant and the title “San Francisco’s Favorite Charity” by 7×7 Magazine, and a $5000 grant from Sliderocket.

Offline Efforts

Weekly Outreach Events: Every Sunday and many Saturdays, Muttville has outreach events at retail locations, outdoor city locations with heavy foot traffic, and even their own established “pup-up store”. For two months, Muttville occupied a former retail store in San Francisco and held adoption events on Saturdays an Sundays all December and January. It was perfect timing for the holidays. Later this year, Muttville will have a permanent location on 16th Street near Florida St in San Francisco.

Speaking Engagements: Sherri Franklin is known as an expert in senior canine care, and she has over a dozen speaking engagements under her belt, not to mention countless interviews for radio, TV and news. Speaking for various organizations and fundraisers has created widespread awareness of Muttville’s senior canine cause.

News and Radio: Publicist Patty Stanton takes every accomplishment Muttville achieves and announces it to every media contact she knows.  Plus, as Patty taught me, every accomplishment is a big deal if you make it a big deal.

Fundraisers: Who doesnt love a good party? There are many supporters that  splurge all their support into Muttville’s one big night every year. Smaller fundraisers are always great too, and always can attract new traffic from the venue, location or the donors who the space, provide auction items, catering, etc

Socially Responsible Businesses: Similar to socially responsible websites, Muttville is always honored to be the beneficiary of a fundraising event hosted and organized by a business that supports Muttville’s cause. Muttville shows its gratitude by cross-promoting these businesses and including the events on our website’s calendar, which always is posted to Muttville’s Facebook wall and tweeted to our twitter followers.

All these efforts are donated by volunteers. If you don’t have staff, try interns and students help get you started on a few of these tactics. Or give Switchblade a call!

Social Media Examiner’s “5 Ways to Build a Pinterest Following With Facebook”

August 7th, 2012

Thank you Social Media Examiner for this great advice. Even WE need to get up to speed and get this strategy going!

By
Originally Published August 7, 2012 Read original article on Social Media Examiner website

Are you looking to build a strong Pinterest following?

Did you know that you can integrate your Facebook and Pinterest marketing?

Yes, there’s a way to get Facebook fans to create exposure for you on Pinterest.

Establishing a large audience of followers on Pinterest is one of the most important aspects of a successful Pinterest marketing campaign.

Here’s the skinny: Although during the setup process you can choose to link your Pinterest account to your Facebook personal page, there is currently no way to automatically hook up to your Facebook fan page.

So what’s a business to do?

The truth is most business owners have not figured out a solution. They are failing on Pinterest because they think that they have to build a new following from scratch. Well, that is patently untrue.

Here are five ways to use Facebook to build your Pinterest following.

#1: Get a Pinterest Tab for Your Facebook Fan Page

The easiest thing to do is just go to Woobox and create a Pinterest tab for your Facebook fan page.

wooboxEasily get a Pinterest tab for your Facebook fan page from Woobox.

It’s very simple to do and requires little to no technical skills. Within minutes, you can have your Pinterest account in front of thousands of your fans! This way, whenever people come to your Facebook page to either check out your latest posts or learn more about you, they can also see that you are on Pinterest.

The Pinterest tab allows fans to view all of your boards and even your pins while staying on the Facebook platform. They will not be transferred over to Pinterest until they try to repin or comment on one of your pins.

pinterest tab fb fan pageWithin just a few clicks you can easily create a Pinterest tab for your Facebook fan page.

inside the pinterest tabInside the Pinterest tab as seen on the Facebook fan page.

#2: Post Pinterest Links as Updates on Your Facebook Page

There are a few different ways to use your Facebook status updates to promote your activity on Pinterest.

One way to build your follower base is to share the direct link to your Pinterest page as a status update and tell your fans WHY they should follow you on Pinterest.

What helpful information or cool contests will they have access to? Are there exclusive promotions? Why should they follow you on Pinterest AND Facebook?

facebook status update exampleExample post of a Facebook status update promoting a Pinterest business account.

The more specific you can be about the type of value you are creating for your followers on Pinterest, the more likely your fans will join you there too.

#3: Promote Specific Boards on Your Facebook Page

On Pinterest, people can choose to either follow all, or just a few, of your boards.

Because of that feature, you may find success promoting specific Pinterest boards on your Facebook fan page.

I recommend you promote a few different boards throughout the week.

That way, you have the opportunity to showcase your Pinterest account to a wider audience on Facebook, and you can introduce them to the diverse areas of value shared on your Pinterest page.

There are two ways you can promote a specific Pinterest board on Facebook.

  • Update your status by uploading an image of a pin to Facebook. Add a description and include a link to the board on which that pin is featured.
facebook pinterest board exampleExample Facebook post promoting a particular Pinterest board.

This works well if you have a really compelling image, because it will be granted more space on the Facebook newsfeed than a link.

  • Post the link to your Pinterest board as part of a status update. An image of one of your pins on that board will be automatically generated.
full board viewGenerate a full board preview (photo and all) by posting the board’s direct URL .

Posting the link will also automatically include the text in your board description.

Make sure that you add proper descriptions of the content when setting up your boards. I’m always amazed by how few people take advantage of this opportunity.

Look how brilliantly realtor Raj Qsar utilizes this space for his branding purposes.

His board description reads:

“Raj Qsar & Premier Orange County Real Estate – is one of the most dominant Real Estate Teams in the Orange County Real Estate Market. For over 15 years Team Raj Qsar has held the philosophy to give the best service and most qualified advice to both buyers & sellers.

Implementing honesty and integrity at the highest level possible and to enjoy the entire process along the way. We are truly passionate about real estate.”

raj qsar teamTake advantage of the description area below your board titles for adding value to your brand and board.

To add a description to one of your boards, simply click Edit Board and fill in the Description field.

edit boardAdd a description to your board by clicking the “Edit Board” button at the top of your Pinterest board page.

#4: How to Promote a Particular Pin

Sometimes the best way to really serve your Facebook community is to highlight the value that you are providing in one particular pin.

This is a great way to get maximum exposure when pinning your own original content. Remember these posts can and will be shared across Facebook by your fans.

The same two strategies apply here, as they do to promote a specific board above. You can either upload the image of the pin as a status update (or include a link in the image description), or you can just include the direct link to the pin in your status area.

promote a particular pinPromote a particular pin by pasting the pin’s direct URL into your Facebook status update.

When you post a direct link to a pin as a status on Facebook, the following information will be automatically added and visible:

  • The image of your pin
  • The name of the board that includes the pin
  • The caption that has been added to your pin

So make sure you have fully optimized both your board title and caption for maximum impact. Focus on creating intriguing board titles and including a further explanation of value in the caption.

#5: Promote Your Pinterest Contests on Facebook

Contests and promotions are becoming all the rage on Pinterest. They are a very effective way to quickly add a lot of new followers and drive a ton of traffic to your site.

Unlike Facebook, there are no real restrictions regarding the way contests are promoted and hosted on Pinterest. A great way to leverage both platforms is to promote your Pinterest contest on your Facebook fan page.

pinterest contest facebook fan pageExample of how Bergdorf Goodman promoted their Pinterest contest on their Facebook fan page.

Bergdorf Goodman recently promoted their Pinterest contest on their Facebook fan page by posting an image of one of the prizes with a brief explanation. They included a link to their blog within the description of the image where fans could find more details about how to enter.

Hopefully you’ve found these five ways to use Facebook to build your audience on Pinterest helpful. I know from personal experience that introducing your fan base to your presence on Pinterest is an effective way to get more followers.

Despite all the hype surrounding Pinterest, Facebook is still the largest social media network. Why not leverage the audience you have already built there and let them fast-track your success on Pinterest?

So what do you think? Can you see the benefits of using Facebook to get more followers on Pinterest? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Senior Dogs Rockin’ Photo Shoot at the Fillmore!

June 18th, 2012

Misty K at The Fillmore's soundboard with Mark Rogers

Thanks to Pet Food Express, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue got a very special day at the famous and historical music venue The Fillmore for a fun “music-themed” photo shoot. The photos will be showcased at this year’s 2012 San Francisco Pride Parade, where Muttville mutts and volunteers will be cruising their Muttmobile, a 2012 VW Beetle given to them by Oprah Winfrey, and special guests Jane Wiedlin and Gina Schock of  The Go Go’s are joining them to support senior dog rescue.

April 17 was a FUN day with music, mutts, cameras, lights, and…THE FILLMORE!! Muttville Senior Dog Rescue teamed up with Pet Food Express for a special series of “My Mutt” photos, and will be showcasing them at this year’s SF Pride Day parade and future events thereafter.

Ocean at The Fillmore

Model senior mutts Pepper (parents Jen and Steph), Ruby and Scrabble (mom Yoko), and Misty K (dads Joe and Rafael) took over The Fillmore and did their best rockstar poses. Photographer Mark Rogers made sure they were in their best light. Fillmore crew Tony, Deanne, and Amie made sure the venue was set up with the same rockstar treatment that every band receives who graces the stage. They offered delectable treats in the green room to keep them energized.

My dog Ocean came as part of the assisting crew, but we had fun sneaking in our own shots…heehee. She did such a great job assisting, Mark gave Ocean her own rockstar shots too. She will be joining the series with photos at another historical venue, Bimbo’s (or Bottom of the Hill. She’s still deciding.. “plush bar or dive bar”?)

“8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses” by Geoffrey James

April 23rd, 2012

We are re-posting this excellent article from Geoffrey Jamesoriginally published in Inc. Magazine. We all aspire to be an extraordinary boss, and if we aren’t there yet, this article is a great inspiration for guidance.

sherri franklin muttville

Sherri Franklin, Founder and Executive Director of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, is one of my examples of an extraordinary boss

 

The best managers have a fundamentally different understanding of workplace, company, and team dynamics. See what they get right.

 

A few years back, I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs in the world in order to discover their management secrets. I learned that the “best of the best” tend to share the following eight core beliefs.

1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.

Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of “troops” to order about, demonize competitors as “enemies,” and treat customers as “territory” to be conquered.

Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers … and even competitors.

2. A company is a community, not a machine.

Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by “pulling levers” and “steering the ship.”

Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community–and company–at large.

3. Management is service, not control.

Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they’re told. They’re hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the “wait and see what the boss says” mentality.

Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and intervening only in emergencies.

4. My employees are my peers, not my children.

Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can’t be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.

Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.

5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.

Average bosses see fear–of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege–as a crucial way to motivate people.  As a result, employees and managers alike become paralyzed and unable to make risky decisions.

Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they’ll be a part of it.  As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization’s goals, truly enjoy what they’re doing and (of course) know they’ll share in the rewards.

6. Change equals growth, not pain.

Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change … until it’s too late.

Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don’t value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.

7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.

Average bosses adhere to the old IT-centric view that technology is primarily a way to strengthen management control and increase predictability. They install centralized computer systems that dehumanize and antagonize employees.

Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to the tools, like smartphones and tablets, that people actually want to use.

8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.

Average bosses buy into the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.

Extraordinary bosses see work as something that should be inherently enjoyable–and believe therefore that the most important job of manager is, as far as possible, to put people in jobs that can and will make them truly happy.

SlideRocket Contest Honors Muttville 3rd Place & $5000 Prize

April 17th, 2012

Kudos to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue & our amazing Marketing team that created this Sliderocket presentation that won the senior mutts 3rd place and $5000! Our dedicated, talented volunteers – Celine who crafted the engaging presentation, Kira who photographed all the lovely photos and who also is on the Tweet team, plus all the supporters who voted and helped spread the word by Facebook, Twitter and our email campaigns to get the votes that rose us to the top – an amazing example of social media marketing working for good!

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue knows how to market. One of the best presentations in terms of creating an identifiable (and lovable) brand, Muttville entertains the viewer and pulls at their heart strings at the same time. The judges loved Muttville’s visuals, particularly the backgrounds, coupled with giant, easy to read fonts that build with just the right tempo. And of course a fun music track keeps you watching.” Thank you Sliderocket!

We’ve been asking folks to Watch and Share to win this contest for 2 months! Please continue to watch and share simply to spread the joy of senior dogs!

Muttville voted Favorite San Francisco Charity in 7×7 Magazine: Behind-the-scenes of the Successful Marketing Campaign

December 28th, 2011
7x7 Magazine Favorite San Francisco Charity Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

7x7 Magazine Favorite San Francisco Charity Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Our campaign was strategic, structured and relentless! Find out how we ran the successful marketing campaign that drove thousands of fans to vote EVERYDAY (that’s right!) for Muttville and led to being named San Francisco’s Favorite Charity in 7×7 Magazine.

The night that 7×7 Magazine announced the winner of their San Francisco Favorite Charity contest, the Muttville Team Leaders honored to be present at the announcement party, Patty Stanton, Anne Lauck, Caroline Kaps, and myself, along with our mentor, founder Sherri Franklin, were already beaming with excitement and pride to be one of the seven finalists in a room of amazing non profit organizations: Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California, Lyon-Martin Health Services, MYEEP, Minds Matter, Saving Grace Rescue, and the Asian Women’s Shelter.

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue announced as winner of San Francisco Favorite Charity Contest in 7x7 MagazineWhen the announcement came and the big 8 foot check had Muttville’s name on it, we were floored, overwhelmed with happiness and joy, and most of all, grateful and honored.

Sherri really did almost fall to her knees from weakness as she smiled and tried to speak into the microphone!

As we look back on the day when we first received the announcement of a contest by 7×7 to win a grant generously donated by PG&E for $10,000, in October, we knew this was an opportunity for Muttville, not just financially but the connection to 7×7 and the potential press in 2012 could really bring us new exposure to a wider audience.

A social media and online email marketing campaign was in the works immediately. Since voting was everyday, we needed to be dedicated to daily posts and multiple daily tweets plus working in a newsletter campaign that didn’t pound our supporters over the head too often, nor did we want to put out too many messages to our subscribers and drown out important messages.

A few things to note about Muttville’s overall marketing strengths:

  • Muttville had a system and schedule in place for blogs and email marketing. Therefore Muttville’s communication with supporters via email and social media was very consistent. Subscribers already looked forward to our regular communication, such as weekly blog series Success Stories and Adopted Mutts of the Week, along with newsletters with stories from founder Sherri Franklin.
  • Our social media is always very active, with every blog post, event, and newsletter being shared to Facebook and Twitter immediately.
  • Our interaction with fans and supporters is also strong. Facebook interaction is on average 90% of posts, and Muttville engages with its fans on Facebook everyday. The Facebook page gains 100 + new Likes every week.
  • Muttville has outreach events every weekend, and is accessible both offline and online.
  • Volunteers interface with people in a variety of ways: events, traditional mail, email, and Social Media. And fosters meet potential adopters throughout the week, which means new folks being introduced to Muttville.

When time came to drive a campaign that required daily participation, we knew our fans would rally for us and we could be in the top 49. With every post reminder to vote, practically every single post was liked and commented. Folks even thanked us for the reminder! We diligently posted on Facebook every single day. We tweeted several times a day every day. We got a suggestion from a supporter, “Why not put it smack dab on your front page?” Why not? So we added it right below our call to action “doggie chain”. We let people know what $10,000 can provide to Muttville: much needed surgery for Timminy, physical therapy for Lady Tara, eye surgery for Casper. We strive to let folks know in detail where funds and donations are spent.

When the announcement that we made the Top 7 was made in November, we knew that we really had do turn on the turbo to maintain another month of daily voting pleas! This was important and we needed our supporters to know!
We launched the email marketing campaign and thanked our supporters for their daily votes, and kept the spirits high. Through the newsletter and the home page, Muttville’s website gave people the option to sign up for daily email reminders to vote. Hundreds of people signed up! So Muttville was reminding people by email, Facebook, and Twitter every single day. That daily activity was reaching over 5000 people with each reminder. That number doesn’t even including others forwarding on to their friends and social networks. We often received messages from our supporters saying that they sent daily reminders to others too!

The key effort in this campaign was simply communication. Our fans and supporters from all over the world were ready to help the senior dogs, we just needed to reach as many people as possible, and reach them EVERY DAY without tiring the message or nagging for support. Scroll through our Facebook page to see different ways we posted the message. Often it was casual, but we always included a personal note, and we tried to always “like” every comment to let fans know that we are always listening and grateful for the support. Interaction and engagement is key in maintaining and building an active social network. We want everyone to feel they are an important part of Muttville.

During this campaign we had other big announcements that launched: Our annual Matching Grant Challenge, plus Muttville’s first ever Pup up Adopt Shop. It was easy for the messages to get muddled or drown each other out, or worse overwhelm supporters. We kept each message and call-to-action separate and gave each its own voice. There was a different tone to each campaign as well as a different focus in its strategic effort.

Of course with all this flurry of voting, it is still a mystery how many votes we were actually receiving throughout the campaign. We were as nervous as the others as we awaited to hear the winning organization.  When we won, we knew who we had to tell first…our fans and supporters. Ready in the wings, Carol, Muttville’s website developer sent out a newsletter and updated the website’s home page within minutes, and we posted to Facebook with a photo:

7x7 Magazine Favorite Charity Contest winner Muttville Senior Dog RescueIt was really amazing to see the number of Likes posted within minutes and throughout the night! We could barely keep up reading the comments. And the 30 shares was just unbelievable! Keeping our valued supporters close to the excitement in the moment with Muttville was very important, and we could feel them right there with us, thanks to Facebook.

I’ve been asked by several organizations to give any advice and insight as to how Muttville got all those votes. I’d love to share social media networking tips with all who contact me. One thing that must be noted: dog lovers and animal advocates are some of the most passionate and dedicated folks I have ever known. Perhaps because the love of animals is one thing we all can relate to and have in common, regardless of culture, status, age, gender, or history. Muttville’s special niche, senior dogs, might also remind us all of our own mortality.

Its not over yet! We continue to thank supporters, keep them in the loop, and share Muttville’s successes with them everyday. We hope to share more news when Muttville is featured in the March 2012 issue of 7×7 Magazine and the organiztion can build new connections with the Bay Area, thanks to this special honor.

The Business of Saving Lives: Cause Marketing for Animal Welfare & Rescue Groups

November 2nd, 2011








Switchblade Creative Studios attended the 2011 “No More Homeless Pets” Conference, hosted by Best Friends Animal Society. As one of 5 representatives of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, I was incredibly honored to not only proudly represent Muttville, but to be surrounded by over a thousand animal rescue advocates and over 40 rescue groups from across the nation.

Muttville team leaders with our mentor/founder Sherri Franklin (center). L-R: Ellen Lazarus, Anne Lauck, Sherri Franklin, Marie Macaspac. Patty Stanton

Marketing, branding, and social media are my specialties, so I was espcecially enlightened to be discussing these topics with a focus on animal rescue. It renewed my creativity and helped me see my work in new ways.  A great feeling was returning for lunch or a meeting with my crew and sharing what we had learned in the various sessions, from fundraising to events to volunteers. We were all fired up with ideas and couldn’t wait to get back home and put these ideas to work!

We also realized that Muttville has the talent and the drive to grow and become wildly successful. We were inspired by “Austin Pets Alive” and one of their directors, Dr. Ellen Jefferson. In just 3 years they grew to be the largest rescue organization in Austin amongst 80+ groups, and they now have their own clinic. What an inspiration! We thankfully had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Jefferson and tell her how much we admired their work.  We also had the opportunity to hear from several leaders in animal rescue: Rich Avenzino, a founder of the No Kill Movement and former director of SFSPCA,  Michael Arms, CEO of the Helen Woodward Animal Center, and Becky Robinson, founder of Alley Cat Allies and founder of the TNR program.

What an experience. The business of saving lives – yes this is what Switchblade is all about.

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

The Importance of Brand Reputation

May 18th, 2011

Sony Computer Entertainment America has been facing their most challenging crisis to date with their online community, PlayStation Network. A huge blow for the entire Sony brand, executives struggle to rescue its reputation and in the eventual future, regain the trust of millions of customers whose private information was exposed. Do fans and customers feel Sony is doing a good job addressing the issue? As social media experts, we feel that they have yet to tackle the need for online community and crisis management. Nor have they even utilized social media and the powerful tools it offers to effectively reach out to their once/still(?) loyal fans and customers. Needless to say, many of their critics are using social media..and in a big way….to offer their two cents on what they think of Sony’s “crisis management” strategy.

Gamasutra‘s Colin Campbell gave his take on the SCEA crisis in an article we are re-posting originally published April 29, 2011, “Opinion: PlayStation Brand Faces Uncertain Future“:

[All brands face distressing episodes at one time or another. Some work their way through the crisis with smart PR and social outreach. Others aggravate the situation with secrecy and tired deflective tricks. Which one is Sony? Gamasutra business editor Colin Campbell investigates.]

There was a time — let’s say, for argument’s sake, from 1996 to 2004 — when the PlayStation brand was awe-inspiring. PlayStation represented all the shining possibilities of the future. Brilliantly, PlayStation ran with the goodwill Sony built up in the 1980s with the Walkman, and super-boosted this reputation for design and technical excellence as well as a natural empathy for what people wanted.

But things do tend towards entropy. Today, the PlayStation brand is in gentle decline. And the events of the past week could accelerate that decline into something more serious. Especially if Sony continues to handle the crisis with the incompetence it has thus far demonstrated.

Brands are weird. They are both robust and delicate. On the one hand, the mythos of Sony’s excellence doesn’t just go away, any more than Toyota’s formidable reputation did after its troubles last year.

On the other, the brand has already slipped from pre-eminence to also-ran, and this debacle can’t do it any good. The PlayStation brand has been in decline for the entire life-cycle of PlayStation 3, while the Xbox and Nintendo brands have been steadily rising even through their own turmoils, like RROD and Wii’s general faddishness. Unarguably, PlayStation is no longer a byword for next generation entertainment.

If Sony wants to come through this present crisis with the PlayStation brand relatively unsullied it needs to make some big changes to how it approaches the outside world, and how it views itself. Sony has always behaved like a dictator, benevolently dispensing information to favored sycophants according to its own desires. But we live in an age of communal equality, of disrespect and distrust of authority. The sycophants are still there. But fewer and fewer people are listening.

The people demand that errant brands ‘fess up, tell us what the hell is going on, and they’d better be polite about it.

I spoke to Karen Post, author of Brand Turnaround: How Brands Gone Bad Returned to Glory (due to be published in the fall by McGraw-Hill). She points out that smart brands can turn disaster into a win.

“A few years back JetBlue experienced a major operational meltdown, leaving passengers in an awful, compromised place. Once the dust and emotions settled, JetBlue made major improvement to their customer service and operational policies and even created a highly publicized Passenger Bill of Rights that has now been adopted by the industry.”

It is no coincidence that JetBlue spends a lot of time and effort on its social media outreach, using its blogs as a fun way to connect with people, instead of merely a dreary corporate mouthpiece and bucket for PR assets, which is the norm in the game industry.

Domino’s Pizza has scored a lot of success in the last 12 months by admitting that its pizzas were kinda nasty, and offering a better product. This sort of humorous groveling has its place, although I doubt it would work for Sony, because the company sells stature, not comfort. It sells the idea of power, which is difficult to square with overtly goofy marketing.

Toyota’s approach was to remind people that it has a long record of excellence and that, surely, takes precedence over the small matter of an eight million car recall and alleged loss of life. But old games consoles don’t play as well as classic cars, and I think Sony will need to look forward and not back.

Some brands — for example bona fide scumbags like BP and Goldman Sachs — seem to be able to get away with deflecting blame elsewhere and utilizing various dirty PR tricks. But Sony is not selling oil or greed, it’s selling pretty electronic gadgets and entertainment. It’s selling a dream, and so it needs to make sure its response chimes with the brand’s own properties of being in tune. It needs to be loved. This is why the duff notes coming out of Foster City are so excruciating.

A Sorry Spectacle

Here’s a little test for you. Which of the following statements are you most likely to agree with in one year’s time.

A: “Sony handled that situation amazingly. They held their hands up and took appropriate share of blame. They outlined a clear plan of action to remedy the situation and they made sure all stakeholders were recompensed beyond reasonable expectations. They showed their human side and came out of this a stronger company.”

B: “It just kinda went away, didn’t it? Sony entirely laid the blame on the hackers, launched a lot of legal flak, refused to take any responsibility, offered the minimum clarity and token recompense. But no-one cares any more. At least they’ve encrypted my personal data now.”

I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that answer B is looking a whole lot more likely than answer A.

So far, Sony’s response has been predictably pitiful. The best it could do was send out an email and post a blog Q&A. Sony’s bloodless blog update makes depressing reading. Here is Sony skirting with the issue of its own culpability…

“We sincerely regret any inconvenience or concern this outage has caused.”

Note the phrase “this outage,” as if it were an unfortunate spot of inclement weather.

The statement ought to have said…

“We made a mistake here. We picked a fight we couldn’t win, and, even with an attack highly likely, we neglected to protect your stuff.”

You’ll note that when it comes to protecting its own data, copyrights, money, margins, power, Sony is the model of efficiency and scruples. This is why GamePro called Sony’s slowness to inform the public “an astounding breach of trust.” When Sony wants to be good at something, everything is dandy.

Sony’s poor record in PR is nothing new. Ars Technica’s Ben Kuchera tweeted, “Sony, as a company, has been utterly tone deaf throughout the entirety of the news cycle. I can’t think of a single right move Sony has made in the PR department in the past three months.”

Pat Garratt at VG247 noted, “This long-lasting silence is Sony’s biggest failing, not just because it shows disrespect for users, but also because it left time for misinformation, rumor, speculation and lies — the four horsemen of the PR disaster apocalypse.”

Sony, and some of its apologists, are already making the case that this whole mess is NOT SONY’S FAULT. In the company’s blog post, it uses the phase “malicious attack” twice, and refers to the “criminal” act, also twice. I don’t deny that Sony is the victim of a criminal act. But, so’s the bumbling bank manager who leaves the vault door open. This attempt to deflect all the blame on the hackers is a sorry spectacle.

I’m not here to drag Sony through the mud for its incompetent custodianship of your data. Rather for its inability to respond to the crisis. For me, the Sony PlayStation brand is being eroded by Sony’s own charmless posturing. The most human thing to come out of the company this week was the statement that the hackers would be hunted down “no matter where in the world they might be located.” Surely this is the least attractive response imaginable; the cry-baby tough guy.

Where’s Kevin Butler?

What Sony conspicuously lacks is a likable human being who can get in front of the cameras and make us feel some empathy with the brand — a real-life Kevin Butler. (Oh for good ol’ Phil Harrison about now.)

The company should be booking halls around the country and inviting PSN users in for an open Q&A — hosted by a genuine tough-journalist, not some rent-a-mic ass kisser — all shown live and connected to an impressive social media wave. All the nasty stuff’s got to come out sooner or later — better this way than in some painful Senate investigation on CSPAN.

Instead of leaving hundreds of loyal followers bobbing around in the frigid seas of its blog, questions unanswered, Sony should have a small armies of nice people contacting the fans directly, offering encouragement and support.

Sony should be booking ads outlining exactly what it’s doing, and releasing video docs on YouTube showing us men in white coats explaining what happened, how it’s going to be fixed, and what the affected consumers should do. Deutsch/LA should be working on a new ad right now in which Kevin Butler does his thing, getting everyone on board Sony’s transparent and believable story about the crisis.

Right now, highly influential outlets like Reddit are teeming with funny virals about Sony. One cartoon shows PlayStation 3 as a useless first date because it’s “insecure.” Another riffs on the Scumbag Steve meme, positing Sony as a sociopath. There’s even a re-appearance of Kanye.

These are the messages that are leaving the biggest impression. Maybe Sony thinks it can drown out all this noise with a big, deflective E3 showing, or an ad campaign on Fox later in the year, or some free DLC. If so, they’re wrong.

Here’s Sony’s problem. In order for people to allow the brand into their lives, they have to identify with its values. Sony’s values have always been attractive and alluring. Right now, Sony is hiding. That’s not attractive. It does not allure. It frustrates and it annoys.

I asked Karen Post what’s the worst things a brand like Sony could do right now. She said, “Fail to focus on finding answers. Fail to be transparent and honest. Behave like cry babies. Underestimate social media.”

Sound familiar?

[As well as being business editor for Gamasutra, Colin Campbell works for a marketing agency. You can follow him on Twitter at @md311.phpwebhosting.combrandnarrative.]

“Why Your Website Most Likely Needs a Privacy Policy and What Must Be In It” by Doug Bend

May 4th, 2011

We have a guest blogger, Doug Bend, of “The Law Office of Doug Bend”, with some very important advice that is often overlooked.

 

The California Online Privacy Protection Act requires a website to “conspicuously post” a privacy policy if it “collects and maintains personally identifiable information from a consumer residing in California.”

“Personally identifiable information” is defined very broadly to include a first and last name, a physical address, an e-mail address, a telephone number, or any other information that permits the contact of an individual.  So, even if you are not selling a product, your website will need a privacy policy if visitors can submit their e-mail addresses to receive news and updates from you.

If a privacy policy is required, it must contain five items:

  1. Information Collected – The categories of personal information the website collects.
  2. The categories of third-parties with whom the company shares the information.
  3. How the consumer can review and request changes to their information collected by the company.
  4. How the company notifies consumers of material changes to its privacy policy.
  5. The effective date of the privacy policy.

If you are required to have a privacy policy, it must be “conspicuously posted.”  The policy is conspicuously posted if it:

  1. Appears on the homepage of your website – usually not an aesthetically pleasant option.
  2. The website can have an icon on the home page that contains the word “privacy” – not a bad option.
  3. The most popular option is to have a link at the bottom of the homepage that contains the words “Privacy Policy.”

Under the California Unfair Competition Law, website operators who do not comply with the California Online Privacy Protection Act could be sued by the California Attorney General, District Attorneys, County Counsel, or City Attorneys for ”unfair competition.”

Privacy policies vary depending on how the website collects and uses consumer information, but a good example is the privacy policy for Modify Watches, which can be viewed here.

The key is to not only make sure the privacy policy complies with the law, but to also have the policy be easy to understand so visitors do not get frustrated with legalese when trying to determine how their personal information is being collected and used by your website.

Disclaimer: This post discusses general legal issues, but it does not constitute legal advice in any respect.  No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Doug Bend expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this post.

This blog was originally published on www.bendlawoffice.com and re-published with permisson from its author, Doug Bend.