Posts Tagged ‘graphic design’

Online Marketing for Brian Barneclo’s “Systems Mural Project”

February 1st, 2012

Client: Brian Barneclo

Challenge: Brian’s passion project called “Systems Mural Project” is slated to be the largest mural in San Francisco. To become reality, Brian needed our assistance to raise funds from sponsors and investors.

Switchblade Solution: We optimized the Systems Mural Project website for social media networking, produced the marketing/sponsorship presentation, and continue to support fundraising events. Brian is roughly 50% closer to his fundraising goal, and is confident that he will be painting his 600 ft wall in July 2011. Switchblade continues to drum up sponsorships and awareness in the community and across San Francisco. We will continue to support Brian and provide online marketing support, and will manage press coverage throughout his mural painting dream.

UPDATE: Brian’s Systems Mural was officially completed in September 2011.  Read our blog article.

Also, check out this article about Brian Barnecilo and Systems Mural in SFGate.

And visit the new site at

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue Reaches 2000 Facebook Likes in Less Than 4 Months

September 16th, 2011
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue  Facebook

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue on Facebook:

Congrats to Muttville! A pretty awesome achievement. How was it done? Read on….

Back in May, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue had the unfortunate task of replacing a Facebook GROUP page and building a brand new Facebook Business Page. In May, Facebook announced that Group pages were changing in a way that would limit the way Muttville communicates with its members. Another misfortune was the timing. Muttville had just launched its “1000th Senior Dog Rescue” Celebration with several media, press and new online and website material. Alot of marketing and on top of that they had to start a brand new Facebook page starting with 0 Likes!

Muttville actually wished they originally started their Facebook presence with a Business page, but after accumulating almost 2000 members on the Group page, it seemed like a daunting task. Group pages are limited in the level of customization that can be done, so in reality Muttville was missing out on opportunities to reach out to Facebook users as a result of being “stuck” in a Group page. Facebook was not going to accommodate requests from hundreds of Group page owners requesting to change Group pages into Business Pages.

The good news was that the creation of the new Muttville Facebook Business Page could be tied in with the ongoing campaign celebrating Muttville’s 1000th. Switchblade was up for the challenge! We were already a driving force behind the 1000th dog campaign and were already well-tuned with the high level customization tools available for Facebook Business pages.

Switchblade created several custom tabs for the new Muttville Facebook page upon launch:

  • Welcome Page with different message for Fans vs Non-Fans that linked to
  • 1000th Rescue Celebration with several links back to
  • Become A Mutt Guardian: a sign up drive was part of the celebration. It led back to a main page on
  • Our First 1000 Dogs: A fun new interactive page showcasing all 1000 dogs rescued to date that lived on
  • Our Mutts; Adopt Me!: Muttville’s RSS Feed of each adoptable dog’s profile was instantly posted on the Wall, and also a custom tab listed the latest 40 dogs for adoption.
  • Join the Muttville Family: Muttville is always looking for volunteers, donations,  fosters, and adopters. Here was special page that quickly and easily directed folks to the right page to learn more info and sign up.
  • Youtube: Videos increase the chances of our dogs getting adopted, and Muttville has a steadily growing library of videos.
  • Muttville Merchandise: Muttville’s brand has always been quite popular so Switchblade manages an online store with every possible clothing item imaginable, from human gear (undies, sweats, tees) and doggy clothing and bandanas. Again, it is a feed that directs them straight to the store.
  • Muttville “Woofs” You guessed it, here are tweets fed onto a custom tab. Muttville consistently tweets every day, from dog profiles, upcoming events, and sharing informative tweets from its following.
  • Check-In: We also merged the “Places” page with the Business Page so that folks could “check in” when dropping by Muttville Manor.

Muttville steadily and consistently grew their Likes on average 10 new Likes per day. At that rate, you can see that they easily would reach at minimum 400 new Likes per month. From June through mid-July, Switchblade managed Muttville’s social media campaign to promote “Moolah For Mutt”, their annual fundraiser. In that time span, numbers were above average with multiple marketing strategies in progress and at that time there was a special custom tab to promote the fundraiser and sell tickets on the event’s webpage.

Interestingly, the 2000th Like arrived at 12:30am of the 16th of September from a fan in Kentucky!  That impressive number didn’t stay very long. New fans keep coming every hour. Muttville fans are very active on the page. For  new post, interaction occurs within the first 5 minutes, and it is very common to receive at least 10 likes or comments. But Muttville not only shares, they also regularly interact and comment too with their fellow rescues, supporters and fans outside of their page. Muttville engages and interacts with comments, photos and links, and shows their gratitude as often as possible to retailers hosting adoption events, folks who donate, volunteers, fosters, and publications with articles about Muttville.  Aside from online activity, Muttville is very active with monthly outreach events every weekend and countless “citizen marketers” who distribute Muttville cards and flyers everywhere they go.

How did Muttville reach 2000 Likes in less than four months? I guess it’s no secret with all this flurry of activity. What about adoption rates, one may ask? Google Analytics for the past week (Sept. 5-11) showed traffic of 17,000 visitors to The previous week was slightly higher at 22,000 visitors. Muttville publicist Patty Stanton informed us that Muttville receives an average of 3 adoption application per day. A weekly blog post congratulating the “Adopted Mutts of the Week” reports an average of 6 dogs with new homes per week.

Congrats to Muttville! Now on to the next achievement!!



Social Media Marketing or Traditional Marketing…or a Little of Both? What Works for You?

August 12th, 2011

I get alot of potential clients who find me because they are fans or followers of my existing clients, and they commonly say things like “I need to get my business on Twitter!!” or “How in the world do you do all those things on Facebook?”

My first response to the majority of these inquiries is, “Why?”
Why do you want to get your business started on Twitter?

If your answer is “Because everyone else is using it”, you may be surprised by my advice. Here are a few tips I’d like to share to help you decide what are the best marketing strategies for you and your business.

Choose a Marketing activity because you know you will enjoy doing it. If you were never interested in tweeting for fun, then you most likely won’t be effectively tweeting for your business. There are dozens of other marketing strategies that you are likely not doing, why not choose one that is appealing to you. Do you like to read magazines, newspapers, or blogs? Try starting a Digg or Delicious account where you can share articles you’ve read, as well as find articles and learn of new sources. Unless you are enlisting the services of a consultant like Switchblade Creative Studios, if you plan on managing your own social networks, it is best to select the ones that won’t feel like a “chore”.

Social networking doesn’t have to be online. Before there was the Internet, the term social networking already existed! Don’t forget that everyone can be a potential client. If you are a parent, get to know other parents through your child’s activities, participate in school volunteer activities, or join PTA type groups. We also strongly recommend volunteering with local non-profit organizations. Not only are you donating your time and services to a worthy cause, but it is also a great opportunity to meet new people who may become or recommend potential clients. The online resource has also helped revive “offline” social networking. Find interests groups that meet in person for regular meetings, outings, and social activities. And lastly, professional network groups, like BNI, are still proven to be a very effective way to grow your business’ clientele. Remember, everyone can be a potential client.

Social networking goes both ways. Whether you are socializing with online or offline networks, remember to give as well as receive. Imagine if everyone was only broadcasting: writing blogs, sending tweets, writing Facebook posts, passing out business cards….then nobody would be reading, commenting, responding, or sharing. If you want others to be a fan of your Facebook page, then be sure to Like other Facebook pages, share their wall posts, comment! If you want someone to recommend your business, it should be just as important to you to recommend clients to your network colleagues.

Don’t Try To Do Everything Yourself. Regardless of which marketing activities you choose to engage in, trying to do too many can end up being a waste of time. Thinly spreading your time ineffectively means that every effort appears half-a$$. Choose a few marketing activities and do them well. Or better yet, leave the marketing to experts. A complete marketing strategy that incorporates both offline and online strategies can be a key factor in the growth of your company.

5 Ways To Be A Socially Responsible Business

August 8th, 2011

It is easier than you think! Here are a few ways that any business can start contributing in positive ways with non-profit organizations:

1. Donate a few hours of your time as a volunteer. Non-profits always value a few hours a week from individuals interested in assisting at fundraiser events, administrative tasks, or even distributing marketing materials like postcards and flyers to local businesses. Its a great way to meet others and learn more about an organization’s needs

2. If you have a storefront, let local charity organizations know that you welcome their posters, flyers, handout materials, etc. This is a very easy way to show your support and/or affiliation with an organization. And while you are at it, let customers know about the organizations and encourage them to take a handout or check out an announcement.

3. Offer your services or products pro bono or as a donation. We think this is one of the most rewarding marketing activities a business can participate in. If you sell products, non-profits are grateful to receive samples, returns, or defective items that can not be sold to customers. If you provide a service, it gives your business an opportunity to demonstrate your skills to a new audience. The volunteers you may be working with could be employees for companies that can be potential clients. Additionally, if you are in creative services, like design or photography, here is a great way to fill up your portfolio!

4. Donate a Gift Certificate or Products. Most fundraisers include silent auctions or raffles as a way to raise money at events. Donating a gift certificate or products not only helps the organization raise money, you may also end up finding new customers and clients.

5. Promote organizations you support on your blog or social media pages. Let your colleagues, customers, and clients know who you support. Talk about how you or your business supports them, why you support their cause, and share ways that others can help. You can also promote a campaign that co-markets a charity. “Like our page/website and we’ll donate $1 for each new Like is  a popular promotion. When executed properly, it can be an effective way to promote your business while bringing awareness to a cause you support.

There are so many more ways to help. Your own customers may have suggestions for you, too! Did you notice we didn’t even include on our list the idea in the graphic above? FitnessSF put open barrels at two of their locations and requested much needed household items for the local dog rescue organization, Muttville. Great idea, FitnessSF!

Do you have a great idea t oshare of how to help out a local charity? Please share with us by posting a comment below.

What Determines a Person’s “Generosity” Level?

August 1st, 2011
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue's Django

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue's Django

What determine’s how generous a person will become? Is it genetics? Is it experience?

According to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it could be in the genes. Read more about the study done at UC Santa Barbara’s Center for Evolutionary Psychology.

For a summary of the study (paraphrased in this article published in Fast Company written by, read below or click here.)


Is Generosity An Evolutionary Trait?
BY EARTHSKY.ORGWed Jul 27, 2011
Despite the assumptions of some economists and biologists, new experiments prove that natural selection favors treating others as if the relationship will continue–even when it’s rational to believe it will not.

According to evolutionary psychologists at the University of California at Santa Barbara, generosity–acting to help others in the absence of foreseeable gain–emerges naturally from the evolution of cooperation. This means that human generosity is likely to rest on more than social pressure; it is built in to human nature. Their findings appear in the July 25, 2011 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Imagine dining at a restaurant in a city you’re visiting for the first time–and, most likely, the last. Chances are slim to none that you’ll ever see your server again, so if you wanted to shave a few dollars off the tab by not leaving a good tip, you could do so. And yet, if you’re like most people, you will leave a nice tip anyway.
These commonplace acts of generosity–where no future return is likely–have long posed a scientific puzzle to evolutionary biologists and economists. In acting generously, the donor incurs a cost to benefit someone else. But choosing to incur a cost with no prospect of a compensating benefit is seen as maladaptive by biologists and irrational by economists. If traditional theories in these fields are true, such behaviors should have been weeded out long ago by evolution or by self-interest. According to these theories, human nature is fundamentally self-serving, with any “excess” generosity the result of social pressure or cultural conformity.
As Max Krasnow, UCSB Center for Evolutionary Psychology and one of the paper’s lead authors, says: “When past researchers carefully measured people’s choices, they found that people all over the world were more generous than the reigning theories of economics and biology predicted they should be. Even when people believe the interaction to be one-time only, they are often generous to the person they are interacting with.”
The UC Santa Barbara team used computer simulations to test whether it was really true that evolution would select against generosity in situations where there is no future payoff. Andrew Delton, the paper’s other lead author, says:
“Our simulations explain that the reason people are more generous than economic and biological theory would predict is due to the inherent uncertainty of social life. Specifically, you can never know for certain whether an interaction you are having right now will be one-time only–like interacting with a server in a distant city–or continue on indefinitely–like interacting with a server at your favorite hometown diner.”
Leda Cosmides, co-director of the Center for Evolutionary Psychology, adds:
“There are two errors a cooperating animal can make, and one is more costly than the other. Believing that you will never meet this individual again, you might choose to benefit yourself at his expense–only to find out later that the relationship could have been open-ended. If you make this error, you lose out on all the benefits you might have had from a long-term, perhaps life-long, cooperative relationship. This is an extraordinarily costly error to make.”
The other error is to mistakenly assume that you will have additional interactions with the other individual and therefore cooperate with him, only to find out later that it wasn’t necessary. Although you were ‘unnecessarily’ nice in that one interaction, the cost of this error is relatively small. Without knowing why, the mind is skewed to be generous to make sure we find and cement all those valuable, long-term relationships.”
The simulations, which are mathematical tools for studying how natural selection would have shaped our ancestors’ decision making, show that–over a wide range of conditions–natural selection favors treating others as if the relationship will continue–even when it is rational to believe the interaction is one-time only.
According to John Tooby, co-director of the Center for Evolutionary Psychology, economic and evolutionary models both predict that humans should be selfish in one time only situations. Yet, experimental work–and everyday experience–shows that humans are often surprisingly generous: “People who help only when they can see a gain do worse than those who are motivated to be generous without always looking ahead to see what they might get in return.”

Logo and Brand Identity for “Moolah For Mutts 2011: Night of 1000 Mutts”

July 21st, 2011

Moolah For Mutts: Night of 1000 Mutts

Client: Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Challenge: Client holds an annual fundraiser gala with a new theme each year. This year, the event was in a new, larger venue. Also, it was important to tie in the campaign to their year long celebration of their 1000th dog rescue. We were instrumental in the development of this celebration’s marketing materials so we were familiar with what we could work with.

Switchblade Solution: We already had been brainstorming ways to utilize the amazing display of all 1000 dog rescued that currently existed as an interactive webpage on We knew it would be show-stopping in print as well. We also crafted a well-received social media campaign and event interior design based on the theme “1000 mutts”. Read the fun details (and see some pictures) here.


Switchblade’s Contribution to Muttville’s Biggest Night of the Year, Moolah For Mutts: “Night of 1000 Mutts”

July 20th, 2011

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue‘s 3rd annual gala fundraiser, Moolah For Mutts, was a smash hit this year, raising much needed funds for the organization to continue its mission to rescue and find new homes for senior dogs slated for euthanasia. Switchblade has been a part of Muttville’s core team from the very beginning when Sherri Franklin officially started this non-profit group four years ago.

As part of the event’s planning committee, Switchblade’s contribution spanned roughly 5 months, with the special day taking place July 16, 2011. We are proud to share the creative process we helped lead and materialize into reality in print, online, and even the big screen.

Theme Development and Brand Identity

This year, the event moved to a larger space, the Swedish American Hall on Market Street in San Francisco.

It also moved to a fairly empty space. This brought some new challenges for this year’s event plans, to say the least.
Muttville was still amidst its celebration of its 1000th senior dog rescue. Taking these factors into consideration, we helped formulate this year’s theme: “Night of 1000 Mutts”. Tying in to the visuals we also designed for the 1000th rescue celebration, Switchblade developed the logo and brand identity, incorporating the sea of senior dog faces into marketing collateral for online and print.

What we love about using the 1000 faces of Muttville’s success stories is the interactivity with the website where all 1000 dogs are displayed with each one clickable to their original profile.  Not only was it a way to further share this page to the world, it was a seamless way to carry out the year long 100th rescue celebration if by chance a new visitor didn’t know about this milestone for Muttville.

Marketing and Social Media Campaign

“Night of 1000 Mutts” 6-week marketing and social media campaign further celebrated the 1000 Muttvile dogs rescued by spotlighting  a few lucky success stories. Below is an example of one lucky mutt, Waldo. We called the campaign “1000 Reasons To Attend This Year’s Moolah For Mutts”. Our social media activities systematically rotated on daily schedules with posts on Facebook three times a week, daily retweets, plus subscribers were also directly reached with timely email blasts. Within the final 2 weeks before the event, Switchblade also was excited to see our ads for the event in the San Francisco Chronicle and Bay Woof.

The campaign attracted great traffic on all of Muttville’s social networks. The variety of dogs and stories hit home for different audiences in different ways. With over 18 stories and dogs profiled, we hoped to connect with every possible compassionate animal loving person out there.

As the event sponsors and auction donors list  grew, we further developed the campaign with interaction and engagement with them via their Facebook and Twitter pages.

The event sold out and we were thrilled with the success of the campaign. Analytics showed activity on the website for Moolah For Mutts as well as Muttville’s website were steady as a result of the organized schedule followed by the marketing campaign’s activities.

Event Decor and Main Video

In order to maximize the financial success of the event, the committee did its best to have everything donated – from auction items, tables, A/V equipment, food, and beverages. About 90% was donated and if not it was discounted. The event’s sponsor, Pet Food Express, came through for the event when Switchblade, still keeping in mind the overall theme, “Night of 1000 Mutts”, asked Pet Food Express if Muttville could borrow their large mounted photographs from their “My Mutt” Program. Sized from 30′ to as large as 60′, Pet Food Express was able to offer almost 50 mounted posters. Upon entering the venue, guests were surrounded by larger than life canine faces on My Mutt posters.

PFE's Corey and Switchblade's Marie with My Mutt posters behind them

Attentive to even the smallest of details, the “1000 Mutts” theme was a part of every Muttville volunteer’s attire. Hanging from a long beaded necklace, each Muttville volunteer wore a different Muttville mutt photo accompanied by their profile story. Marie wore Collette, the foster dog she dearly loved who passed away in March 2011. (The blog article Marie wrote about Collette for Muttville was re-published by Bella Dog Magazine, and the issue was included in the goodie bags given to departing guests that night.)

Muttville volunteers Peggy, Marie, and Inger wearing Muttville dog photos and profiles

Switchblade’s most visible contribution was the main video presentation titled “The Next 1000 Mutts”  that celebrated Muttville’s successes and meant to bring heartwarming smiles to all in attendance. Founder Sherri Franklin gave a tearful speech then played the video to uplift their spirits.

Click here to watch “The Next 1000 Mutts”.


And we almost forgot to mention….Switchblade donated an item for the Live Auction – The design of a limited edition print titled “Our First 1000 Dogs”, with #1 of only 100 available framed and signed by Sherri Franklin. Read more about the big bucks this item raised for Muttville. (We were so excited by the winning bid that we just had to write about it in its own blog post!)

Logo and Brand Identity for Small Club

May 2nd, 2011

small club: big adventures for small dogs

Client: Small Club: “Big Adventures For Small Dogs”

Challenge: Client’s business was ready for a professional look, now that the business had grown in size and expanded its services. Client knew that he liked a simple clean look with a traditional style font with a subtle touch of modernity.

Switchblade Solution: A clean sharp canvas is a great way to showcase the colorful, bright photography of its canine clients. Small Club’s simple brand identity with the goal of being a canvas for photos also helped it to stand out for flyers and on message boards of vet offices, stores, dog parks. Read more about our design for Small Club’s website.


SEO and Online Marketing Strategy for Andrew Scoular’s Blue Turtle Spa

February 10th, 2011

Client: Andrew Scoular / Blue Turtle Spa

Challenge: Andrew has many goals for Blue Turtle Spa, both for his brick& mortar locations in San Francisco as well as his online store at Andrew was in need of marketing expertise to build an online clientele in preparation for his ultimate goal of developing his own line of skin care products.

Switchblade Solution: We came to Andrew’s rescue and consulted on how he could maximize his online efforts to build a brand. Andrew’s years of experience were clearly seen on his blog, Facebook profile, and YouTube Channel, but he needed our  help to optimize the media he had created to reach a greater audience with a Social Media Strategy.

Online Fundraising Campaign for Friends of SF Animal Care & Control

January 18th, 2011

Client: Friends of San Francisco Animal Care & Control

Challenge: Friends of SFACC President, Jane Tobin, was new to online marketing but knew that she wanted to reach a wider audience. Having worked together on the rain-out Pride Pride Day 2010, Jane gave us the opportunity to show her what we could do for her non-profit organization.

Switchblade Solution: Understanding the need to achieve an effective campaign with a small budget, Switchblade utilized valuable free or low-cost tools to utilize their large subscriber list of donors, sponsors, and volunteers. We organized a multi-level fundraising email campaign with a holiday plea for year-end donations.

Coupled with a traditional direct mail campaign, it was their largest outreach ever. With the success of this campaign, Switchblade and Friends of SFACC will likely be working on several campaigns in 2011 to raise much needed funds for shelter animals and programs for animal care.