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1.31.2011

Hitting Creative Walls?

One thing I encounter from time to time is a creative wall. Sometimes it can last a year which becomes very frustrating. I usually get myself into this pit when I try to force an idea that is not working or I start creating something and it just is not working. This starts to eat at my self confidence which in turn eats away at my creativity. I find it very interesting to see how personally my self confidence is linked intrinsically to my creativity. When I am up against of this creative wall, I find myself thinking about the piece in question that is giving me such issues all the time. For example, I have a canvas in my attic that is of a brown tree on a blue canvas. I started it when I felt very creative and had a great idea it about 3 years ago. At this point when I think about it now and again I try to solve the problem in my head which cumulatively has taken up a good bit of time in the past 3 years. I learned something in art school that I never really got until now. My professor would tell me to just paint over it. I could never get myself to do that, whether it was my pride or my need to solve problems I just could never just give up on an idea I had that I could not complete. But, now that I think about it painting over it would free my head up to use that time I spend trying to figure out that issue with that canvas to be creative with other projects. In life, and as well with art, you must be prepared to no when you lost and its time to move on. Don't waste your energy on something you have realized just doesn't work. Take what you have learned from that project and use it on the next project. But having these failures sit around unfinished wastes to much of your creative problem solving time that could be used on coming up with your next project.

What do you do to get past these walls?

1.27.2011

Is Groupon Appealing to the Growing Hispanic Market?

Is Groupon Appealing to the Growing Hispanic Market?

Groupon Mexico

I decided to do my research on an online company called Groupon. Groupon is an advertising company that markets deals of the day. Groupon works by having mass amounts of people subscribe to their service and once a day they send out a deal. The deal is usually a local deal and the customers pay a really low price for a voucher and then turn in that voucher to the business for the service or item. This is a great service that provides a way for a business to attract a lot of new customers with low risk since there is a critical mass.

So I chose to do research on how Groupon is reaching out to the Hispanic markets because it is one of the fastest growing companies right now. I thought it would be interesting to see how a young company that is growing extremely fast would handle this situation. The Hispanic market for marketing is huge… in 2008 Ad Age reported that $1.5 billion was invested in local Hispanic media so this is definitely something that Groupon is positioning itself to capture.

There are three major components that will make up success for a company like Groupon to succeed in the Hispanic market. They would need a minimum amount of consumers and the ability to get the interest of local advertisers. They then would need to understand how the online Hispanic market behaves, what sites they visit, what products they are interested in.

One of the major reasons why Groupon would do well in the Hispanic market is that according to the US Census Hispanic small business have increased by almost 45% which is twice the national average [1]. That would answer one of my components with enough local advertisers. Another major reason is the amount of Hispanics using the internet. Based on research done by the pew research center 18% of Hispanics use twitter compared to 8% of African American and 5% of Whites [2]. That is a pretty astounding number and should allow Groupon hit critical mass. I think the piece of the puzzle understands the Hispanic culture and its nuances in order to properly position itself.

What I have found is that Groupon is actually global. They have expanded to Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. I think as of now they are treating the American public as the same. They are allowing the interested companies be the one that decides what the product market is. I also have found a lot of upstart companies that are trying to carve out their niche as the Hispanic Groupon. So is Groupon missing the boat on the Hispanic market in the US? No, I really think they have it figured out. They are localized by nature so they are able to have demographics on each of their markets and the consumers and the businesses reflect that. What they have figured out is having a national corporation that plays differently depending on the market. So in Hispanic rich markets the ads they choose are ads that reflect the population that subscribes to their service. What other business knows their customer better than Groupon? They actually can provide business exact demographics compared to other advertising venues.

[1] US Census SEPT. 21, 2010 Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/business_ownership/cb10-145.html

[2] Pew Research. December 2010 Retrieved from http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1821/twitter-users-profile-exclusive-examination

1.26.2011

David Scott Rosen new Photography portfolio now online!

I am very excited to have finally stood up my online portfolio! After years of owning my name domain it finally has something great to point to. Please check out my site at www.davidscottrosen.com! Thanks!


David Rosen

1.22.2011

Snapfish versus Shutterfly

The battle of the online photo printers

Snapfish versus Shutterfly


I do have a love of photography and I think one of the great things about photography is the actual print. It is funny how people work. We have all this technology and IPads and photo frames but we still love a good photo book of our family and special occasions. I am approaching both sites as if I want to go ahead and create a book of my own.

First Impressions:
Shutterfly at first blush is a lot to take in. They have a very busy site but it seems like they feel like they need to show you that they can do it all. They have a great happy color scheme and there imagery is very child centric. Right off the top it is as if they read my mind. Photo Books are everywhere on the main page. There must be at least 3 or 4 links to printing books. The other thing I noticed off the top it looks like it is easy to sign up with a brief form and I will get 50 free prints. As a potential customer I can tell you I would try them out. I think these sites are great because they lure you in with the free prints but once you are on their site they have you because they give you a great place to store photos.

Snapfish has more of a toned down entrance with not as much clutter. They do have a very friendly flash animation to start off that has a playful fish. I think that is telling me that they are mom or grandma focused because of the cuteness and all the child pictures. I end up finding a link to the product I am looking for. I did notice they offer a similar deal but not as lucrative as Shutterfly. They also do not have the form right up front but you have to click through to begin filling it out. They basically gave up an easier route of signing people up for a cleaner look.

Clicking on the book:

I then clicked on the book on Shutterfly and landed on a very graphical site that basically provided me with two directions. The first was a simple path and the other was a custom path. But that is it… They have very limited examples for me to choose. But as I delve deeper into the process I notice that they are taking me step by step through the process. It actually becomes extremely simple for me to navigate and for me to choose what I want. One thing I thought was great was the integration they have right into your Facebook photo library. Once I chose the size of my book I began to upload my images which were a little slow to load but once it came up it was easy to interface with. I would say their overall process is geared towards a novice user because the directions are clear and simple and there are not too many options to complicate the process.

As I clicked through on Snapfish I found myself on a long page full of lots of different types of books. The variety of books far surpassed that of Shutterfly but it becomes a little more difficult to choose what I want with all of the options. The prices seem actually higher as well. One thing they do have to make my life a little easier is basically an easy button. They have something called Express Photo Books which removes most of the possible options and gets right to the point. It is obvious at this point I fall into their focused audience of books and that is young couples with kids. I do not see the facebook integration but they do have a way I can chat with one of their customer service employees.

Overall:

Overall I think it is interesting how at first look they were very much the same but as you take a good look at their operations they both have different approaches to their customers. Shutterfly had the appearance of providing a more affordable product and allowing you to create it pretty fast by limiting your options. Snapfish was a little pricier but you get to customize the product a little more to make it your own. So we can see how they are differentiating themselves from each other in order to gain advantage. I would say they both use the same strategy at keeping their customers. They offer you a lot of free swag in order to get you in because they feel that once they have you it becomes a lot more difficult for you to leave and go to their competition.

1.06.2011

Social Fitness!



So since it is the beginning of a new year everyone is trying to get fit. I figure I would list some good social networking fitness sites. Losing weight can be a lot more fun when you do it as a group. It also can be beneficial to have someone holding you accountable for your exercise.

Daily Mile
Share your training with friends and stay motivated.

Daily Burn
Best-in-class fitness plans, nutritional tracking, and social motivation to help you reach Your health and fitness goals

Fat Secret
All Things Food and Diet.

Spark People
Make your life an adventure.

Diet.com
Your nutrition and Health Solution

Extra Pounds
Weightloss Support+Motivation

Traineo
Traineo helps you lose weight by letting you track your progress through a unique way of getting friendly motivation.

Please send me more!!! I want to try to keep this site up to date! What do you use?



pardon the interupption now back to your regular scheduled program...

1.05.2011

Twitter Profile Picture Going Stale? Think Again.




So you think that your avatar on your twitter account is getting stale maybe? Avatars on twitter are a huge part of your personal brand. An avatar is a computer users representation of themselves it is pretty much your personal logo for twitter. It represents you and people associate it with your name.

This morning I logged onto twitter thinking about switching my avatar and I began to truly think about what it actually means to change your avatar. It is actually a critical part of your brand identity on twitter. Your brand Identity on twitter is made up by your name, your description, your avatar, your background image, and your writing style. (?) All of those items are who you are to people on twitter.

So after contemplating this and thinking about this in a corporate sense changing your avatar needs to be done carefully and with a full understanding as to the implications to your brand image. What if the GAP changed their logo on a weekly basis think about how that would affect their image? I truly believe once you have one in place stick with it and let it evolve slowly. There are avatars on twitter that drive me nuts, but you know what? I associate that icon with the quality of posts I have seen from them in the past. I don't know 99% of the people's names I follow on twitter but I can recognize their avatar if I saw them in a lineup. I for instance should care around a paper mustache so people recognize me if they see me in person.

One tweep @Minervity or Richard Darell has avatar he has stuck with for a very long time and it is embedded in my head with an association with mass amounts of data from bit rebel.

@ChrisVoss is a great tweep and he pushes out mass amounts of data, but he changes his avatar all the time. Personally every time he does it I think who is that guy and I have to figure out who it is again. Correction: I mentioned Chris Voss but I was wrong he has not changed his avatar in over a year. See... I have no idea who is that person is! :)

Of course you can change your avatar… You need to find one that you are happy with and you want to keep your brand in style. But try to stick with one that works don't change it as you would on facebook. I recommend trying to evolve the one you have so try to at least not go from personal pic to a cartoon character to a piece of artwork you love. Keep it similar and only do it if you must.

  1. Here are my twitter avatar tips:
    Find the avatar you like for twitter and stick with it.
  2. Understand that it is a major component of your personal brand on twitter.
  3. If you change it announce the fact you did it so people are not wondering who the new tweep is on their screen.
  4. As always remember your brand covers all social media so try your hardest to keep them all inline together. (I am bad at that)

What do you want your twitter avatar to say about you?

1.03.2011

The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit

I have read many articles in the paper about the condition of detroit and I have seen many news reports. But today pictures spoke louder then words. The amazing photography of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre truly tell of the tragidy of what has happened in Detroit Michagan. Take a minute and review these pictures, they really tell a story of how fabulous Detroit once was and what its current status is in these modern ruins.


Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church, built in the gothic revival style in 1911 Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre


William Livingstone House, Brush Park, a French Renaissance-style house designed by Albert Kahn in 1893 and demolished since this photograph was taken. Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre


Waiting hall, Michigan Central Station Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre


Detroit’s Vanity Ballroom with its unsalvaged art deco chandeliers. Duke Ellington and Tommy Dorsey once played here. Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre


The ruined Spanish-Gothic interior of the United Artists Theater in Detroit. The cinema was built in 1928 by C Howard Crane, and finally closed in 1974. Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre



The ballroom of the 15-floor art-deco Lee Plaza Hotel, an apartment building with hotel services built in 1929 and derelict since the early 1990s. Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre


Offices, Highland Park Police Station Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Michigan Theatre Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre


Michigan Central Station Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre


Light Court, Farwell Building Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

East Methodist Church Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Dentist Cabinet, Broderick Tower Photograph: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre