Monthly Archives July 2012

Apple Patents Videogame Controller: Why This Is Huge News

Earlier this week, news broke that Apple had patented a wireless videogame controller for use with its iPhone, iPod and Apple TV platforms. At this point, details about the controller and information on its release are scarce to non-existent. But make no mistake – this is huge news. An Apple game controller has the potential to change the videogame industry, from the games we play to the major players involved.

With casual games – a market Nintendo essentially invented with the Wii, only to see it stolen by mobile devices with titles like Angry Birds – touch screen controls were the gateway entrance for people who found classic game controllers to hard a hill to climb. At the same time, touch screen controls have also been a turn off to the still-large hardcore gamers audience; they just don’t offer the same precision that a controller with a joystick and buttons can. But now that an official Apple controller will be released, there is a chance that the hardcore will spend more time with mobile games, maybe taking a significant chunk of that audience away from console-makers. Not only that, but mobile games may evolve due to the option of the controller, offering a more console-like gaming experience that will appeal directly to the hardcore. It’s something that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo should be worried about.

Perhaps most importantly, however, is the fact that the controller makes Apple more of a force in the videogame arena than ever before. Fans have wondered why Apple had yet to develop a game console and enter the market, or at least do something. This is that something. The truth is, with the proliferation of mobile gaming via the iPhone and iPad, Apple were surprise entrants into gaming, but this puts them in more direct competition with The Big 3. As videogames move towards a cloud-based future, the controller puts Apple in a position to play a role in the gaming landscape. And if Apple TV is home to console-quality, cloud-based gaming, they could truly change the industry.

That is, of course, if it’s actually released. Time will tell.

Countdown to BlogHer ’12

Countdown to BlogHer ’12. The Flightpath team will be joining bloggers and brands at this year’s BlogHer in New York City. Find out how you and your brand can leverage conferences such as this one to network and interact with bloggers.

In one week, the Flightpath team will attend one of the biggest conferences that will be taking place this year in New York City – BlogHer.  Thousands of bloggers from all over the country travel to be a part of this major event.

It’s amazing to think that over the years how the blogging community has grown and shown great support of each other.  Women supporting other women, not only in the business of blogging but as marketing professionals as well.  BlogHer sets the stage where brands can interact vis-à-vis with bloggers and receive real-time insight to their products and build a strong professional relationships.  Every year brands, celebrities and influencers offer their expertise during scheduled panels and this year it includes major players such as Martha Stewart, Katie Couric, Christy Turlington Burns and more.

Another growth factor for BlogHer to note is the amount of brands that partake in this conference.  With sponsors like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Hillshire Farm, Dannon, Verizon Wireless and so much more.

If you’re a marketer or a brand that has not participated in BlogHer in the past, our best advice for you is to get your team a pass to attend as a guest and observe.  This will allow you to interact with guests and see what’s in store at the conference to better prepare not only for yourself but for the needs of your client.  It will give you an advantage to plan ahead and see what works and doesn’t work to create a successful strategic plan.  Be sure to check out BlogHer for additional information.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram where we’ll be reporting from BlogHer ’12 conference using hashtag #BlogHer12.

Image Source for Header: BlogHer.com

Pinterest Brand Pages: Our Favorites

Pinterest is all the rage these days, and for good reason: it’s a social platform that actually offers something new and unique. If you are a brand rep looking for Pinspiration, here are some of the best examples of brands on Pinterest.

Pinterest is all the rage these days, and for good reason: it’s a social platform that actually offers something new and unique. And unlike Facebook or Google+, it really allows brands to get creative with their pages, from layout to content to overall purpose. If you are a brand rep looking for Pinspiration, here are some of the best examples of brands on Pinterest.

 

Coolest Design: Uniqlo


A quickly growing fashion retailer, Uniqlo only sells through its brick-and-mortar shops, which makes its digital acumen all the more impressive. Their website is great, their Facebook updates are fun, and their Pinterest page is staggeringly creative. If you scroll down their page, it animates a la a cartoon flip book, making logos spin, shirts move, and giving off an overall wow factor:

 

 

Funniest Use of Pinterest Boards by Brands: Oreck

 

So… you are a vacuum company and you want to create a Pinterest board, what do you do? Pin pics of messes of course, but how to make a pinnable mess? If you are a pet owner you will appreciate Oreck’s Furry Friends board filled with adorable pics of dogs and cats who fill hearts with happiness and floors with fur:

 

 

Best Non-Profit Brand on Pinterest : ASPCA

 

Of course it helps to have an endless supply of adorable and highly pinnable pet photos at your disposal, but the ASPCA on Pinterest does more than just post cute pics of pets.

They are using Pinterest as a tool to promote pet adoption and further the cause of closing puppy mills. By creating Pinterest boards that balance cute pics with highly shareable text based images, pinning from the ASPCA page is like slapping an end animal cruelty bumper sticker on your Subaru- it let’s everyone who follows you know where you stand.

 


Most Interactive: Bauble Bar

 

Social media, as we all know by now is not supposed to be a soliloquy but rather a conversation. This is always tough for brands. One brand doing a great job is Bauble Bar. This online jewelry retailer scours Instagram and Twitter for fans of their collections who have posted photos. Bauble Bar then pins the fans photo to their Pinterest board, which is the highest form of compliment on Pinterest and goes a long way to building community and customer loyalty.

 

 

Best Celeb Brand: Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart’s Pinterest boards look like what Stewart’s refrigerator would look like, if she allowed magnets on it. As the most followed celeb on Pinterest, Stewart is one to watch.

 

Leave a comment and let us know what Pinterest brand pages you like.

(Dan Brooks contributed to this post.)

Facebook Tutorial: How to Change Facebook Page Username or Vanity URL

If you have been wanting to change your Facebook username, now is your golden opportunity. But before you rush to seize the moment and change that Vanity URL or username that you have always regretted, take a moment.

Wondering how to change your Facebook Vanity URL or username? You are not alone, until very recently the Vanity URL chosen when a Facebook page was created could never be changed. This created problems for a lot of businesses who have had a name change or just second thoughts about the custom URL they chose years ago.

Facebook has just changed this policy and now allows Facebook Page admins to change their Vanity URL. If you have been wanting to change your Facebook username, now is your golden opportunity.  But before you rush to seize the moment and change that Vanity URL or username that you have always regretted, take a moment.

Things to Consider

Be Really, Really Sure

Before you start the process of changing your Facebook Vanity URL be sure you are 100% sure of your new choice and the spelling. Facebook will only allow for a Facebook Page Vanity URL to be changed one time, so if you change your mind or screw up the spelling you cannot change it again. So give your new URL and it’s spelling some thought.

Vanity URL vs Facebook Page Name

Changing your Vanity URL or User Name will not change your Facebook Page name. The Facebook username is the unique portion of the custom Facebook URL which is referred to as a Vanity URL, so a Facebook username is the “name” portion of the Vanity URL. For instance in the case of our agency, “FlightpathNY” is our Facebook username, and “www.Facebook.com/FlightpathNY” is our Vanity URL.

Your Facebook Page name is the name of your page that appears in Facebook search and in bold type just below your cover photo. In our case, our Facebook name is “Flightpath”. Changing your Facebook Page name is a different process than changing your Vanity URL.

If your page has over 200 likes, you have to fill out a form and request a Facebook Page name change. You don’t get a shot at changing it yourself like the username/Vanity URL, unless you have less than 200 likes in which case you can change the name of your page from the Basic Information tab within the admin tools. If you have over 200 likes and want to request a new Facebook Page Name you can do so by following these instructions.

Keep in mind the rules.

Facebook has a lot of rules regarding what Vanity URL you can snag. This is not your great chance to be Facebook.com/Pizza, since generic Vanity URLs are not allowable. Stick with your business’s name.

Double check that your desired Facebook Vanity Url or Username isn’t taken. When Facebook first rolled out Vanity URL’s for personal Facebook profiles, some people decided to use nicknames, place names or surnames that are also business names. Do yourself a favor and check the URL before you try to change it.

Another common issue is a company’s CEO has the company name as his or her personal Vanity URL. If this is the case, ask them to change it (or offer to do it for them) thereby releasing the URL and making it available for the company page.

Change Your Links

Changing your Vanity URL means you need to change all links to your Facebook Page. Once you change your username your old Vanity URL will not work, so make sure to update the links from the buttons on your company’s website, blog and everywhere else your Facebook URL appears.

Making the Change Step By Step:

  1. Click the “Edit Page” button at the top of your Facebook Page and select “Update Info” from the drop down menu.

  2. This will bring you to the page where you enter your new username. (Remember to check the spelling!)

  3. Click to verify availability of your new username.

  4. Click to save your new username and voila! You are done!

 

Mobile App Review: eBay – iPhone, iPad & Android

ebay mobile app review

Welcome to the latest installment of Flightpath’s running series of mobile app reviews, where we explore all different kinds of apps, both paid and free. Today we’re looking at the app for the world’s biggest online auction site.

Welcome to the latest installment of Flightpath’s running series of mobile app reviews, where we explore all different kinds of apps, both paid and free. Today we’re looking at the app for the world’s biggest online auction site.

The App: eBay

The Platform: iPhone, iPad & Android

How Much: Free

The Deal: eBay has long been synonymous with online auctions. Looking for a vintage Optimus Prime right fist? Check eBay. Trying to find that issue of Fangoria missing from your collection? Check eBay. Have buyer’s remorse for that trumpet you bought, which has never been removed from its case? Sell it on eBay.

An eBay freed from the chains of desktops (I don’t have to be at the computer at 4:27am when the auction for that weird thing no one else on earth except two other dudes care about is ending? Sign me up!) is a no-brainer. But how is it in reality?

ebay mobile app

Features: As far as I can tell, everything from eBay desktop has been ported over to eBay mobile. There’s buying and selling, of course, as well as your complete My eBay profile and options. Additional functionality includes push notifications for messages, ending auctions, re-listings and more.

The success of this app lies not so much in its breadth of features, but in their ease-of-use in a mobile format. And it is very successful in that regard. With searches, everything displays properly, and with all relevant info and photos (see above screen shot, taken after a search for “Wayne Chrebet jersey”). On item pages, everything is condensed into smart menus (Description, Item Specifics, Bidding Activity, etc.), allowing the page to be presented cleanly and clearly. At the bottom of the screen are three large buttons, really representing the core of eBay: Place Bid, Sell one like this, and Share this item. It makes browsing and bidding a really pleasant experience.

ebay mobile app

What’s Missing: Truthfully, not much. Even re-listing items (I’m trying to get rid of an MST3K Crow statue, if anyone’s interested) is a breeze. If anything, the way messages are handled is a little clunky; it seems as if the desktop message is displayed on the mobile screen, and options for replying are limited. But that’s a nitpick.

ebay mobile

Overall: One of the best mainstream apps available, and one of the best desktop-to-mobile adaptations I’ve ever seen. I was continually amazed at just how much functionality is packed in here, and the second nature feel of navigating through it all. Browsing item photos is startlingly easy, as you just scroll through them as you would the photos in your gallery; changing alert settings is actually easier than the desktop version. The presentation is simplified as much as possible without sacrificing anything, and it’s a real accomplishment.

The only place the app falters slightly is in the typing interface; typing on a mobile phone is still a bit of a pain (at least, for me) and eBay didn’t find a way around that, so writing out a detailed description or message is a bit cumbersome. But I don’t really hold it against them. Ultimately, this doesn’t try and replicate the desktop experience; it re-imagines it and surpasses it.

Grade: A

3 Awesome July 4th/Summer Email Marketing Campaigns

July 4th and Summer Email Marketing

One of the most important marketing tools going today is email, where the stakes are perhaps biggest: brands have to strike the right balance between spammy/informative, fun/cloying, design smart/confusing. If people sign up for your email list, they’re more-or-less willing to at least hear you out, so a poorly constructed email is truly a missed opportunity. Here are some July 4th/summer email campaigns (all clothing related, just to narrow the playing field) that we think are doing it right.

Around almost every holiday, brands and stores launch marketing campaigns with the goal of promoting sales, generating buzz and reminding the world that, “Hey – we still exist.”

One of the most important marketing tools going today is email, where the stakes are perhaps biggest: brands have to strike the right balance between spammy/informative, fun/cloying, design smart/confusing. If people sign up for your email list, they’re more-or-less willing to at least hear you out, so a poorly constructed email is truly a missed opportunity. Here are some July 4th/summer email campaigns (all clothing related, just to narrow the playing field) that we think are doing it right.

Uniqlo summer sale email
Uniqlo
For a clothing retailer without an online store, Uniqlo’s mastery of all things digital (its Pinterest page is awesome, if you haven’t seen it) is all the more impressive. The “Summer Festival” email campaign matches the visual style of Uniqlo’s stores and logo with a clear red and white color scheme, elegant design, and sale items easily laid out. It contains a lot of info – a calendar, product images, even an in-store drum show schedule (!) – but is successful because no single element detracts from any other, and it’s all easy to understand and navigate. Not easy to do.

SuperHero Stuff Summer Sale Email
SuperHeroStuff
Starting with the intentionally-cheesy Photoshopped sunglasses on Wolverine, which conveys a welcomed sense of humor about comics and superheroes, SuperHeroStuff’s email grabs your attention. And the imagery flows nicely, from Wolverine to the “Save 13%” banner and back again. From there, it’s all messaging, as their summer sale is successfully driven home with nicely placed copy above the main image, inside it, and below it.

Original Penguin summer sale email
Original Penguin
Original Penguin’s campaign is among the best we’ve seen in email design aesthetics this summer. The smart incorporation of the Original Penguin logo into a vintage-looking American flag lets you know what this email is about even without copy (of which there is little), and it matches the brand’s tone effortlessly. These things can be easy to screw up – the font color is too close the background color, the logo looks tacky on the flag, etc. – but Original Penguin’s email hits every beat perfectly.