Our Newly Renovated Hollywood Offices Featured on OfficeSnaphots.com

 

Our Newly Renovated Hollywood Offices Featured on OfficeSnaphots

Check out our newly remodeled offices featured on OfficeSnapshots.com, a popular blog that reaches more than 300,000 readers each month from around the globe. Office Snapshots showcases architecture and design firms who have recently completed office projects.

Enjoy!

Photography by our friend Vince Robbins


3 Ways Blogging Boosts Business

 

3 Ways Blogging Boosts Business

Facebook? Perhaps. Twitter? Maybe. Blog? Absolutely!

Blogs began as basic, often tawdry online diaries fueled by caffeine and wine. Some launched writing careers, but most simply enabled their authors to vent views or scratch creative itches.

But as the blogging craze grew, many corporate marketers adopted blogs to provide regular company updates and insights…and almost as quickly, many marketers abandoned them. The reason?Regularly writing articles turned out to be challenging and time consuming; writing articles that attracted readers proved even harder. After all, who wants to read a corporation’s diary? So when Twitter and other microblogging platforms came along, corporate communicators happily replaced their 500-words of weekly wisdom with concise 140-character tweets.

And that’s when marketers discovered the real value of blogs.


The Challenge with Facebook Pages — and 6 Strategies for Dealing with It

 

The Challenge With Facebook Pages

Here's the Challenge:

Your posts on your Facebook business Page are extremely limited: your reach is "throttled" to an average of just 16% of your fans.  Some posts will reach more, some will reach less, depending on how many people talk about it (comment, like, share). In general, that means only your most passionate and active fans (plus a small percentage of their friends) will see your posts.

That's why Facebook should go back to using the term "fan" instead of "like": those who simply like your Page and never interact with it again may never see you again.

Once you reach your fans, the engagement rate is only about 1% (studies show it's 1.4% for the top 200 brands on Facebook, and less than 1% for most everyone else). So even if you're a hot brand like Nike, 99% of your fans don't care about what you're posting.

In fact, in the article linked above, a Facebook executive essentially said that fan interaction is not as valuable as basic reach and frequency. In other ads, basic advertising works better.

The conclusion is obvious: Facebook wants to sell more ads. That's totally understandable – Facebook isn't a charity. The irony here is that social media was supposed to be an improvement over basic advertising.

So what can you do to make your Facebook Page worth your time and effort? In lieu of spending thousands of dollars on Facebook ads here are...


Love At First Sight - But That's Just The Beginning

 

Love at first sight

Is there such a thing as love at first sight? No doubt, but it usually takes a lot of sweet talk to close the deal.

 

I'm talking about product marketing, of course. (I bet you thought this was a late Valentine's Day blog.) A lot of us do fall in love with products at an initial glance. Apple can make us crave an iWhatever before we know what it actually does. One glimpse of the Alfa Romeo 4C definitely got my Italian pulse racing. Of course, art and design-based products (fashion, furniture, even foods) can spark desire with just a picture.

 


Mopping the Carpet: Because Attention to Detail isn't Enough

 

Yes, we really mop the carpet around here.

Here at Starmen HQ we have industrial strength carpet covering the floors — for now. We plan to rip it out soon to liberate the hardwood underneath, but in the meantime, we gotta keep it clean. That means not just vacuuming,

but also swabbing spots of it with a damp mop to remove all the bits of Hollywood Boulevard that get tracked in. (Those sidewalk stars need a bath!) Yes, we know it looks crazy, but it works.

While we were laughing about it the other day, we decided to coin a new marketing term: "mopping the carpet." (Hey, if Seth Godin can come up with crazy marketing metaphors, so can we!)

In marketing, mopping the carpet means more than just maintaining order and paying attention to detail. Every professional agency does that (at least they should). Mopping the carpet means continuously evaluating your marketplace and your media while making critical adjustments along the way.


Starmenusa.com Featured on WDL

 

Our site was recently featured on WDL.com (Web Design Ledger), one of the most popular blogs for web designers and internet creatives. Check out the article "21 Examples of Big Photography in Web Design" we're so happy starmenusa.com was considered "an excellent example" of web design, among many other beautiful examples.

Our approach to web design, which you'll see in our work, has always been extensive use of photography. It's a good way to get your viewers attention and can make your site memorable and visually interesting.

Special Thanks to the amazing Giselle Muller for the include!


Defending London's Olympic Logo

 

We've all heard what people have been saying about London's 2012 Summer Olympic logo...

It's no news that London's 2012 Summer Olympic logo has received quite a bit of backlash. No we're not talking about this one, or even this awful one, but THIS one. A recent New York Times article titled, "There's Little to Love" even goes into detail about how the official London logo all went wrong.

Check out the article to see what we think...


Designing for YouTube: DISH International

 

We were excited to be a part of DISH International's social media initiative by developing and launching a series of branded YouTube channels to target their long list of language communities. The channel includes a custom video slider, drop down menus and custom banner feature. DISH Filipino, the first of DISH International's channels we worked on can be seen here live on YouTube.

Click below to see our design for DISH International...


3 Strategies for Building a Stronger Brand in 2012

 

The New Year always sparks a renewed interest in making changes! For a business, this should include taking a close look at your brand – both from your perspective and from that of your market. Questions to consider: How do your customers perceive your brand? Is it aligned with how you see yourself? Do people hear and understand exactly what your brand is saying?  

Yes, there’s always room for improvement. And, starting with these three strategies, you can help strengthen your brand in 2012.

Build a Consistent Brand

Consistency is the name of the game in brand identity. Do you think Coke and Apple became what they are by not showing the same face to everyone, everywhere? The more consistent your brand is across all customer touch points, the more likely it can create a powerful impression and be easily recognized by your market.

One of the most important (yet often overlooked) aspects of branding is that it MUST remain consistent through all communication channels. From business cards and collateral pieces to your online marketing tools, there should always be a clear, consistent look and feel to everything you present.

Innovate Your Brand and Image

Keeping your brand up-to-date doesn’t mean changing it to stay current with every trend or fad. But, being attuned to what is happening in your industry and what appeals to your target demographic should play an important part in the evolution of your brand! 

With 2012 upon us, it might just be the right time to consider modernizing the visual image of your brand in terms of logo, tagline, typography, color palette, and design. Small changes, tweaks, and updates can re-energize an existing customer and catch the eye of a new one! This is one step in the right direction towards staying ahead of your competition and becoming a category leader.

Be Social, Diversify Your Online Presence

Online today means much more than having a website. If you are not on Facebook and Twitter or don’t have a content rich blog - in the eyes of some consumers, you might as well not exist. Your online presence “speaks” volumes to those who will buy from you. A successful social media engagement model is not about spitting out corporate messages, but instead includes developing a two-way dialog with your audience. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your “voice”, through status updates, tweets, and blog posts, is aligned with your brand. Aim to be human in the social space.

Getting the right help to strengthen your brand is also pivotal to your success. STARMEN Design Group (Los Angeles) is here to help with a diverse team of brand professionals who are experts at making your business look and sound its absolute best.


The Power of Influence & Creativity

 

As design professionals, we spend considerable time each and every day thinking about influence.

Of course, we’re continuously developing new strategies for how we can help our clients generate influence. Yet, we also devote much thought into how consumers influence others in an increasingly connected world.

In the short film, Influencers, written and directed by Paul Rojanathara and Davis Johnson, we get a snapshot of New York’s most influential and creative individuals who are defining today's pop culture. Influencers seeks to identify and explain not only who the influencers are, but also what makes them so compelling. Youthful, confident, fearless early-adopters are those who are now shaping our buying decisions, the music we listen to, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and even how we communicate with each other. These people can swiftly embrace something not mainstream (a drink, a brand, music) and make it wildly popular – all through the power of viral communications.

Unlike the celebrity-endorsed 1990’s, today’s influencers are not bought or paid by a brand to wear/drink/talk about their product.  Rather, influencers embrace a product that they believe in, and then the buzz begins. This profound change has dramatically shifted power back into the hands of consumers. Being able to express likes and dislikes to a global audience is transforming the very essence of marketing and brand strategy.

Who are the influencers in your industry?

Have you identified who is talking about your product, sharing details about their customer experience, or tweeting about your service? If not, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities to reach out to your market. Are you ready to learn more about leveraging the power of influencers? Creativity is contagious...


TIME Reveals The Iconic 'X' Cover

 

Osama Bin Laden 'X' Factor TIME Magazine Cover

Ad Age confirms that TIME Magazine will continue tradition and run a special edition of its iconic 'X' cover, marking the demise of Osama bin Laden. (illustration by Tim O'Brien)

Time magazine has rushed together a special Osama bin Laden death issue that’s set to hit newsstands on Thursday. The symbolic red X has been used to denote deaths of past leaders like Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein on previous issues. Time.com

As news spreads, social and traditional media unite. 
A look at how New Media and Old Media are brainstorming inventive ways to package together breaking news information about bin Laden. AdAge.com

Twitter explodes, can it keep up?
How Twitter helped speed up the news process alerting the masses about Osama bin Laden’s assassination. Forbes.com

Here's a look back at TIME magazine's use of the "X" cover.

For more stories and pictures of Time covers past and present, read SPD.com's Thinking Inside the (Red) Box category.

BUY THE TIME SPECIAL ISSUE HERE.


New Year, New Face

 

STARMEN on Facebook

We're making the most out of Facebook and sharing the experience with you! Check out our new Facebook page and see how we've made it easy to engage with us by using custom applications that allow us to connect with our friends, showcase our talents, and share our thoughts in more ways than you can imagine.

Join us on Facebook!

Make sure to 'Like' our page, we know you'll love it!


Video: New MySpace is now My_____??

 

MySpace's new logo... features an actual space ______ Get it?

New MySpace Logo

Okay, neither do we. But enough logo bashing (see previous post), this redesign is less about the newly unveiled 'logo' and more about the brand. YES!!! The team at Pereira & O'dell got it right! We all know MySpace has virtually unbranded themselves off the face of social media, when at one point they were, social media. But, despite the odds and that new logo, MySpace... wait My_____ is trying to stage a comeback. The site on Tuesday announced a major revamp that aims to go beyond image tweaks, repositioning itself not as a social network that can compete with Facebook or Twitter, but as a "social entertainment destination for Gen Y."

Read more here: CNN.com

The site nor the logo are actually live, but we found this promotional video MySpace just released.


10 Blog Topics to Write... Fast and Easy!

 

A blog should be part of everyone's marketing plan today, here are some ideas to get your started on the right track.

ten blogs to write about

Want to get started right now!! Why not? Tumblr offers FREE blog themes, no hosting or domain needed. It's really simple.


Web Pick of the Month: Skittles.com

 

Skittle Website Adventure

The new Skittles.com is so fresh we just had to show you!

We know it's been a while since we shared a really sweet web site with you all, forgive us... we've been very busy, so it's a good thing. Those of you familiar with our blog know that we surf the web A LOT and discover some really cool web sites. We love highlighting the best of those sites with you. We also encourage you to send in some awesome sites you find while browsing too!

Enjoy an interactive experience driven by a never-ending stream of content, courtesy of Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and more. Skittles.com rewards fans with the ability to scroll infinitely, like an adventurous journey through Skittles digital landscape.

So 'Experience the Rainbow'... Love it or Hate it? www.skittles.com


New Twitter Based on the Golden Ratio

 

new twitter design based on the golden ratio

Check out the above picture from Twitter's Creative Director Doug Bowman, found on Twitter’s Flickr page. According to the caption: “To anyone curious about #NewTwitter proportions, know that we didn’t leave those ratios to chance. This, of course, only applies to the narrowest version of the UI. If your browser window is wider, your details pane will expand to provide greater utility, throwing off these proportions. But the narrowest width shows where we started, ratio-wise."

Personally, I think it's a much needed improvement. The new design takes the previous singular microblog layout to a whole new user-friendly multi-column UI giving tweeties a webpage similar to other social networks. As Mashable's Jennifer Van Grove pointed out, "The new Twitter is essentially a full-featured desktop application minus the download." Does this mean goodbye for popular desktop clients such as TweetDeck and Seesmic? What do you think of the new Twitter design?

We also hope that the recent update has solved Twitter overload.


New Website Explores Titanic Wreckage

 

explore titanic wrekage website

Expedition Titanic. The dive aims to help further preservation of the ship, which sits 2.5 miles below sea level, and to give the public an intimate view of its history. The site itself transports viewers 2.5 miles below sea level and includes a 3D virtual tour of the wreckage, all of which is embedded with historical information. The campaign also includes social media initiatives to drive viewers to the site, such as video interviews of the crew seeded on YouTube and Facebook. Come August 22nd, the audience can get real time updates on developments on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.


What's wrong with you Twitter??

 

twitter over capacity

Have you seen your twitter page show like this? “Twitter is over capacity. Too many tweets! Please wait a moment and try again.” Are you frustrated? Don’t worry, you are not alone. This is one of the hottest discussion in web.

Twitter has been one of the most famous social sites in the worldwide web. Almost everyone in the world has something to share to everyone, even celebrities, athletes, politicians and even fan pages. So, why twitter server is overload? Sometimes twitter traffic is very rapid and its Web server is unable to handle rapid amount of request in very short period of time (server temporary overload).

At least they got rid of the whale...

When Twitter is up! Tweet us: @starmendesign

--

An HTTP status code 503(503 Service Unavailable) indicates that twitter Web server is currently unable to handle the request because of a temporary overload or maintenance of the server.


Top 7 Brands With Social-Media Buzz

 

The above list courtesy of AdAge/ OneRiot Brand Buzz Chart

In this new weekly chart -- a collaboration between Advertising Age and real-time buzz tracker OneRiot -- they monitor discussions on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Digg, and present the good news and the bad news for big brands with current social-media buzz. Take a look at the top 7 for this week...

For more stats, data, research and analytics about marketing, advertising and consumer trends, please visit the Ad Age Stat blog 


Facebook Marketing: 8 Success Criteria

 

The 8 Success Criteria For Facebook Page Marketing

Social media marketing has become a hot topic amongst brand marketers and businesses, now more than ever looking to establish themselves within a social network. As a means to advertise/promote their products and services at low cost, the biggest being, Facebook. But it's knowing how to use it and what to do with it, that counts. The proper use of Facebook goes beyond 'setting up an account' as the focus becomes more strategic in being 'interactive' with your audience by taking the right steps to increase engagement and promote word of mouth through advocacy and peer-to-peer interactions, or solicit business call to actions that result in transactions. Simply stated, if a brand makes their community happy by generating a vibrant place, then then have the option to start generating business impacts (revenue).

The Altimeter Group compiled data by analyzing companies posts, comments, 'likes' on Facebook and found a clear pattern. There was a consistent set of criteria they heard from the industries experts, and they found the following 8 criteria:

  1. Set Community Expectations
  2. Provide Cohesive Branding
  3. Be Up To Date
  4. Live Authenticity
  5. Participate in Dialog
  6. Enable Peer-To-Peer Interactions
  7. Foster Advocacy
  8. Solicit A Call To Action

Okay great, now you know the 'key points' to creating a social media presence on Facebook, but how is your business going to execute a plan that meets this criteria to capture an audience and build your business through the social media platform? Look no further, STARMEN Design Group can take your brand from Content To Commerce by using a unique approach that bridges "people stories" to "product stories" through social media and branded content. Get in touch with us and get current, we are social media experts, and are here to to help you achieve true consumer engagement.


Helvetireader 2: A Google Reader Theme

 

"Helvetica Always Works" is a theme in a book I've been reading called, "Never Use White Type on a Black Background" (great read) and Gary Hustwit's recent film Helvetica offered a look into the typography, graphic design and global visual culture surrounding the famous typeface.

UK's Hicksdesign latest creation called Helvetireader, is a stylesheet userscript theme for all you Google Reader users out there that adds a clean and minimal look to your visual interface. I highly reccomend checking this out especially if you're bored with Google's default UI that is crowded with colors, lines and buttons, much like I am with gmail. So why Helvetica you ask, well probably because it is just that, simple, clean and effective.

Helvetica is all around us. You've probably seen it several times today." - Gary Hustwit (1964)

If you don't have Google Reader, get it here! You can visit all your favorite web sites, blogs and social networks all in one place.

 


Follow STARMEN on Twitter

 

Now you can get all the latest, up-to-the moment happenings from STARMEN and around the design world. No matter if it’s thirty seconds or 140 characters, we create ideas that don’t just talk, but get talked about.


Follow us now! @starmendesign


Our New Site Launches Today!

 

As an award-winning creative agency specializing brand design, we are proud to announce the redesign of the STARMEN web site. But "redesign" doesn't really cover it. This more than a aesthetic adjustment or surface-level change. This is more of a "refresh" both internally and externally. The new starmenusa.com reflects our new ideas, new thinking, and new outlook for our clients, and their brands. For those of you familiar with us, you'll find a lot of new and exciting information, about us, the services we offer and see new design work!

Our LA headquarters is buzzing with excitement! This site has been a labor of love, created with synchronized hard work, absolute enthusiasm, and meticulous attention to how effective design can be. The new STARMEN believes happy users means happy business. One goal of ours that hasn't changed is this: We are here to produce solid, valuable results for you! Now, we just look even better!

Visit our new virtual home and experience the new STARMEN!