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zuLive is home to musings from the zuCrew, photos, and generally anything that interests us. Don’t expect anything too polished, this is where we let it all out.

Day Two of The Gathering 2016

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Brand is not owned by you, it is co-created with everyone who encounters it.

After another packed day of invaluable insights, Brian Solis’ keynote on brand experience was a great way to wrap up the conference.

Moments that your customers experience with every facet of the business ultimately defines your brand. Have you ever gone to a website that was so cluttered and hard to navigate that you didn’t know where to begin to look for what you needed? Or have you filled out a form and had to retype the date several times because it was unclear what format was required? Those seemingly innocent things can leave a customer with a bad taste in their mouth, and ultimately chip away at your brand.

Have you measured or optimized your service journey lately? Talk to front line people

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10 Lessons Learned from the Past 20 Years

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Over the last two decades, we’ve grown, shrunk, failed, and won on many occasions. Maturing as a business was especially hard. In the early days, because of our industry and geographic location, there were very few examples to model ourselves upon. But here we are. We’ve made it through some interesting times, and can now look back at some of the bigger lessons learned:

1) Choose a rising market over a mature one

We started our career in business with what we knew: Printing. This was the boom of desktop publishing with Apple-based page layout programs, and the beginning of Photoshop, Illustrator and QuarkXpress. On the downside, big box office stores were cutting in on the trade and a million home-based designers were also putting downward pressure on pricing. In 1994 we looked beyond

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Build Value Through Service Design

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Every business, government and non-profit organization shares a basic, fundamental equation; they possess a core internal group of individuals who provide some type of good or service to an external audience. Traditionally, these two groups are brought together through the efforts of marketing. To be an effective marketer, an organization will divide consumers into market segments and, through research and statistics, will create one-way messages that can be delivered to targeted audiences. Most often this is in the form of advertising. 40+ years ago this was an extremely efficient way for an organization to communicate to audiences. Media consumption was far more predictable, and a well-placed 30-second television spot could reach wide swaths of a market segment.

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Unfortunately for

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Writing In Plain English

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While attending the Annual CIRI Conference in Banff, I was introduced to the practice of writing in plain english. Since the conference, I’ve noticed plain english writing coming up in news articles, in conversations with friends, and internally from our design team. I tried the concept on a recent document and, while it seems simple, in practice I found writing in plain english very challenging.

The workshop

At the conference, I attended a few sessions offered by Michael Sider, Assistant Professor, Management Communications, Ivey Business School. Sider stressed the importance of crafting compelling, personalized communication for brands and businesses, and used a few case studies to illustrate the do’s and don’ts of effective writing.

I really connected with the session material

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Developing Websites with Responsive Mobile-First in Mind

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With more than half of all website traffic in North America now originating from a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, the way people browse the Internet has evolved enormously in recent years. There’s also growth in the mobile-only user, who accesses the Web exclusively from a mobile device, illustrating the trend that tablets and phones are fast becoming the main personal computer for consumers everywhere. With these changing browsing habits, web designers, developers, and digital marketers absolutely must be able to accommodate mobile devices by offering an optimized user experience and responsive web design for the small screen.

Real World Developments

Recently, Google began indicating to users in their search results whether or not a site is mobile friendly. Then on

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Marketing is a Strategic Driver for SMBs

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As marketers, we’re always trying to find new ways to engage our existing and potential clients. We are constantly seeking out the latest solutions that technology has to offer, observing the best in our industries, learning from them, and adapting our own best practices. For many of us, it’s the reason we get out of bed in the morning.

Before reading a recent report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit, and commissioned by a leading marketing automation solution, Marketo, I was blissfully unaware of the battle that is being fought by many marketers in their small to medium sized organizations. The epidemic, it seems, is that marketing tends to be seen only as a cost centre, and not the demand-generating, funnel-fueling, shareholder-pleasing center of intelligence that it

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