The year 2013 has come and gone.  My lucky number has been 13 since I was nine years old.  I think I had it in my head that something big would happen in 2013.  Not that 2013 was a bad year, it just wasn’t what my head had worked up.  

This year should be interesting though.  Old Hat Creative is growing and changing (in a good way).  I am taking on different roles in the company and expanding my skill set.  We hired AGK, aka, Ashley Gloystein-Klatt as Director of Marketing and Sales. Unfortunately for her, AGK is sticking in my mind because we already have another Ashley.  Once it is your email, I tend to keep that in my mind.  We are having a party at the end of this month to celebrate 10 years as a company.  It could get interesting…

On a personal level 2014 will be a big year for me as well.  My best friend is getting married in June.  He wanted to have the ceremony in a slightly random place so I got ordained to officiate the ceremony.  I am not sure my mother ever expected me to come home with a certificate showing I was ordained.  Along with the wedding comes the bachelor party, which is shaping up to be an awesome trip down the Devil’s River in west Texas.     

Who knows what else will happen?  There are several things I have in my mind that I think will happen or that I hope to happen.    

That is the funny thing about life.  Whether it is your work life or personal life it is always difficult to predict.  I had expectations for 2013 and very few things turned out that way.  Now I am getting things set in my mind about 2014, knowing all along it will end up far from what I thought, but that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning… not knowing.   I would have never thought this industry would lead me to Norman, Oklahoma.  I never thought I would get to work projects like KyleField.com.  I got to know about a major event for my alma mater months before the other alumni because of this industry.  

That is why I enjoy what I do.  Every day is different.  I have no idea what kind of website we will get to do this year.  Clients bring us new ideas all the time and that is what makes it fun.  I love to challenge my developers to create the crazy idea I came up with the night before. It does not always turn out, but the challenge is enjoyable.  

Enjoy 2014.  Think of the craziest idea for a website you can and send it over.  Old Hat wants the challenge.  We want to do a website, poster, video, schedule card, or social contest that NO ONE HAS EVER DONE.  It challenges us as a company and it challenges our team to think outside the box.   Give us what you got, because I probably did not see that coming in 2014. 

We are not necessarily hungry or voluntold to take part in these games but for some reason the subject continues to come up in our office.  Who would win the office hunger games?  Below is a first hand account of how our simulator predicted the “games”, done Mad Lib style.  No Old Hatters were actually harmed for this simulation. Thanks to Tricia for completing the process. 

As the tributes stand _wiggly______ and  __proudly______ gaze at their competition as the announcer speaks about the  _______peaceful__________ challenge that lies ahead.  Tricia ____dances_______ before she _____sneaks___________ into action, much to the _____surprise________ of Deb who is just _____tripping over a fireplace____________.  

Dustin starts rambling about something being “good enough for __cats__________” but quickly trails off as Stevie cuts him down with _____a video cable_________.  As Stevie stands there ___laughing_________ Deb reminds her about her task list.  Only to distract her long enough to __lasso her _____________ .  Deb screams in triumph about being the only person left who knows how to work a ____margarita machine_________ but her victory is short lived as a malfunctioning video camera falls from the ______rainbow________ and quickly ends her victory dance. 

Meanwhile, Tanner and Richard are arguing about how to pronounce animated GIF.  Little did they know that Geoff was using his ___speedy__________ GIFFing skills to create a ___dancing duck_________ that takes them both out.   In a ___flash__________ Geoff disappears into the ____secret cave_______.   

On the other side of the stadium Ashley, Jessica, and Luke ___light sabor_______ at each other trying to ______fake________ what is going on.  Luke’s evil beard possesses him causing him to _jump______ directly at Ashley.  Jessica, realizing this is her opportunity to be the only _____human___ that does not work in Norman starts _____speed reading_______ RFPs at Ashley.  Luke’s beard _____grows at____ the interference and _____wraps around him____________ in Jessica’s direction.  All three end up in a ___furball____________ ball of hair, RFPs, and ____slime___________ that is _____rolled_________ up by a ___golden_______ gnome.   

Traci immediately goes for Robert with a ____ruler_________.  Distracted by his hair and a ____picture of Tom Selleck ________ he never sees her coming from _____a dog house_______, missing his chance to escape.  With Robert down, Traci turns to Zac in an attempt to ____play darts___________.  This ultimately fails as Zac asks her to _find him a new house___ and takes his opportunity  to ___electrocute________ while she ponders the question.  Zac, upon realizing what he has done, drinks a ___lemonade_______, says the Boy Scout code_________, and runs around in a  ____toga__________.   Confused by what Zac is doing, Justin runs into Zac causing them both to fall in a ___bear trap________, immediately _______taken to the center of the earth_________.  

Kelby, standing in the center of it all trying to communicate to everyone fails to notice the giant ____snowman_________ quickly approaching her.  At the last second Hannah ____does a handstand______ to get Kelby’s attention.  This only causes Kelby to ____laugh___________ and greet the giant ______snowman__________ with open arms in an attempt to diffuse the situation.  This fails miserably.   

Hannah, distraught with __the melted snowman___________ starts performing crossfit ___punches__________ for no apparent reason.  Bethany sees this and takes the opportunity to ____fly_________ up three stairs, power clean a _____bucket________, and then tosses the ___water________ directly onto Hannah.  

Kevin, realizing he has to narrate this in the third person stands gazing __lovingly_________ into the _____field of dreams_________.  Jared, wanting to be the only Texan left turns on  _____Kenny G_____________ music that scares Kevin so much he ___prances________ while ____picking flowers_______ only to meet his demise by ______picking a poison flower__________.  

Bethany, Tricia, and Jared believe they are the only __sane ones___________ left and begin to ___bake______ in celebration.  Tricia thinks wobbling(well, her version of it) is _____beautiful________ which quickly causes her to wobble off a _____stage__________ doing her best impression of Ron Prince air ______victory_________ as she falls to her demise.  

At this point in time Lil Duey, the Game Maker ____turns________ up a ____texas sized_______ chocolate chocolate donut, directly between Jared and Bethany.  They both ___jump___________ quickly and ___swim_________ at a full sprint towards the donut.  At the last second Lil Duey  ____evaporates _________ confusing both and causing them to ___trip____________ to meet an untimely end.  

All this time ___calm____________ Geoff has been  ____rapping__________ with the tracker jackers.  He has managed to become their ___bestie_____________ and they ______carry___ him to the center of the ________donut hole______________.   He ____celebrates________, saying this was all one big animated Geoff.  

 

If you would like to play our Mad Lib, check out the link below and show your results. 

Old_Hat_Mad_Lib.pdf

 

Hey Kevin, can we turn the Due You Know Sports game into an app?  I did some designs awhile back and they should work.  So… Can we do it?

It would be nice if there was a more glorious beginning to the app but that is about it.  As Zac mentioned yesterday, we have our slower times of the year.  During this time of year I want the web team pushing themselves to do something different and this app was the perfect project.  

We had done a few apps in the past but none were this complex or this involved for our in house staff.  Tanner had to learn an entire coding language just to be able to start on the app.  We knew what we wanted to do but taking it from a web based version to a mobile app opens up a whole new set of problems.  

Once the code was learned and the app was built we had to collect data and test.  

Do you know how many NFL Hall of Famers there are?  What about people inducted to Cooperstown? How about the actual name of the mascot of Florida State?  You already knew those you say. Really?

I had no clue.  With an app like this, the data is crucial.  I also had no clue that there was NFL Hall of Famers who wore 12 different numbers during their career.    Needless to say we had to adjust the programming a bit to account for a few special situations.  

Data collected, it was time to test the app.  We involve everyone in the office when it comes to testing.  Well, in this case, everyone who owns an iPhone.  Testing is fun at first and tedious in the end.  The game is addicting and that helps, but when you collected the data, added it to the app, and then spend hours upon hours testing it, you get a bit sick of knowing sports.  That being said, the game is fun and there are quite a few options to keep you playing.  Check out the options below and download the game.   Good luck!

Pro Sports:

Test your knowledge of professional sports team names. Click "Play" and the name of a state will appear and be highlighted on the map. You have limited time to enter the name of a professional sports team (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL or MLS) from that state in the space provided and hit enter. A new state will highlight(add comma) and you can repeat the process. Keep going until you fail. If a state is repeated, you MUST enter a different team than you have already entered in order to keep the game going.

College:

Test your knowledge of Division I college football team names. Click "Play" and the name of a state will appear and be highlighted on the map. You have limited time to enter the name of a Division I college sports team from that state in the space provided and hit enter. A new state will highlight, and you can repeat the process. Keep going until you fail. If a state is repeated, you MUST enter a different team than you have already entered in order to keep the game going. For example, if Florida appears, “Hurricanes” would work, and “Sebastian” would not.

Hall of Fame:

Test your knowledge of Hall of Fame players, managers, and coaches. Click "Play" and a number will appear. You have limited time to enter the name of a Hall of Fame player from that sport who wore that number in the space provided and hit enter. A new number will appear, and you can repeat the process. Keep going until you fail. If a number is repeated, you MUST enter a different team than you have already entered in order to keep the game going. If a question mark appears, you must enter a player from the era before numbers were used.  Managers and coaches may also be entered when a question mark appears. If a player wore more than one number their name can be entered for either number.

College Mascots:

Test your knowledge of Division I college football mascot names. Click "Play" and the name of a state will appear and be highlighted on the map. You have limited time to enter the name of a Division I mascot from that state in the space provided and hit enter. A new state will highlight,  and you can repeat the process. Keep going until you fail. If a state is repeated, you MUST enter a different mascot than you have already entered in order to keep the game going. For example, if Florida appears, “Sebastian” would work, and the "Hurricanes" would not.

Download it here

Here at Old Hat, there are times when our designers, developers, etc. don't have a lot on their plates.  Rather than spending that time posting photos of their lunch on facebook or tweeting about what they're thankful for, we ask that they spend that time working on Toy Cannon projects.  I could bore you with the story behind why it's called a Toy Cannon project but that would require that I remember why it's called that.  Something about how there was an old baseball player the called the Toy Cannon because he was small but hit a lot of homeruns.  

I feel like it's important to encourage our staff to challenge themselves with projects outside their daily routine.  We want them to learn new techniques, new skills and have as much professional development as possible.  It makes them better at their jobs and hopefully more fulfilled as well.  For the past year, our development team has been working on a side project to develop their skills in iPhone app development.  Set to launch this week, the Due You Know Sports app (which Kevin will talk about more tomorrow) not only offers Old Hat exposure as an application development firm and provides an additional revenue stream, should people decide to download this app, it ALSO has given our development team that ability to grow in their skill set.  Tanner led the programming charge and spent hours and hours and hours on this app.  Richard helped with programming at times, Dustin offered design assistance and Kevin oversaw the project and tested it.  Four members of our team now have valuable experience they would not otherwise have gotten.  And it was all done in between other projects so it didn't cost Old Hat anything.

Many companies do similar things to the Toy Cannon, challenging their teams to come up with new products while at the same time giving those employees the ability to learn new skills.  It's been something I've really enjoyed seeing our staff participate in as it gives us the chance to see what they can do if they have no limitations.  

Nellie Logsdon was my grandmother.  She passed away when I was 18.  But one of her many philosophies was this one.  Now, by no means did she intend to say that you shouldn't apologize when you screw up.  What she was really saying was, "Don't screw up."  She knew how badly it sucks to have to admit when you've failed someone.  Looking them in the eye and admitting that you made a mistake and then apologizing for it is really hard sometimes.  And she knew that the only way to avoid it was to not make mistakes.

Well, we all make mistakes.  And she knew that too.  I think that a subliminal part of her message was to say that when you screw up, you MUST apologize.  Some people say, "Failure is not an option."  But I think she'd say, "Not admitting failure is not an option."  And that's the philosophy we have at Old Hat.  I cannot tell you how many times we have dealt with vendors that simply will not admit with they've screwed up.  And further, they won't try to fix the mistake.  Nothing could be more counterproductive to building a loyal client base in my opinion.  

Old Hat turns out an absurd amount of projects in a given month.  Hundreds of videos/animations, numerous websites and thousands (yes, thousands) of print projects every year.  And the amount of times we just completely screw up is nearly 0%.  We have many systems in place to prevent such failure.  The problem is, we're human and we mess up.  Not often, but we mess up.  Sometimes we make the most boneheaded, inexcusable mistakes.  So what do we do when that happens?

I'm sure all of you have watched a basketball game at some point and seen a player commit a foul.  Most of the time, the player (like most vendors) acts like he did nothing wrong.  He/she look at the ref as if to say, "Are you crazy?!  That was NOT my fault."  But sometimes, you'll see the player just nod his head in agreement, point at himself and take responsibility for the mistake.  That's Old Hat.  

When you fail, you have two choices.  You can either embrace it or act innocent.  Either way though, the person looking at you knows you failed.  Embracing that mistake shows that you are taking responsibility for it and while you may end up looking like you failed, you certainly don't look like a failure.

How to Apologize

We screwed up recently.  A couple of times, actually.  First step to take when you realize you've screwed up is to do anything and everything you can do to fix it.  If we make a typo on a print piece, WE call the printer to see if it's too late to send a new file.  We volunteer to go back to the office at 9p on a Friday to revise the file.  And if it can't be fixed, just apologize.  If you can't fix the problem, at least take responsibility for it.  It won't change anything but it'll sure as heck make your client feel better to know you accept responsibility.  And don't be afraid to accept responsibility even when it's NOT your fault.  "Yes, we just copied and pasted the information you sent us but we should have caught that."  Chances are at this point that tempers are high and you should just be seeking to calm things down.  The client will remember that rather than being a tool about it, you admitted fault.  And it's likely that 24 hours later they'll realize that it really wasn't your fault and they'll respect you even more.

Finally, and most importantly, after a few days have passed, the person responsible for the mistake (designer, client rep, etc.) will send a handwritten note to the client further apologizing for the mistake.  By this time, the client is probably totally over it.  Which is the perfect time for you to apologize again.  Don't just tell them you're sorry.  It's imperative that you also outline the steps you will take to make sure that same mistake never happens again.  They care that you're sorry... but they care even more that you're not going to let it happen again.  They need to be reassured that this isn't going to be a reoccurring thing.  

Nellie was right

Your best bet is to follow Nellie's advice and just never screw up.  But when you do, nod your head and point at yourself.  

This past weekend, I was talking with my mom about my fantasy football team. It is funny how everyone loves to talk to others about their team, but no one gives a toot about anyone’s team but their own. It is like talking to people about your dreams- the only person who is the tiny bit interested is you.

Anyway, I was telling my mom about how horrible my team was (Arian Foster, ugh) and she said my aunt was upset about her team. My aunt? The one who has never watched a football game in her life? Is playing fantasy football? My mom proceeded to tell me that a group of moms asked her to play and she has been actually watching football this season. It is a holiday miracle.

Fantasy football has changed the way fans and non-fans interact with the sport of football. It isn’t just about watching, but it is about cheering and investing in players. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association says that Fantasy Sports now has a $5 billion total market impact, which includes products, services and subscriptions.

What is interesting about fantasy sports is the passion it brings out from the players involved. It gets non-fans interested in watching the games. It is way for friends and family to compete with one another. Every team has a chance to win each week, keeping people invested even when their team has a bad day. Fantasy football is easy to use and allows people to customize their team.

There is an opportunity in the market to capitalize on the success of fantasy football. While how to do this exactly hasn’t been figured out, using the basic principles that made fantasy football a success could be a good start.

The competition between friends and family is what drives fans week-to-week and year-to-year. Marketers could create a game or interaction in the stands that allows fans to compete with one another. Developing a game or interaction that makes every play count could also be an avenue. Marketers could set up a competition outside the stadium or field that has fans compete against one another. The competition could be a game involving social media as well.

Fantasy football and the logistics that have made it a success is another avenue that marketers can use to make a deeper connection to fans. Marketers have the opportunity to create that connection and find develop a more devoted fan base.

Yesterday I read an article about how the NBA is going to be tracking a lot more data on its players.  Completely random and seemingly irrelevant stats that only the most obsessed sports nerds would even care about.  However, a quick look at what the NBA is investing in this technology tells you they see value in the information.

I think stats have become increasingly important to the public since fantasy sports have become main stream.  The NBA is investing in this because they see a market in this data and want to allow their fans access to the information. 

Do I care that Tony Parker scores every .24 times he touches the ball?  Not in the slightest. 

Do I care that a person who clicks a link in Old Hat Creative’s newsletter is 50% more likely to spend over five minutes on oldhatcreative.com? Absolutely

Do you care that I completely made that stat up?  I am not sure

Data is important no matter what sport you work in or what level.  The stats for our website are something I look at daily.  It helps me to get an idea of what content we should push or what our newsletter should be about.  All of the sites we build have analytics built in from the start.  It is not always about making sure people know about Old Hat but figuring out what will make our clients more successful.  We routinely compile analytic reports for our clients websites so we can understand their fan base.  Content is king, but how your fans consume that content is where you need the data. 

I started this blog talking about NBA stats, filled the middle up with some analytics, and now am going to end it with a simple yet valuable pointer. 

If you are not collecting data on your website, you are wasting money. Want to know why?  Just ask me  kevin@oldhatcreative.com Twitter: @kk13cball

 

 

Interested in seeing what we've done for clients throughout our six divisions? Click the links below to read our new consulting blogs from the Old Hat homepage! 

Productions - Michigan Football Animations

Interactive - Texas A&M's Kyle Field Website

Print - Charlotte's Inaugural Football Season Print Collateral 

Consulting - SMU Football Campaign 

Branding - Culver Stockton Rebrand

Capture - Cincinnati Football Intro Video Shoot

Content is King!  I say that on a regular basis.  When it comes to garnering attention on the web CONTENT IS KING!  However, in todays social world it gets harder and harder to control the content or keep your exclusive content.  To counteract that a lot of sports organizations are creating websites to release their exclusive content.  Lets be honest, ESPN needs stories 24/7. Whether they have to create them from nothing or not, they are going to find something to run. 

As a marketer you need to make sure that you are doing your best to control the content but sometimes you just want to make sure you are the one who is putting it out there.

 http://aggiefblife.com/ Is a great example.   The site serves as a content aggregator not just with social media feeds but with everything the Texas A&M football team produces.  With a site like this they are able to release the content they want the public to see.  The site has great behind the scenes content that you can not get anywhere else, and that is the point.  With so many Fan sites out there added to the mix of espn.com, si.com, cbssports.com, and others it is becoming ever harder to be the first to break the news of anything.  With the amount of attention garnered by Texas A&M football in the offseason, this site was seen as outlet for the team and staff to tell their story. 

The site is worth a look.  The content may not be what you are looking for(unless you are smart and an Aggie fan) but it shows what you can do with just a little exclusive content and website. 

Have some exclusive content?  Not sure exactly what to do with it?  Give us a call…

 

405-310-2133

Hey folks, good to have you here on the blog today. If you’ve ever come across one or two of my past blogs, you probably realize by now I like to blog using photos. Or perhaps ramble on about things that you couldn’t care less about. Or maybe even combine the two for the double whammy… a useless blog centered around meaningless photos. Well that’s all about to change, at least today. I think.

So Old Hat is about to start working on an athletics slogan for an unnamed client (they have a name, I’m just not going to tell you what it is). And it got me to thinking about what makes a slogan work. I mean, they work… right? I’m not talking about the yearly campaigns that an athletic department tries to tie in across every sport, I’m talking about the overarching university athletics slogan, like “Go Blue” for Michigan.

What is it that makes the slogan work? Why do some slogans catch on and others don’t? What’s the value in creating a slogan for an athletics program? Those are all good questions, and by good I mean that I probably can’t answer them. But I wanna give it a shot anyhow.

First off, what makes a slogan work? I’m going to narrow that down to my top three-  repetition, clarity and conciseness. Each of these plays a big part in helping fans (and even non-fans) retain these messages. Here’s what I mean by those:

  1. Repetition- saying something over and over and over and over and over and over and over so much that seeing or hearing your slogan one more time could cause a seizure, or at least mild convulsions.
  2. Clarity- can I understand your message plastered on a billboard as I drive by it at 85 mph, while my kids yell at me from the back seat because I’m texting my boss about this cool billboard I just saw? If so, that’s clarity. Be careful though, don’t feel like you have to create it for the masses. And don’t allow the masses (internally) to create it for you.
  3. Conciseness- Keep it simple, stupid.

 

So what if you don’t have the budget to get the message out to the masses? You may have realized by now that we’re in the digital age, and impressions can be cheap, even free. You’ve got a website, right? If not, go back 20 years, create a website, then proceed with the next sentence. How about using your slogan as your URL? A successful URL has a lot of the same qualities as a slogan, so why not kill two birds with one URL?

Unfortunately I didn’t make it to all those questions I mentioned earlier, and I’m too lazy to delete them. But maybe I provided a little sliver of insight about what makes a successful athletics slogan. There’s so much to it, and yet it’s also so simple. Don’t overthink it.

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