I hate changing passwords.  It used to not be that big of deal, but the longer I go working in this field, the more passwords I establish.  I make sure to have good passwords and not reuse them but that means I have way too many personal passwords to change when something goes wrong.  Add in the amount of passwords we have as a company at Old Hat and today will be spent changing passwords.  

As much as I hate to do it, it needs to be done.  Heartbleed has become a giant pain for anyone who makes a living associated with the Internet.  I will be honest, I understand the ramifications of the vulnerability better than most, but that is only at the 1,000-foot view.  The bottom line is that people can access important aspects of your infrastructure and you will never know.  That scares me… a lot.  Websites are my livelihood.  When problems like this or people in hacker groups take advantage or attack companies, it is not just the corporations and giant companies that have to deal with it.  I have to deal with it and most likely; you NEED to deal with it. 

Check out this article that lists out some of the sites that you will probably need to change or secure your information.  

Happy password day, I mean Friday!

At Old Hat, we post a lot of videos of us doing stupid things around the office.  It's an expression of our personality.  We're stupid... or at least we like to do stupid things.  The funny thing though is that because of this outward display, people get the impression that the offices of Old Hat are a laugh-a-minute.  And as much as I'd like for us all to get paid to do stupid things all day, I haven't figured out a way to monetize our stupidity.  But I think people get the impression that when they come to work at Old Hat or come to visit us, it's going to be like a scene from Animal House.  When they actually see us at work though, the comment I get over and over is, "It's like a library in here!  I'm afraid to speak!"  That's because for the vast majority of every day, our staff is hard at work coming up with the most amazing creative in the sports marketing realm.  In order to do this, they have to CONCENTRATE.  So they put their headphones in, tune out the world and work.

Don't get me wrong.  We have fun here.  We have donuts and play a game every Monday morning.  The beer flows from the taps in our office bar every Friday at 4p.  We take breaks mid-day to take silly photos or shoot a video.  But for about 7.5 hours out of every day, it's like a library in here.  Our product... the thing we sell... is our time.  And we can only sell our time if that time is spent sitting at a computer editing, programming, animating, designing, etc.  But it would be really boring if we posted photos or videos of that.  To prove my point, here's a sample video of what we do most of the time:

 

See?  Boring. 

Old Hat is a really fun place to work.  And we hope you'll come visit us sometime.  Just please don't make any noise if you do.

Happy Monday!!! Hey, how's your bracket doing?? 

Yeah, me too. It's not looking good, but congrats to our clients in the Sweet Sixteen! We're quite proud of your accomplishment! As we continue on this week a good majority of schools are returning from Spring Break. It's obvious that that's the case here in Norman because the traffic has increased considerably. Gotta love those student drivers!

Anywho, I'm one of those weirdos who misses school. I don't miss the 20+page grad school research papers, but I do miss the learning. I've always said if I go back for a PhD someday it would be for the cool title (to make people call me Dr.), but in all honesty I dig the challenge of a classroom. I recently discovered an incredibly cool YouTube Channel called "Crash Course." It's an educational channel that covers History, Biology, Chemistry, Literature, Ecology and Psychology. The videos are totally engaging and informative. I'm a big fan of their humor and fantastic animations as well.

Now, I don't think you can learn everything about a subject in a ten-minute video, but that's not the point of these videos. I think it creates a foundation of interest in the subject matter and that's thanks in large part to the presentation of the material. I really got into history at K-State because of the faculty who presented their subjects with passion and unique and engaging presentations. To this day I still love history and enjoy reading and watching all things about that subject. On the other end of the learning spectrum, I absolutely disliked my trigonometry class because the professor was abysmal at presenting the information to the students. To this day I throw up a little when I hear anything about sines, cosines and tangents. 

That same basic principle can be applied to sports marketing campaigns and in-game entertainment. You want to create an interest in your team/school and the best way to do that is with a creative presentation of your team/school. Presenters (teachers, marketers) play a big role in how the fan/student connect to a subject and how you will continue to connect in the future. Anybody can throw some highlights in a timeline and set it to some epic music and have a video. Anybody can talk about an historic event and throw around dates and names and teach a class. But those things don't make a good video or a good teacher. I like to think that's why schools, teams and organizations come to Old Hat. We get that a poster is more that just photos, fonts and photoshop. We get that a website is more that just text, photos and clicks. We get that a video is more than just clips cut to music. We get that videography and photography is more that just pointing and shooting a camera. And we get that good customer service is more that just answering phone calls and emails. I think when you start to devalue these things you're devaluing your message or your product and you're devaluing your fans.

Now please excuse me as I learn about Taxes and Smuggling:

 

Every time my turn to blog comes up, I struggle to find something to write about.  I have no problem just sitting down and writing when I want to, but for some reason when I have that “assignment”, I struggle.  When I can’t think of anything, I start asking people for ideas.  

Today Kelby told me I could write about the Southland Conference.  Unfortunately, I have not worked on many of their projects and don’t have a great depth of knowledge about the conference.  This led me to Robert’s office to ask him about the work we did for them.  Robert asked why I was going to blog about Southland and that led to a conversation about why we have a blog. 

Old Hat had a blog before I got here.  It was something I inherited and was told to manage but it was not something that I brought to the table.  So why do we blog?  

If you look at Robert’s blogs you might think his purpose to blog is to show you what artistic project he has been working on over the weekends.  If you look at Zac’s blogs you think we blog so he can talk about how he has developed his management philosophy over the years.  If you look at my blogs you probably think our blogs are made for some one to aimlessly ramble.   

The more I think about this, the more I think that is the point.  We are Old Hat Creative.  We are a full service marketing agency.  We have six divisions and we have some personality.  That is the point of our blog.  We want you to get to know us.  We want you to trust us and we want you to understand the company that produces all of the work that we do.  Robert may blog about his kids, but that is who he is and who he is, is a VITAL part of Old Hat Creative.  Deb may only blog about video work we do, but that video work is one of the biggest reasons Old Hat is known in the industry.  

When you read our blog, I hope you enjoy it.  I hope it shows you the amazing work we do and the amazing people we have who produce that work.  

Think we should blog about something else? Let me know @kk13cball

Fortunately, it's not just in my MIND that I'm going to Carolina.  I'm actually going there.  I'm going there in my mind too.  I mean, my mind will be with me while I'm there.  But so will my body.  And my wife's body.  And her mind.  So just to recap, both the minds AND the bodies of Zac and Holli Logsdon are going to Carolina.

Now that we've established that, let's talk about why.  One thing I've learned in my time on this planet is that people in the Carolinas are more educated than anyone else in the country.  If you're not from this area, don't be insulted.  I'm not from North or South Carolina either.  And I've conducted no scientific study upon which to base this opinion.  This statement is based purely on the fact that there seem to be more major universities in this area than anywhere else in the country.  Again, ZERO research went into this but the fact is, I'm heading out to Charlotte, NC in a couple of weeks and I'm going to be able to visit 12 of our clients' campuses in a 7-span.

One of the great pleasures of having the job that I do is that I get to visit college campuses.  I absolutely love getting to meet the people we work with, see their campuses and facilities and also see the work we've done for them displayed around their offices.  It's rare that we actually get to see the billboards, posters, intro videos, etc. printed, hung and shown.  Over the past many years, Old Hat has just kept adding and adding clients from North and South Carolina.  With the latest additions of Clemson and ECU, my wife and I decided that it was time we get out there and see how many of them we could visit.

Here's the list of campuses we plan to hit during the trip, in the order we're going to visit them.  Make sure to follow me on twitter @zaclogsdon to see lots of photos from our #OHCarolina Tour.

1. UNC-Charlotte

2. Clemson

3. Presbyterian College

4. South Carolina

5. College of Charleston

6. UNC-Greensboro

7. Wake Forest

8. High Point

9. UNC

10. NC State

11. East Carolina

12. Duke

I was really hoping to be able to get up to App State as well but I don't think it's going to work out.  Still, 12 clients in 7 days is a lot.  Really looking forward to meeting the clients I've never met in person and seeing those that I've know for a long time.

The Redevelopment of Kyle Field is one of the largest projects Texas A&M University has ever undertaken.  Not surprisingly, building the website that would come to be the main source of information for the project was one of the largest projects Old Hat Interactive has ever undertaken as well.   

When we first started investigating this project it was a bit overwhelming.  Not only was this site a major project in our industry, but also we were being given confidential information that very few people knew.  We had to have the conversation with all of our staff about making sure nothing we were working on was leaked.  Add in the fact, I was holding on to information that every alumnus of my school would love to have and I was a bit stressed going into this project.  But that is why I work in this industry.  It was incredibly exciting to realize what we were about to do.  

With all of the excitement, stress, and information came the fact that we actually had to build this thing out and make sure the 12th Man Foundation absolutely loved the end project.  At Old Hat, we pride ourselves on customer service and this project was always going to be one where we needed to show that.  At the start of the project I went to College Station to meet with the 12th Man Foundation.  With a project like this we needed to make sure all stakeholders had an opportunity to explain their vision to us.  

Normally this is where I would go into the details of building out a massive site like KyleField.com but that is for another blog.  

Yesterday Tricia blogged about a day in the life of a project manager.  I am a project manager as well, but what I do is different from what Tricia does.  The biggest difference I tend to feel is that my projects are never finished.  We may launch a site but that is only the beginning of the process.  Sites need content and content is constantly changing.  Add in the fact that the stadium redevelopment is a $450 million dollar project, things will change… daily. With content changing we had to make sure we were in constant contact with our clients at the 12th Man Foundation.  We needed to know in advance of changes that would be made so we could handle the change and the traffic.  

When this site launched it was receiving 1.2 million hits per second.  PER SECOND! With that much traffic changing a navigation item or even some basic content can get tricky.  I have worked in web long enough to realize you will lose your visitors if they have one bad experience on a site and the last thing we want is for one of our clients to have any bad experiences associated with their brand.  

Enter Sandro…

Sandro might be a person, but to be honest, I have no idea.  What I do know is that Sandro’s the pizza place delivers.  I know this seems like a random tangent but the traffic on the site dictated that major work needed be done at off peak hours.  Sandro’s Pizza was our preferred food provider when we were at the office late at night making changes to the site and as Zac would have me say, it was “Our Pleasure”. 

We are truly happy to do things like that for our client.  The 12th Man Foundation needed the content on the site but the last thing they needed was an issue to blow up on a fan forum because someone could not see the new content. We programmed at 3am to make sure the change over was minimal.  We built an entire secondary site that allowed us to have a back up and show our client what the changes would look like once we made them live.  The 12th Man Foundation could go to sleep at night knowing that when they woke, KyleField.com would match the development site they saw the day before.  

When Zac writes a blog about customer service or always thanking our clients for giving us the opportunity, this is what he means.  We are TRULY GRATEFUL for the opportunity to be involved in a massive project like the Redevelopment of Kyle Field. If that means we wake up at night to program something at 3am, drive to College Station for a meeting, or we answer the phone on a Friday night to upload a video that has to go live that day…. It will always be our pleasure. 

If you saw my posting on Twitter or Facebook yesterday, you know that yesterday (February 16, 2004) was Old Hat's official 10-Year Anniversary.  We had our party a couple weeks ago but yesterday was the official date.  Ten years ago yesterday, yours truly was sitting alone in a tiny office at 763 Asp Avenue on Campus Corner in Norman wondering what the hell he had gotten himself into.  I remember spending about $150 on office supplies and worrying that I couldn't afford it.  I remember negotiating my $350/month rent and being sick to my stomach that I wouldn't be able to pay it.  And I remember having a LOT of free time.

It seems like forever ago and it seems like just yesterday.  We occupied about 100 square feet back then and now our office space is about 5,000 square feet.  One employee and now 28.  One Apple computer and now more than 30.  One client and now more than 90.  The only thing that has decreased in the past 10 years is the number of hairs on my head.  In celebration of our 10 years in business, I have decided to make a list of the Top Ten things I have learned over the past 10 years (about running a business, that is).

10. Don't be a flake - I feel like one of the primary reasons we have had success is because we actually do what we say we'll do.  So many creative agencies are known for missing deadlines, being unavaible, etc.  But our focus has always been on giving our clients what they want as quickly as possible.  

9. Always say yes - Sometimes a "yes" should be followed by a "but"... but we always try to start with "yes."  Yes, we can turn that project around in a less than desirable time, BUT here are the restrictions and/or it's going to cost more.  Yes, we know how to do a website that does that.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

8. Slow and steady wins the race - I think that some companies simply grow too fast and don't take the time to build a proper foundation that can handle their success.  Old Hat has definitely grown rapidly but we've always limited our growth to what we felt like we could handle without sacrificing the quality of our work and of our customer service.  

7. Give back - Take some time to do something to give back to the community that allowed you to prosper.  We have done an annual fundraiser every year for the past 5 years and it's not only the right thing to do, it's a great team-builder and gives your staff something to rally around.

6. Say Thank You - To everyone that does anything for you, say thank you.  Over and over and over again.  Thank your clients.  Thank your staff.  Thank your janitor.  Be grateful for what you have and you will have more of it.

5. Have fun - It's hard enought to get through a workday without also feeling like you can't have any fun.  Take some time out and do something fun during the day. I don't think we do this enough but we should.

4. Red and Black - If you're running a business, learn how to manage finances.  I've blogged about this before but I can't stress the importance of this enough.  For 7 years, I really didn't have anything to do with our day-to-day finances.  But I was finally forced to learn it and the past 3 years have been by far our most successful because of it.

3. Rotten Apples- The single most important factor in the success of any company is the people it employs.  Find good ones and do everything you can to keep them.  Identify the bad ones and allow them to find a different opportunity outside the company.  One bad apple can definitely spoil the bunch.

2. Read y'all - Another thing I've blogged a lot about.  Read!  Learn from other people that have been successful.  Learn from their mistakes.  There are hundreds and hundreds of books out there that tell you how to effectively run a business.  If you don't read them, you have no excuse for failure.

1. Be Ridiculous - Less than 4% of small businesses ever make it to 10 years.  That's because in order to succeed you have to be absolutely ridiculous about making yourself succeed.  Be ridiculous about customer service.  Be ridiculous about over-delivering on promises.  Be ridiculous about providing the best of whatever it is you sell.  Be ridiculous about how you market yourself.  For 10 years, Old Hat has been ridiculous.  And our goal for the next 10 is to make the first 10 look like child's play.  We were just getting warmed up for those first 10 years.  The next 10 are going to be ABSURD.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to all of you that have made the past 10 years possible.  I'd list out everyone that has contributed to our success but there are too many to name.  You know who you are.  And know that I'm looking at you when I say:

It is Friday January 31st.  Today, we are getting infected. 

As Zac put it, he spent all day yesterday getting infected and today he is going to infect us.  Staff infection is normally done sometime in May as we gear up for another busy season in college athletics.  This year we are doing an extra infection as we gear up for the Duey Does a Decade party.

Are you coming to the party? 

Don’t be that guy.  Don’t be the one that has to hear the stories about the party and only live vicariously through our twitter feed.  Come on, no one wants to be that guy. 

I will be there.  Duey will be there.  Gnorman will be there. Nick Lachey might be there.  Ashley and Jessica will ACTUALLY be here.  IN PERSON.  It’s a crazy world we are living in…

You do not want to miss this party.  Worried that you forgot to RSVP.  Don’t.  Just go here

 

See you Saturday!

There is nothing like spending time with your entire family, cheering on your favorite sports team! (Okay I know I shouldn't have a favorite when it comes to clients, because you are all so awesome, but I have waited my entire life for OKC to have a pro sports team, so yeah I'm a little biased.)   Add a come from behind win at the Peak and Kevin Durant being unstoppable and you have a night to remember!  I'm a little surprised I still have a voice this morning.  It's an atmosphere of excitement and celebration.  No matter what, the fans stick behind the boys in blue, even when being down in the double digits for most of the game.  Only thing missing was a nice spark plug from Westbrook, but he will be back real soon (I hope).  And maybe Harden, he's still one of my favs, pardon his Lebron-ing (flopping) on the court.

So how have the Thunder built such a commanding atmosphere when it comes to sports.  I'm not going to lie two big pieces to their success for fan-tasia here has been KD and an environment ready to shoved into the national spotlight with our first pro team.  But there is much more to it than that, and it comes into play with Scott Brooks' team philosophy.  The Thunder players commonly go out into the community and meet people.  They offer help when they can, even sometimes wanting to remain nameless in times of need.  They are our team, and they play their hearts out for us.  Throw in Rumble and Thundergirls appearances and you don't have to go far to see the team's impact on your family and friends.

Now when I see colleges wanting to reach this kind of community support, I run into a problem.  I don't know the players.  I have no real connection to the team except my alumni, which unless you are St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, OK, you are not benefitting too much.  I rarely hear about players going out into the community.  I may know some of the coaches (Bob Stoops, because it's pretty hard not to know him around here and he went to the same church as me), but other than that I'm at a loss.  I understand these players have busy schedules (I remember my days playing ball in college), but there are times when it can be done.  People want to associate with the team.  They want to know who they are cheering for.  Every now and then a player comes along with a catchy nickname (Johnny Football, the Bell-Dozer) and people began to root for these players just because they begin to know them.

I think the University of Miami realized this when they had us build their basketball site in 2012 (http://miabasketball2012.oldhatarchive.com/).  [The site has been archived and the videos will be there for the next few days.]  Using videos [created by us I might mention. **wink** **wink** ] they wanted to introduce their players to the community.  This is a great idea, but it is only part of the step needed.  Think about Tim Tebow.  People all over recognize him for not only his pose and the sill internet fad that followed, but for his work off the field.  You would hear about him going to visit kids in the hospital and such.  This makes him more than just someone people see on tv and the internet.  They view him as a genuine person.  And the people he meets commonly become life long fans or maybe even friends.  The same can be said for KD.  Yea he's brilliant on the court, but we get to see his other side from time to time.

Now you also have to be careful not to cross the line of doing things just for the publicity.  If you always have cameras around every time you do something good for the community, it may come off as shallow.  Yes it's ok time to time, but people know when you are doing something just because it is required, and when people truly care.  And that is a challenge to all sports organizations, but accomplishing it can take your program and it's support to the next level, to the Thunderous applause and cheers of Loud City.

I was browsing Facebook the other day and noticed a “friend” who posted about a flavor of Lays chips called Pretzel Burger. Clicking on the link, I discovered a really cool promotion that Lay’s chips is running called “Do Us a Flavor”. The campaign is asking fans to help create its next chip flavor in celebration of its 75th anniversary next year.

According to their press release, the "Do Us a Flavor" contest is a first in the United States but has already been a major success around the globe, with winning flavors like Chili & Chocolate, Caesar Salad, Late Night Kebob and even Cajun Squirrel. These contests have generated more than 8 million chip flavor ideas globally.

Lays is doing some great promotions to generate buzz for the promotion. They built its first-ever Lay's popup store in the middle of New York's Time Square. They also teamed up with Facebook to help with the submission process, with Facebook changing the "Like" button to "I'd Eat That" exclusively for this contest to encourage more friend interactions and "flavor showdowns" among the contestants. Lay’s hired actress and restaurateur Eva Longoria and Iron Chef Michael Symon to further promote the contest. And even better for their marketers, Lay's will have a trove of data on what chip flavors are favored by the majority of Americans.

This contest is a great example of a company reaching out to its customers for feedback. So often, marketers are scared to ask for feedback or direction, but consumers and fans want to have their voices heard. Our clients’ fan bases are their biggest supporters and they are the ones who want to define what the brand means and where it goes in the future. Lays’ Do Us a Flavor contest offers a great example of interacting with and gaining feedback from their fans in a fun and insightful way.

And who wouldn't want to eat a bag of Lil Duey's Bring Gnome the Bacon chips, described as "A subtle hint of lawn plays up the bacon. A splash of Diet Dr. Pepper makes 'em coming back for more!"

 

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