In July, I transitioned from a marketing position to a client rep position with Old Hat. I absolutely love it! I love talking with clients on a daily basis and getting things organized for our production staff to begin creating. It's a fun process that has taken a lot of learning over the past two months. I greatly appreciate all the help and guidance from Kevin, Deb, Tricia, Hannah and Robert. 

On August 19th, my first project launched for Memphis, it was the Time to Shine website. Our web team created a really awesome site to help Memphis raise money for their capital campaign to enhance practice and training facilities for football and men's basketball. 

Visit the site, timetoshinememphis.com

I have never tried to blog from my phone before, but figured it was worth a try. Today, Zac and I travel to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to talk about a website. I do not normally travel, but this year I am covering quite a bit of distance. 

This trip is shorter than my last, I will only be spending about 20 hours in the state of North Carolina. Lucky for me, this is not my first trip out to Chapel Hill so I do not have to worry about site seeing, but I am still excited to make the trip. 
 
I enjoy getting on campus to meet with clients. It helps us understand the client's needs and message. It allows us to get a feel for what is important and helps us make sure we build a custom website that solves a problem. 
 
Stay tuned to see what our trips this summer will produce!! And check out our latest website, timetoshinememphis.com.
 

It recently was brought to my attention that I am the commissioner of two fantasy leagues.  It is not that I did not know I was commissioner; it was that I had not made time to handle my duties.  The real issue is that one of those leagues starts this Saturday and I have done little to no planning for the season.  It is fantasy football, but not the kind you are thinking.  

Saturday kicks off the English soccer season.  There are several fantasy games to go along with the leagues and one I have been playing for a few years now.  It is completely different from fantasy football and lasts twice as long.  I actually watch the games throughout the year (compared to fantasy football where I hardly watch any NFL games) and enjoy the drawn out season.  

However, because the season is longer, there are a lot more games, and it requires more strategy.  Player and team values can change throughout the year. There are add on features that can only be used once or at certain times of the year.  It is a different game.  

Old Hat recently started offering the Sports Marketing 180.  We are adding a service to the same games we have always worked on, but approaching it in a different manner from what we have done in the past.  It takes our clients and us to another level because of the strategy involved.  This process is a full-scale brand assessment that is especially ideal for any organization that is in transition. We come on campus and survey key members of your staff, donors and fans. Then we attend events (we will wear your colors and cheer loudly, we promise) and research all of the ways you are currently communicating with your fans and donors whether it be through fundraising solicitations, marketing collateral, television commercials, coaches shows, etc. And at the end of all of that, we provide a report to you that shows what we have uncovered, along with a list of recommendations for how to increase fundraising levels, raise fan affinity and improve ticket sales.

We are going more in depth than ever before in an effort to serve our clients completely.  How does all of this tie in to fantasy soccer or fantasy sports in general?  Well, I need some strategy.  Does anyone out there offer a Fantasy Soccer 180 or maybe 360?  Seriously, I need some help…

Last week, Kevin and I got to take a trip out to Los Angeles to visit some folks at USC to talk over a big project in the works. If you've ever read any of my blogs or know anything about me, you might've guessed that I'm not much of a city guy. I'd prefer fishing or enjoying nature over bustling crowds and a lungful of exhaust. But we had a little of both on this trip, and you know what... it wasn't a vacation, it was a work trip, so I can adapt. The first day we managed to get out to Santa Monica, take in some of the salty air on a jog along the beach, and made it to the "End of the Trail"- the western limit of Route 66 (which coincidentally runs through Oklahoma). We even had some ice cream. I know that sounds more like vacation than work, but I'm getting to that part.

After making it through the ridiculous traffic back to our hotel on campus, we met up with one of Kevin's buddies from his Ohio days downtown at LA Live. Cool place, and there weren't many people out so even cooler. Still a lot like vacation, I'll give you that.

Day two was all work, but fun work. We met up with multiple groups from USC and talked over the big project (shhh, it's a secret). We visited the historic Memorial Coliseum as they were preparing for the Special Olympics. That place is old, and it looks old, but in a good way... kinda like Meryl Streep.

Later on we went exploring with a jog around USC campus. I even bought a USC shirt. If you had told me 6 months ago I'd be at the USC campus buying a USC shirt, first I would've said "that seems like a random comment" and "how could you even know that?", but after that I probably would've asked how much money I'd need to purchase such a cool shirt. And I might've just packed another jogging shirt instead of buying one. I wish you would've told me 6 months ago...

Okay, so most of this trip just sounded like a vacation, but I promise you it was very valuable from a work perspective. I had to leave out the really important work stuff to protect the anonymity of the project. Trust me, lots of work going on.

And now it's time for my ever-insightful photo commentary...

  Clearly working, you can see the sweat.

  Santa Monica Pier, if you didn't gather that from the sign.

  That's me, in the front there.

   Kevin eating ice cream in front of a carousel. What a special moment I've captured. We'll throw that in his baby book.

   The hotel we didn't stay at.

Downtown LA. Not much happening during the daylight hours... but just wait.

Yeah, check it out now. The place is hoppin'.

Day 2 at the Coliseum. That's Kevin in the front. I didn't get the names of the other guys in the background.

  "Are you not ENTERTAINED?!" That one guy up top there clearly was.

Overheard at this statue... "oh man, wonder what happened to her shoes?"

After a jog in my new USC shirt. A minute later a girl would drop and break a glass vase that looked kind of important, but I didn't know that at the time, so it's okay that I'm laughing.

 

 

 

There seems to be two types of people. Ones who want the best and the ones who want the cheapest.  Sometimes both those things are the same thing, but the majority of the time they are not.  In order for you to get cheap, certain sacrifices have to be made.  It could mean that you get some pre-manufactured product, not all the bells and whistles are present, (sometimes even key features may be missing), or it may take a really long time to build/make.

I tend to be of the mindset, to spend a little more to get a better product.  In the case of my laptop, I went with the best I could afford.  I have been using my Late 2008 13" Macbook almost everyday for about 7 years now.  It still runs great.  I recently spent money on some new upgrades for it.  The first part came as a new hard drive.  I know have 1TB of space on it, compared to the 160GB I had before, that was mostly filled up with software. And then yesterday, the second part of the upgrade came in the mail.  It was a very much needed, new battery.  My old one only lasted about 5 minutes without being plugged in, but that's what happens after 7 years of daily use.  I have made upgrades to the RAM twice.  Once to 4 gigs and then once more up to 8 gigs.

I know all the tech specs are probably boring you, but the point is, because I put the extra money into my laptop to begin with and then made modest updates, I have been able to get a very long life out of a type of product that typically doesn't make it 4 years.  

The same can be said for websites.  Sometimes it's worth spending the money up front to get a product that can with stand the test of time.  

I am quite a fan of watching thunderstorms, most of the time.  Something about watching a thunderhead build slowly in the afternoon heat and merge into something so powerful has always been an event that draws my attention.  

When I lived in College Station during school, I was very fortunate to live on a 90-acre piece of property, on top of a hill, and about 8 miles from Texas A&M campus.  I could walk out my front door and see Kyle Field on the horizon. I enjoyed being able to see the lights kick on and then off for Midnight Yell Practice, but what I really enjoyed was watching a storm build up.  They would start south of town about mid afternoon and eventually build up to a light show.  I could sit in the sun and beautiful weather watching a storm pour down on College Station.  The storms would eventually move my direction, but the whole process was incredibly interesting to me.  Some of my best writing came when I was on that porch watching a storm.

Now I live in Oklahoma and I do not enjoy all storms.  They still interest me and I will still sit outside for as long as possible to watch a storm build and lightening light of the sky.   Some storms are too strong or destructive to watch for long, but even for those, I am sitting on the front porch of the Railhouse, trying to get a picture while I can.  

In College Station, I could watch the storm develop and see it moving my way.  This was always the calm before the storm and I enjoyed it.  Some of the best fishing can be done at this time and it is an interesting transition from relative calm to a major event.  Nature is just interesting.

I feel like that right now.  

We are on the cusp of our busy season at Old Hat.  Projects are starting to line up in the queue, photo shoots have been booked, and the plans are starting to be laid for another round of amazing Old Hat work.  To me, this calm before the storm is different.  There is still that nervous anticipation of what will come out of all this.  Where will we be on the other side of this storm?  Storms like this always change things in some way.  Often times for the better, but change will happen regardless.  

I am excited for this busy season. I am excited to look up at my board and see that our projects have multiplied by five in the last week.  I am excited to see the amazing work that we create AND I am excited to see what changes may come.  

It may be the calm before the storm this time of year, but this is the storm that Old Hat Creative gets excited about.  

We are fortunate at Old Hat Creative.  We get to work on a lot of really interesting projects and sometimes we get to find out about things before anyone else, which is always interesting.  A lot of the work we do revolves around campaigns that different organizations are in the process of executing and we help with that execution.  

Sometimes it is a campaign to raise money for student-athletes.  Other times, it is a campaign to raise awareness about one of their student-athletes.  However, in the current landscape of college athletics, a lot of the campaigns are about new facilities.  Stadiums, locker rooms, administration buildings, food centers, student athlete lounges, indoor facilities, and any other thing that a college campus or athletic department might need.  This type of project is a lot of fun.  Few things get fans as excited as a fly through video of a new stadium. 

ESPN has a set of commercials that have the tag line, “Never graduate.”  The essence of the commercial is that you never leave behind those old rivalries you had from college and that comes into play when doing a campaign for any university.  The fans want to know that their stadium is going to be the best.  The fans want to know their facilities are the best, so new recruits will want to attend their school.  The fans even want to know the website promoting this new project, is the best of its kind.  In their eyes, it should not even be a question, they are better, IN EVERY WAY!  Being a fan is when you get to ignore logic (for the most part) and that is a large part of the fun.  

At Old Hat, we pay attention to both sides, logic and fan logic, because we want you to have the best of both worlds.  We want all of your fans to be amazed at the plans for the new stadium.  We want all of your fans to go into work the next week bragging about the video promoting the new stadium.  We want all of your fans to bookmark the website promoting that stadium and go to it EVERY DAY!  And most of all, we want to make your job easier by walking through the process with you and making sure every aspect of the campaign gives your fans braggin rights.  

The title of my blog today is “Campaigns and Classmates”.  If you made it this far, you can understand the “Campaigns” aspect of the blog, but may be wondering what this has to do with classmates?  Old Hat is about to start on another campaign project with a new client and we are excited!  On top of that, we will be traveling to campus to work with the staff on this campaign and I will get the chance to catch up with some classmates from grad school.  New client, check.  New campaign, check. New stadium, check.   Old friends, even better!

 

 

Another year and another successful NACMA in the books for us. We had a great time catching up with current clients and connecting with potential new clients. Overall, the trip was a blast and here are the top nine things we learned:

 

1. Stuckey's is an American Tradition - Anyone ever heard of Stuckey's? It's a chain of gas stations that I thought had gone the way of the dodo bird. There used to be multiple Stuckey's locations dotting I-35 in Oklahoma but I haven't seen one in years. As luck would have it, there's one right outside Pensacola, FL and we stopped there TWICE on this trip. Stuckey's is a great place to stop if you want really cheaply made chachkis, ugly t-shirts, alligator claw back-scratchers, etc. We decided to pick up surprises for all the staff that couldn't make the trip with us. See below.

 

2. The back seat of a Suburban is not meant for adults - Six adults in one suburban in a 45 hour (total) road trip is tough. Josie and Hannah are the smallest so we forced them into the third seat for a good portion of the trip. I gave them a hard time for complaining about it but the fact of the matter is, that seat wasn't meant for adults. Holli and I rode back there for a while on the way down there and then started the trip back with a solid 6 hours back there. It was not enjoyable. Here's a photo of me and Holli asleep in the back while everyone else is enjoying their spacious seating.

 

3. There's Only One Place Left in the World That Still Allows Smoking Indoors... And We Had Our Party There - For all of our clients that are chain-smokers, I'm sure you were delighted to see that the bar we chose for our party allowed smoking. For all of you that DON'T want lung cancer, I'm sure the cloud of smoke was a bit of a shock when you arrive. On the upside, the bar's vending machine DID offer condoms. So we had that going for us... which was nice.

 

4. Make Sure to Bring $1.25 to Pensacola Beach - Pensacola Beach is a pretty nice beach. Crowded... but the sand is white and the water is clear. But if you have any desire to walk out on the pier, you better have some cash with you. Pensacola must be very proud of their pier as they charge $1.25 to walk on it. It's like a toll road for your feet. We walked over to it but hadn't brought any methods of payment with us so we opted out of the walk on the pier. Oh well.

 

5. The Lighting is Better in the Suburban than in My Shower - So apparently sunlight through the back windows of a Suburband does a better job of showing missed spots on shaven legs than the lighting in my shower at home. Holli noticed a few spots on the drive out there that she had missed so she hollered at whoever was in the front seat to fetch her the razor she keeps in the glove compartment for this very reason. I'm thinking about installing a shower in the Suburban so she can kill two birds with one stone from here on out.

 

6. 500 Square Feet is a LOT of Awesomeness - The past few years, we've had a 20 x 20 foot booth space in the tradeshow. This year, we decided to go with a 10 x 40 foot space to mix it up a little. It was a little experiment. Well, due to a longer story than you care to hear, we expanded that to 10 x 50 feet. It was nice to have all that space but I think we'll go back down to 10 x 40 next year. 

 

7. Robert and I have Similar Tastes in Swimwear - I've known Robert a long time... since we were juniors in college, to be exact. And we've worked together for many years. So I know him pretty well. But I have to admit that I was surprised when we got ready to leave for the beach and discovered that our swimsuits were nearly identical. 

 

8. Just Like the Seminoles, My Diet Dr Pepper Record will Forever be Unconquered - FSU was the latest in my trek to have the record for the most Division 1 college campuses upon which a person has been photographed drinking a Diet Dr Pepper. This was number 26 for me.

 

9. People Would Rather See My Wife Hula Hoop than See Me Do ANYTHING - It all started as a joke. Last year we had a hula hoop at the booth because we wrapped a sign around it. Holli hula hooped with it, I video'd it, uploaded it to facebook and she became a hula hooping sensation. So I decided it would be funny to make this year's t-shirt giveaway an Old Hat University Hula Hooping Team t-shirt and to promote it, I'd have her hula hoop at landmarks all the way to Orlando AND at the booth. Well what I discovered is that videos of her hula hooping are far more popular than anything I've ever done on camera. So far, her videos have been viewed 3,201 times. The most popular was the one of her hula hooping with Nicole Imbrogno. You can view that on the Old Hat facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/oldhat

 

That's all! See you next year!

 

So my birthday is just around the corner and I am having some friends and family over for a cookout this weekend!  I'm excited! Not only because it's my bday, but I am exhausted from all the planning and work that has gone into it and am ready to reap the rewards.   I have been doing little stuff around the house for about a month now, and every night for the past two weeks these efforts have been intensified.

So how the heck is planning a party like building a website?!  Well you may see it as bit of a stretch, but here are the similarities I have found...

Lots of planning. 

  1.  Knowing what kind of party? Is it a pool party, a club party, a board game party.  The same goes for a website. What type of website is it going to be? A development site, a reconstruction site, a goofy holiday site.  Know the type of party or site will determine the next steps.
  2. Who are you going to invite?  Who is the website's target audience?
  3. What you are going to do at the party?  Will there be a pool, a mechanical bull, Cards Against Humanity? What features will your website have?  Will it have a featured slider, a photo gallery, a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section?
  4. What kind of food will you be serving?  You need to make sure the food your serving matches the party type and who is invited. Same goes for a website. What type of content are you going to be serving up?  It needs to match the type of website and the audience you are trying to reach.
  5. How do you layout all you activities and foods?  You need to make it easy for you party goers to get the drinks and food while still having fun.  On a website, you want to layout the easiest flow for your audience to get the information they want.  Wire frames can help in this process.

The Doing Stage

  • Now that we know the type of party we have to get ready for it.  You have to clean, organize, and maybe do a little construction to get prepared.  Well now you know the type of website, your audience, its features, the content, and the layout, you need to actually start building and organizing all of this information.  This is the development stage of website.  As with the party, it is sometimes a long, exhausting part of the process.  It's the stage I am currently at with my party.  But the fun is to follow the work.
  • Prep your food/content so it will be ready at the big event.
  • If you are going to have any guests or visitors this is the part where you invite them and give them a heads up about the events to come. Same way a teaser works for a movie.
Fun
  • And finally it's time to cash in on all the hard work and planning.  It's the day of your invite.  Don't lose contact with your guests.  Make sure they know how to get to your party/site when it's time.  So enjoy the fun, but don't forget to put those dogs on the fire and post some new content to your site.
 

So today is my two year anniversary at Old Hat Creative. Much like my very first blog, this one will touch on a few things. A lot has changed for me in the last few years, though it seems to be settling down with much of the change coming in the first few months of that stretch two years ago.

The NBA Finals wrapped up last night with Golden State winning their first title in 40 years, finishing off one of the great seasons in NBA history. The Warriors are classy group with a likable cast including Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala and Steve Kerr. Kerr was one of my favorite Bulls back in the day (other than Michael and Scottie) and Kerr has enjoyed success at many of his career stops including playing, coaching or broadcasting. The Warriors also held off a spectacular series performance by one of the great players in history in LeBron James. I've been a LeBron fan for a long time but continue to be amazed / disappointed by all of the hate that's slung his way in spite of his on-court performance. Granted LeBron brings some of it on himself with actions like "The Decision" and "Not one, not two, not three, etc", but he is already one of the top 10 of all-time with several good years left. LeBron and MJ are often compared, many times unfairly because they are different types of players. Can't we be fans of both? I know I am. Jordan won four of his six titles in his 30s and LeBron, who just turned 30, already has two championships under his belt. Even though LeBron is just 2-4 in the Finals, that still holds up when compared to other legends such as Jerry West (1-8 Finals record), Wilt Chamberlain (2-5) or Karl Malone (0-3). Imagine what it would be like if Jordan, West or Chamberlain played in the social media era?

The New York Times reported yesterday that the St. Louis Cardinals were being investigated by the FBI for hacking the Houston Astros player evaluation computer database. We will see how this turns out, but the Internet has already had fun with this one and will call into question the accomplishments of the Cardinals over the last decade. I'm not condoning the hacking/cheating, but this has to be a lesson to create stronger passwords and don't re-use old ones. Especially if you're moving from one organization to a rival one!

Old Hat goes to 11 …. NACMAs. Another successful convention is wrapping up. A time to meet old friends and make some new ones. If you liked what you saw at NACMA or maybe weren't able to attend, check out the ways we use our experience and expertise to make you look good. Like Old Hat Sports Branding. Or court projection videos. Or Fanswers and Fangage. Maybe a print piece, large or small, is what you need. We will make you look good.

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