So last night I was talking to my best friend in Cali on a project I was doing for her.  Just a little graphic to go in the back of her truck, nothing fancy.  I sent her a proof of the image and she loved it and said how excited she was, which was really cool.  I like to think I have some photoshop & illustrator skills from time to time.

Then we started talking about Old Hat and I told her, "If you think that was good you should see some of the work that our designers do", since I spend all my time here coding the websites and not really designing.  Which got me to thinking about the coolest posters I've seen here, which is quite a few, but the first one that came to mind was the 2012 Florida State Football poster.

So just to admire it one more time, here is the timelapse:

Hope you enjoyed it all over again.  I know this is a really short blog, but I really want to work on my current project, which is going to be a super sweet website when I finish.  Hope you all have a great day!

Last year the college football team that won it all, had their poster designed by Old Hat Creative.  The current number one had a new logo designed by Old Hat Creative.  In fact, if you look at the current top 25 you can see it is littered with schools that work with Old Hat Creative.

 


All that could be between you and athletic success could simply be a poster design from Old Hat Creative. 

Yesterday Old Hat was up in Oklahoma City for a Minor League Baseball convention.  It ended with a party at Bricktown Ballpark, home of the Oklahoma City RedHawks.  

It was nice to be among MiLB people at the event.  I spent the beginning of my career working with mostly minor league teams on their websites.  It was always interesting work.  Minor league teams do some incredibly unique things with their marketing and even more unique things with their gameday experience.  If I had a dollar for every web page I built with some freakishly large, quadruple stacked, bacon wrapped, food creation; I would have at least $30.  These teams make use of what they have and work their tails off to deliver for their fans.  

I was happy to be back amongst the MiLB people, and as Old Hat gears up to do work for them, I keep thinking about the similarities we share with the teams.  We do a few goofy things at Old Hat.  Things you typically would not expect from a marketing company and we always work our tails off for our clients.  I am looking forward to working with the teams.  Check out some of the photos from last night at Bricktown Ballpark. 

Writing is hard. 

If I could get away with it, that is probably all this blog would say.  Constantly creating new and relevant content is a challenge.  I blog one to two times a month and still struggle to come up with ideas that actually make sense to go on Old Hat Creative’s blog.  Old Hat Creative is what I do for a living and I still struggle to write coherent and entertaining sentences about what I do.  Life is interesting enough that I should be able to find a few interesting things to write about. 

In the past, I have blogged about writing drills that I was taught at a young age and how I use(d) those to keep my skills fresh and sharp.  You know?  The whole sharpen your axe speech?   

Those are topics that interested me and were easy to write about.  I used to drill myself all the time to make myself a better writer, but lately my axe has gotten a bit dull.  I still write for Old Hat when needed, but I am not doing what I should be to make myself better.  Ahh, the comfort zone…

We all know about it.  Whether it is in a relationship with a significant other or the relationship to a skill you once wanted to perfect.  You get comfortable.  You obtain a level of proficiency that surpasses most people and you rest on your laurels.  We work in the sports industry and there are countless examples of teams getting in this comfort zone.  See Miami Heat 2014 NBA Finals and GO SPURS GO!

And that is the challenge.  Do you have enough motivation or desire to constantly be improving yourself, your craft or just sharpening your axe in general?  It is not something that is easy to do.  A lot of people get into this industry because they are or were athletes and finding this motivation was always easy when playing sports.  “Oh that guy, kicked me in the shin last time… I am going to tear him apart this year.” Every game presents you with an opportunity to get one years worth of motivation, but when we get to the real world and out of athletics, it can be more difficult to find that motivation.  

That elusive motivation that gets us to improve ourselves in areas others may not think we need improving.  For me, it is not the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning; it is the thing that keeps you awake at night.  Laying there thinking about how it happened and what you wish you would have said or wrote or done… that is what motivates me.  

I am lucky to work where I work.  I know that and try to remember that every day.  The last few months have not been easy for me outside of work and that is not how I usually want to go into our busy season.  I like to be well rested and have myself fully prepared for the busy season, but that did not happen this year.  However, that is where the people I work with come into play.  I am lucky to work here for the all the cool stuff we do, but I am also lucky to be surrounded by such good people. The people here motivate me to sharpen my axe.  It can be as simple as Kelby forcing me to blog twice in one week. Realizing that at one point I would have no issue writing two good blogs in a week because I was always practicing is a wake up call. Deb calling me out on something I said and making me prove it or at least provide reasoning.  This makes me better.  It reminds me of the work that went into getting here and what it will take to continually improve.  

Writing is hard and so is finding motivation.  You will always find yourself falling into one comfort zone or another.  How you pull yourself out of those is up to you and will go a long way in determining how long you stay successful or how successful you become.  You can choose the attitude you take into a situation and ONLY YOU can choose what motivates you. 

At Old Hat we like to challenge ourselves.  Whether building a website that will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people, doing a video shoot sixty feet underground, or creating videos/posters that no one has ever seen anything like, we like a challenge.  Clients are great at challenging us and we welcome any challenge you can lay at our feet. 

Tomorrow a few large and high traffic websites will intentionally slow down their website and frustrate their customers.  Now, the slow down may not be noticeable in some places but almost all of them will take the time to place a specific logo on their websites. 

The reason that these companies are taking this step is because they are worried about the future of the Internet.  Old Hat’s blog is not the place for me to launch into a political rant but considering my career utilizes relies on the Internet it frightens me.  One day we could be forced to present our clients with two options.  

  1. Pay $XXX amount to Internet service providers so your website will actually load or 
  2. Do not pay Internet service providers and be prepared for fans/users of your site to have incredibly slow load times or possibly not be able to load your site at all. 

Internet service providers could play favorites.  In the sports world, rivalries can be heated and I would hate to think that someone from a teams rival school could slow down a website.  

For more info, check out www.battleforthenet.com/sept10th/

Last week, Old Hat launched our latest and greatest in our fan engagement arsenal.  For any of you that are regulars on Facebook, the biggest trend right now is to take these quizzes to figure out "Which Character from Frozen Are You?," or "Which Country Artist Are You?," or "What Flavor of Gum Are You?"...  These things spread like wildfire and are a great way to engage your target audience in what you're promoting.

FANGAGE

Old Hat has now developed the sports marketing version of the "What Flavor of Gum Are You?" quiz.  We launched the "How Aggie Are You?" quiz last week to amazing results.  The response was stellar and only goes to show that these quizzes are a great way to build your brand and engage your audience.  While your fans are taking these quizzes, you have the attention of your exact audience.  The only people taking this quiz are your fans which are the exact people you're trying to reach to promote ticket sales, apparel sales or inform them of department initiatives.  You can view this quiz HERE.

SPONSOR OPPORTUNITIES
In addition to being a great opportunity to advertise to your fans, you may just choose to offer this as an opportunity to your sponsors to reach your fans.  They can place an ad within the quiz or simply place their logo within it to help build their brand.  

OTHER QUIZZES
We can, of course, develop any number of quizzes beyond just measuring the passion level of your fans.  Taking a page from what seems to be popular on Facebook, we have come up with the following ideas for quizzes we can create based on input (questions, answers, etc.) from you.

• What Current Coach Are You?
• What Coaching Legend Are You?
• What University Hall of Famer Are You? 
• What Local Bar/Restaurant Are You?
• What Sport Are You?
• What Moment in Our University's Sports History Are You? 

BY THE NUMBERS
This is the all-important information that shows the value of creating these quizes for your fans.  Imagine the impact you can have with by utilizing these quizzes to reach the exact audience you're attempting to reach.

First 24 Hours
5,209 - Number of users who completed the quiz
12,156 - Number of users who viewed the quiz
562 - Number of users who clicked the ad within the quiz

76,416 - To date, the total number of Facebook users the quiz has reached (the most of any post on the 12th Man Foundation's Facebook page).

This means that of all the posts on the 12th Man Foundation's page, including posts of videos about the program, links to articles about their athletes and links to the new Texas A&M mobile app, this quiz reached more than all of those combined.

Your fans will love these quizzes.  Your sponsors will love the exposure it gets them.  Call us today at 405.310.2133 to find out more.

 

 

During my first year at Old Hat, I wore a shirt that said, “Have you ever… Wanted to go viral?”  It was part of the party Old Hat hosted with the OKC Thunder and one where we talked to different people about what Old Hat produced.  

I think about that shirt often.  Every person who works in the digital marketing space has wanted to go viral.  That’s the point, is it not? However, it is not that easy.  

Social media is the number one news source for numerous people, but it is so much more than that now.  Every time a hashtag is used it starts to form a community.  People want to be part of a community, regardless if it is a physical community or a digital one.  Look at this link .  It is a simple search of the users and tweets using the #Ferguson.  Scrolling through I can quickly find @CNN, @BarackObama, @NPR, @Buzzfeed, @Nelly_Mo, and @Salon.  I was able to find all of these in the first 60 results on the page.  Numerous people in this country would love to be a part of a community consisting of those people, and that’s the point.  Take #ferguson or #IceBucketChallenge and look through who is tweeting about either.  Look at people trying to be a part of a community from thousands of miles away.  People want to join the group, and if you want “to go viral”, you better have a community that people want to join.  

 

In athletics, your community is already organized. The fans are there, and they are part of your organization.  Creating the community “to go viral” in this situation means you have to find a way to tap into that community.  You have to get fans excited and give them content that makes them want to join in the festivities. 

Good Monday morning folks! Man, is that not a SWEET title graphic?

Okay, so it's somewhat obvious that I'm NOT a graphic designer. BUT, I do work with a few of them here at the Hat, and I gotta tell ya, they've been bustin' it out this summer.

In my last blog I talked about the amount of work we've done over just the last year, and went on about how we're the experts in our field. Rest assured, none of that has changed, but it's been on my mind for a while to figure out what it is that makes some of our work better than other work. Oh sure, we can't always do the very absolute best project ever created in the history of mankind, but that's at least what we're shooting for. So why isn't everything the best?

Over my 8+ years of working at Old Hat, there have been a couple times that a client has mentioned they didn't feel they were getting the same level of design as other clients; that perhaps, because a client is a big-time university, they might be getting our best possible work while others are getting the run-of-the-mill stuff. Now I know design is very subjective, and unless you have The Design Spectrometer 400TL, it's really hard to gauge the level of design you're getting from a designer. That's why we always scan and document the results for each design using the DS400. By doing so, we can ensure that each poster gets equal amounts of athletic aptitude, branding recallability, design and structural interface integrity, and love. Yeah, you know what, I made that part up about the DS400. I thought we had started doing that but apparently not.

Okay, so seriously... why is it that some work is better? I've gotta say, I think these two graphs tell the story. Before you get upset and send me hate emails, know that I realize clients don't actually perceive things the way that I have them in the first graph. This is a dramatization intended to make a point. Or maybe some clients and others not familiar with the creative process actually DO think this is the best method. In that case, I would ask that you study the second graph.

Here's a quick breakdown of the graph below:

- The level of quality goes from low to high as the client provides input. Simple graph: more input equals better quality, regardless of how much or what type of input a client gives (content or design related). This is what I would call the "perceived" best design practice. And just to be absolutely clear, this is wrong.

 

The graph below is what I'm calling the actual best design practice. And here's a brief explanation:

- Quality goes up as input is received, similar to the first graph, up to a certain point. The point at which the quality starts to take a downturn is generally when clients move across that imaginary border I'd call the design line. In this graph, that's represented by the Ideal Input line. Providing all the pieces to the puzzle is great, but as the experts, we then have to take those pieces and put it together in a way that screams AWESOME!!

- The Quality level is represented by the upside-down U (downward parabola for you math folks), because having little or no info is probably not going to lead to a great result. In the same way, having too much information or design direction (after you get past that design line) is not going to lead to a great result either.

So what's the ideal amount of input? Honestly, it will probably vary from project to project and client to client. As a general rule, when we have as much content and direction necessary to effectively communicate your message, combined with the freedom to creatively enhance that message. That, my friend, is the ideal amount of input.

 

 

College,  college, college, Thunder,  college, college, college….

If you read our blog or follow our various social accounts you will see that most of our work is done in the collegiate landscape.  We have worked with more than 100 schools in ten-year history of Old Hat Creative. 

Why am I reminding you of what you probably already know if you even glanced at our website?  

Because, Old Hat Creative is so much more.  A majority of our staff has experience working on college campuses but to say that is all we have experience doing, sells the company short, and so many employees as well.  

My career has always involved web.  However, in the last seven years I have worked with or for teams in the Pacific Coast League, Texas Collegiate Baseball League, American Hockey League, Central Hockey League, Major League Lacrosse,  United Soccer Leagues, National Pro Fastpitch and a few teams that are now in Major League Soccer.   Just about everyone needs a website whether it is a team, a venue, or a golf course.  At Old Hat we have someone who has built a website for each type of organization.  You never know, your stadium is probably perfect for Stadium Trivia, regardless of the level you are on. 

I do not want to sell Old Hat short either so I am going to expand the conversation.  Old Hat six divisions.  

Interactive 
Productions 
Branding
Capture 
Consulting
Print

Our productions department has done work for NBA teams, Fortune 100 companies, and some of the largest private companies in the US.  Our work has been shown in venues across the nation.  We have products like the Derby Race and crowd prompts that would work in any venue. 

Old Hat’s branding department has done work all over the spectrum.  The staff members who make up that department have done logos and word marks for bands,  a number of stores, politicians, charitable organizations, clothing lines, and even a few professional sports teams.  

Our capture department has captured moments for NBA teams, dance teams, and even a few races.  The ability to combine this with our amazing production team means that we can fill the need of any client.  

Consulting is something that almost everyone in our company has a role.  We have employees that have worked for national marketing companies, theaters/venues, Major League Soccer teams, and national food chains. 

I saved print for last because most people know about our Print department.  We started out as a design company who focused on print.  Now we have expanded and that only means that the talent of our print department has grown exponentially. These talented individuals can do anything from posters, to magnets, brochures, and even environmental graphics.  Old Hat can boast experience working in the minor leagues, hospitals, and even the non-athletic side of universities when it comes to print design. 

A good friend of mine owns a rental business in Texas.  Their slogan is, “You need it, we rent it.”  At Old Hat we create products not rent them but if you need it, we can do it.  No matter what level you are on or what league you play in or where you are located, we can handle it.   Give us a call us a call and I can tell you what it was like to work with the Harlem Globetrotters. 

Lately, we've done several webinars to demonstrate and explain our new Stadium Trivia game. Many webinar attendees had questions about the trivia game. I've put together several of the most frequently asked questions from our last several sessions. If you are interested in Stadium Trivia, we'd love to answer any questions or even schedule a one-on-one demonstration for you. Please email trivia@oldhatcreative.com.  

Old Hat Stadium Trivia FAQ's

Why/how did you come up with Stadium Trivia?

We are always trying to come up with new products that will be helpful to our clients. We know that many of the folks we work with are trying to come up with more ideas related to engaging and entertaining their fans.  We think Stadium Trivia does both! 

Does the trivia game have to be used with a big screen in a stadium?

No - you can also play just using a tv screen or a "host computer" to be the screen if you want to show at a meeting, social event, on a venue concourse, etc. When we demonstrated the trivia at NACMA in June, we set it up to display on a 32" television screen serving as our "video board". 

Can the game work without an available wifi connection?

Yes - users can use on 3G or 4G as well as wifi. 

Can you show more than 3 people on the leader board?

Yes, we can program the game to show more player's scores on the leader board, however, keep in mind that if you show too many names, they may be hard to read (small) or may get cut off depending on the size of your screen or board. We'll work with you to determine what may be best for your situation.

Can you change the number of questions per game?

Yes - you can play any number of questions in your game. Just make sure that you have at least that many questions in your database. 

Explain the rationale behind the scoring.

The game currently offers a maximum score of 1000 points per question. Players are awarded points based on answering the question correctly AND how quickly they answer. So - answering the question correctly and as quick as possible will get you as close as possible to that maximum 1000 score. This also help eliminate ties during the game, as it will be harder for players to answer at the exact same millisecond. 

Can you change the game questions?

Yes - this, in my opinion, is one of the best features of the game. You can change out questions as often as you like. We recommend changing them often. You could make questions be sports or pop culture trivia, you could create questions to educate your fans about a more difficult to understand sports such as wrestling or gymnastics, or you could form questions that would support an existing promotion (for example - Military Appreciation Night could have questions about military or history, Kids Night could be questions that kids would know.) When you purchase, we'll include a tutorial with step-by-step instructions on how to change the questions and we'll even offer one-on-one training if necessary.

Can you add photos along with the trivia questions currently?

Not on this version of the game, but it is something that can be added in the future. Let us know if you are interested in doing that. 

Can we change out our sponsor graphic?

Yes, we can provide tutorial and training on how to do this. 

Can we have more than one sponsor graphic (rotating)?

The current version does not support this, but we are considering adding in future versions. Let us know if you are interested in that option. 

Can we limit the names that players can use - for example, can we make it so no curse words are allowed?

Yes - we have already added a list of curse words/inappropriate words that cannot be used. If players try to use these words, they are prompted that what they have entered is not allowed and to please choose another name. If purchased, we can also work with the purchaser to add more words/phrases that are not allowed that may be specific to the purchaser's situation (for example, The University of Oklahoma may not want players to be able to use the word "Orange Rules" as a player name).

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