Movies have trailers, computers and phones have conventions, elections have campaigns, and websites have... well... yeah... let me get back to you on that.

So I was watching the new extended trailer for Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron (which I cannot wait to see)

And it hit me! When launching a new site, how do you get people excited about the launch? Here at Old Hat we created another site to countdown to the launch of a redesign.  We posted on social media.  We sent Duey (or gnome mascot) on a tour of the US. My buddy who is about to launch his new business site, held a fund raising volleyball tournament, shot a commercial last weekend, has a Facebook page that regularly posts updates, and is hosting a launch party.  All of these things are great and help raise awareness for your brand.  Only problem I see with the majority of them is that they limit your awareness to only your immediate circle of friends and maybe their friends.

Finding a way to reach beyond the obvious is always tough.  It will be something that continues to be that way.  Right off the top of my head, these are just some solutions I came up with:

  1. Have a Hollywood movie feature your site in some aspect of their movie...
    Which is not going to be anything realistic for most people unless they are a screenplay writer.
  2. Use TV commercials and radio...
    Just don't over do it and make sure it is not annoying.  There are only some many FarmersOnly.com or ChristianMingle.com commercials a sane person can take.
  3. Create another website to announce your upcoming site...
    This just seems really redundant to me. I think you would be better off building a temporary site on your current domain so people get use to typing it in, if you are going to go this route, but may not be possible if you are just doing a rebrand.
  4. Advertise or post on Social Media...
    This is probably the cheapest way to do it, but also just gets ignored or blocked by many users, unless you create some sort of game or contest out of it, such as Fangage. A game or contest such as this will help get it out of your immediate circle of friends.  The more fun and exciting you make it, the more it will spread.  The key here is to gently let users know about your product [site], but just as a "Oh by the way" type of thing, as opposed to a "Beat a Dead Horse" here is our upcoming product [site] over and over again. 

As you can tell it may be tough to get users excited about your upcoming site, but the more creative you are, the better the response will be.  After the initial launch, it will be up to your individual website and its content to bring people back and get new users to join in.  What ideas have you used with your past sites, and what do you have planned for your next site?  Feel free to drop a line in the comments.

If you follow Target on Instagram, you may notice they have some unique posts promoting their products. Every so often, Target hosts #designCRUSH. A designer they've choosen takes over their Instagram feed for one week using their design style to promote Target products. Check out some of the examples below:

Designer: @ddccad - Chalk artists

Product: Nail polish 

Product: Blankets

Product: Tea

Designer: @thuglifeforevs - Photographer and organizer

Product: Ice cream

Product: Sports balls 

Product: S'mores 

Designer: @paperfashion - Shadow dancer artist

Product: Nerds

Product: Toothpaste 

Product: Spices

 

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. 

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. 

Have you noticed lately that your Facebook feed is getting lamer and lamer? So you take their survey to improve your feed only to see it get worse.  Yep that's what happened to me.  The friends I want to stay in touch with never seem to appear in my feed anymore.  I am plastered with posts from other groups (some of which I was added to without consent but can't remove myself because I don't want to offend the ones who added me).  Yet in all this, I comely see posts like,:

"Hey anyone going to Louie's [or some other place] tonight?"

"Who want's to float the river this weekend?"

"Big party at party cove. Come join!"

People are by nature, mostly social creatures.  We prefer to meet up in groups.  These groups are sometimes small or large. They may have an agenda or no agenda at all.  People want to feel a connection with others, and as easy as social media can make it to communicate, it still leaves out the physical aspect of seeing our peers.

I believe the absence of this physical part is one of the biggest downsides to social media.  People feel isolated and alone if they do not see others.  That is why solitary confinement is one of the worst punishments we can impose on others.

Having said that, I also think that this particular reasons is why social media (namely Facebook) continues to stick around.  People are using it to get back offline and to create those physical connections.  They are trying to recover the part of us that was lost when social media first exploded.

If you are a business or school, knowing this information can be very important to your success.  You can run social media campaigns with the specific goal of gaining followers, but if you are not physically connecting to these people, then their loyalty will eventually fade away.  You will become just another fad in their life.  Hosting events and using social media to market them is a great combination.  The concert event put on by Texas A&M University on 12/12/12 helped solidify the contests ran by the 12th Man Foundation that year. [http://12thmanchallenge2012.oldhatarchive.com/]  Most the people who entered the contest may not remember it in the the years to come, but if they went to the event, they have memories that can easily last a lifetime.

So put on your thinking caps, and figure out how your company, school, or organization can capitalize on this trend.

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