Archive for October, 2009

Final Project Analysis

25 Oct

Our final project proposal is a site for recruiting high school athletes into college athletics.  I will be completing this proposal with three other students who have also written descriptions of the proposal for our site:,, and  QU AthleteAs my partners have mentioned our main competitor will be as well as another site I discovered  Our major pull over these other sites is going to be including emerging sports that are part of college athletic departments but not yet sanctioned by the NCAA, such as competitive cheer.  In addition we will include profiles for the high school athletes to create and present to college coaches as well as blogs that allow contact between potential college athletes and current college athletes in order to give the students a first hand look.

The most important technique for making our site rise above our competitors is going to be publicity.  There are certain points to our site that differentiate our site from our competitors; however, if we do not make it known to college coaches, and athletes of all ages, our site will not succeed.  Thus, in our final project we will come up with the detailed plans for our site, as well as ideas to promote our site in order to make it well known and readily available.


Blog your Way to the Top!

20 Oct

Who would have thought that letting your employees take a few minutes daily to write up their sentiments on a certain topic related to their career choice would make a difference in your company?  Well guess what, it does!  Blogging as well as “tweeting“, which can almost be like a blog post in under 140 characters, has increased rapidly over the past few years.  But how does this help companies?  By creating a blog for your company, the general public is able to put a more human voice to the corporate business and then has a place to interact with that voice.  This not only improves the relationship with the consumers, but also can pull in more consumers with the viral quality of blogs.

One Against the World

Blogging allows the company employees to interact one-on-one with the consumer; something that is often times very difficult to achieve, but with blogging is as simple as hitting “Submit”.  In Naked Conversations, which over-viewed the changes that blogging created in the Microsoft company, Betsy Aoki shared the benefit of blogging by saying that “Customer complaints go straight to my inbox.  They get responses.  I exchange tons of e-mail so customers [see that] they have an impact.”.  The article goes on to say that when customers receive that sort of interaction, they are less likely to throw out extremely negative remarks toward the company, particularly if they are getting results from the blog interaction.


Comcast Sportsnet New England, where I interned this summer, now has an entire section of their website dedicated to employee blogs.  And if you are lucky the Jonathan Papelbon video blog ad that I created for them, shown above, will show up at the bottom of the screen! But I digress.  The point is that blogs allow the employees to speak their mind, within reason of course, as well as get the fans and customers of the company more personally involved.  On the site there is a “Hey Felger!” section where Felger not only responds to fan questions that are sent to him previously, but fans can comment below in response right after reading.  Talk about being involved!

Putting a Face with the Name

“If you ignore the blogosphere- the term used to describe the global network of blog postings- you won’t know what people are saying about you. You can’t learn from them, and they won’t come to see you as a sincere human who cares about your business and its reputation.”Naked Conversations

What better way to be seen as a sincere human than to actually be seen?  Many companies, including Microsoft, have taken to not only type blogging, but video blogging as well.  This way there is no doubt in the consumer’s mind who the individual is that is working on the other side.  Hollywood East TV a subdivision of Plymouth Rock Studios which is currently being created in Plymouth, Massachusetts, has created a video blog series entitled “The Series” tracking their process.  They send out a daily web- episode that tracks the process of the studio along the way and the experiences of all those involved, including not only the employees of Plymouth Rock Studios but of all the surrounding companies that are involved as well.  This provides you with the faces of all of the individuals involved in this massive project along it’s path to success!  Below is an example of one of the episodes, not the most exciting episode, but it involves the consumers greatly and has a number of comments responding to it on the site.

Find more videos like this on Hollywood East TV


“Businesses of all sizes will be wise to pay heed. Revolutions may be hard to predict, but ignoring them often has unfortunate consequences.” -Naked Conversations

Sounds like a fortune cookie.  But in the end, this is definitely a revolution for companies to become involved in.  Although Twitter has been discussed as being a passing faze, and definitely is for many, blogs look like they will be sticking around for a while.  The immediacy of blogging has already been seen as an often faster source for news, and the link-ability, and tagging features of blogs allow for easy distribution between those individuals who may be interested in your posts.  Worst case scenario: if only one individual stumbles upon your company blog who did not know of your company before, or did know of your company but viewing your blog changed their opinion of the company to a more positive view, that is free advertising and all it took was some of your time!


An Experience Economy to Make People Better?

10 Oct

In Some Like it Hot.. Some Like it Cold.. Some Just Like it! I discussed more about an experience economy, but I wanted to share a few videos of an experiment  done by Volkswagen that demonstrates the power that the experience economy has.  In the video below it is the exciting new experience that causes people to choose the more physical option that they would normally skip over if possible.  A new way to encourage fitness?  Quite possibly,  see for yourself!

As Volkswagen says, “Fun can obviously change behavior for the better.” What a great way to use the interest and curiosity that having a unique and pleasant experience at something which is normally mundane creates!


Do-It-Yourself Gaming

06 Oct

Stemming from Speak and You Shall Be Heard, that discussed a time, which we are in now, where the users are becoming the creators in terms of bloggers becoming a go-to spot for news and information, cell phone photographers replacing CNN photographers online as on-the-scene reporters, and Wikipedia replacing the bookshelf encyclopedia as a user-edited online version.  Continuing by looking at the user’s interaction, and transformation, of gaming seems to be the only correct path to take.  This user-takeover is not just isolated to the internet, it has hit the gaming industry as well.

Trouble Makers

First a look at how this effects individuals already in the business.  The game designers and company’s themselves do not seem extremely nervous by the increase in user altered gaming.  In fact, many of them are designing to give the user this ability without very much of a hassle.  For example, Blizzard has links on their website which allows gamers to create and share their own maps with other users.

Picture 3

Something the intense gamers, most likely, would have done on their own, but this allows for easy access not just for intense gamers but for any players who are interested in manipulating the game for themselves.  The people who do have have a problem with it, are those who are trying to create a way to rate the maturity level that should be applied to games in order to know what effect they may have on individuals.  Maillet’s Article discussed a chart with seven different categories that could be used to analyze the game.  Audiovisual Style, Balance Between User Input and Pre-Programmed Rules, and Spatial Properties of the Game World, are all categories that were used to analyze certain games that would be affected by the users ability to easily create and edit their own gaming world.  Giving the user the ability to create the environments means there are an unlimited amount of pieces which are created by the user themselves that could not possibly all be analyzed, making it very difficult to create a control set.

The Downfall

The Lessons from Game Design video also discussed the abundance of users creating their own add-ons to games.  More so than simply different maps, many are creating, in a way, their own “new” version of the game.  An example of this would be those gamers who are creating their own Guitar Hero songs.  The problem with this is that new songs are the whole basis for their game.  With games like StarCraft and Call of Duty, they can allow the users to create their own environment, become involved and still create new games that the user would need to buy as a result of the narrative and story line behind these games.  Games like Guitar Hero, however, are based solely on the content that the users are now able to create themselves.  The primary purpose for buying a new game is to get more songs, so if the user can easily create their own news songs what is the point of buying a new version of their game?  Especially since they can create and play whatever song they would like to, not just what songs the designer offers them.  Simply by typing “create own guitar hero song” in google, you can find a do-it-yourself editor that will allow you to add your own songs. Does anyone else see a problem with this for the companies creating the games?


Some Like it Hot.. Some Like it Cold.. Some Just Like it!

03 Oct

Doors to enter Hampton Inn

We are in an experience economy.  Where services are used as a stage but the experience become the driving sell of the service. In the Pine & Gilmore Article, the authors discuss how “today the concept of selling experiences is spreading beyond theaters and theme parks”.  They discuss how “even the smallest cues can aid in creating a unique experience” and then go on to discuss the abundance of negative cues are scattered throughout a trip to a hotel and how to make this an experience worth remembering the negative cues must be replaced with positive cues.


"...sometimes annoying cues like 'CAUTION: HOT' on your coffee cup became a fun tribute to Marilyn Monroe stating 'Some like it hot'"

6415_521014995536_92501280_30940557_6522530_nThis exact technique was used by the Hampton Inn after they decided to renovate all of their hotels.  My friends and I suddenly enjoyed discovering all the little quotes and images that were scattered around that were often times necessary, but were presented in a way to make the experience more memorable. Simple necessary, but sometimes annoying cues like “CAUTION: HOT” on your coffee cup became a fun tribute to Marilyn Monroe stating ”Some like it hot”.  They also took on a consistent use of creative black and white pictures that went along with whatever they were representing but in a creative way.  And I am not the only one to notice this change, while searching for other images, in addition to the ones my friends and I took, I found another blog post dedicated to the same subject matter with an example of the image and saying used in the elevator. Take a look!  What I also discovered from this post, having only been subject to the Hampton Inn in Vermont, was that each state has a slight difference that reflects the state you are in. This makes each experience unique, as long as you are visiting a different state.

It is amazing how changing simple cues as the Hampton Inn did, and as Pine & Gilmore said had to be done for success in an Experience Economy, truly made a slightly unique hotel experience than ever before making it that much more memorable from the start!