Trends That Will Help Define the Future of PR and Marketing

Posted by admin on September 1st, 2008

In June Edelman, my employer, and PRWeek held a two-day summit on the changing media landscape and its affect on business and education. More than 90 people participated. Recently we published a paper chock full of with actionable insights for businesses.  Here’s the conclusion I wrote.

Trends That Will Help Define the Future

The best way to think about new media, I have learned, is to look at the recent past and at the trends that are here now and seemingly have staying power. Apple CEO Steve Jobs once famously said “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” He’s right. With that in mind, there are three trends that are likely to shape things over the next four years.

The Attention Crash

Though the current global financial crisis grabs all the headlines, there’s another storm quietly brewing – a crisis of attention scarcity. The inputs we have into our lives – that which we allow and those that are forced upon us – are exceeding what we are capable of managing.

The Attention Crash is here and it will only get worse. There will always be more content vying for consideration. In fact, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said “By the year 2019, it’s going to be possible to have an iPod-like device that will have 85 years of video on it. So you will be dead before you watch the whole [thing].”

Generation Y seems to be able to better manage this new environment, having grown up with a mouse in hand. But marketers who are a little more gray will need to adapt by creating and earning media that can break through the clutter and “stick.” This requires they keep things short, simple and visual.

Brands, media and individuals will have a role in mitigating the Attention Crash. Every high–interest niche will be met by digital curators who can separate art from junk online and present it in a very digestible form.

Already, some are jumping in. Intel partnered with PopURLs.com to create a news tracker for IT professionals. The site also features Intel white papers and blogs. The New York Times too is transforming into a digital curator. On the newspaper’s technology site reporters cull through blog conversations that have bubbled up during the day and highlight and link to the most notable posts.

Social Networks Become “Like Air”

Social networking is here to stay – but it’s changing. As my fellow panelist Charlene Li says, it’s becoming “like air” on the Web. In essence, social networking is nothing new, really. It’s simply a digital, global and scalable manifestation of our desire to communicate with other humans. The technology makes it easy for like-minded individuals to connect and collaborate around the topics they care about. This can range from personal to professional interests. A lot of it revolves around social causes.

Today we have three big social network hubs – LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace (an Edelman client). In addition, we have an expanding constellation of smaller social networks such as Beebo, Twitter, YouTube and the hundreds of thousands of vertical communities that comprise Ning – a do-it-yourself platform. There will be room for all of them to thrive, but consumers soon won’t need to visit these destinations to connect with their network.

Social circles are becoming portable so they can follow the consumer to any site they want to visit. Facebook and Google, for example, each have competing technology platforms that Web site owners can integrate to allow consumers and their social circle to connect in new experiences without having to sign up for another network.

Brand marketers that may be tempted to build their own social networks need to consider that there may not be room in people’s lives for more than one or two. They will need to plug into the social “air” supply that the large networks are building across the Web so that consumers can stay connected to their existing networks.

Google: The Reputation Engine

The third trend that also will continue its current trajectory is the rising influence of search, particularly Google. The search engine, as of this writing, has 70 percent market share in the U.S. and is even higher in other countries – but not all.

Google is much more than a search engine. It’s media.

Every day people make purchasing and life decisions based on what they find on the Web. Patients visit their doctor’s office armed with reams of information they found on Google, some of it right, some wrong. Consumers are accessing Google from their cell phones to compare prices when shopping. And Wikipedia, a site that no one controls, tends to dominate many high–profile search results.

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and others are increasingly tweaking their algorithms to stop spammers and other “black-hat” types. Today most search engine result pages tend to favor high–quality content produced by media, brands and individuals.

Communicators will need to know how to create and earn content that is not only findable, but worthy of discussion so that it earns and maintains visibility in Google – which often makes judgments based on quality.

What the future looks like in four years know one knows. However, if businesses follow these trends, at least directionally, they will be prepared to navigate the new environment.

How To Create And Install A favicon.ico

Posted by admin on August 18th, 2008

What is a Favicon

Favicon is short for “Favorites Icon”.   The name is derived from the bookmark list for Microsoft Internet Explorer which is called Favorites. When you add a site to your Favorites list, Internet Explorer (version 5 and above) asks the server if it has a file called favicon.ico. If present, this file will be used to provide an icon that is displayed next to the bookmark text.

Other browsers such as Mozilla have also added support for favicons. Depending on the browser, the favicon can appear in a variety of places, not just in the bookmarks list (in fact, it may not even appear in the bookmark list at all). It may be shown in the address bar or the title of a browser tab, for instance.

How to create a Favicon

To create a favicon.ico simply create a 16×16 .PNG file and convert it to an icon resource with png2ico. If you want, you can add more images to the same icon resource to provide alternative resolutions. Most browsers only use a 16×16 image but in a different context (e.g. when you drag a URL from the address bar onto your desktop) a larger icon may be shown. If the icon resource only contains a 16×16 image, this will be scaled to the appropriate size, so technically there is never a need to add alternative resolutions. However, doing so can increase the quality of the displayed icon.

Keep in mind that for a user with a slow modem a favicon.ico may increase the page loading time by a few seconds if it is too large, so don’t overdo it. Adding a 32×32 alternative should be enough to make sure the image will look good even in contexts with larger icons. Adding even more and larger alternatives is unnecessary bloat. Try to keep the number of colors below 16 and create a 16-color icon using the --colors 16 switch of png2ico (or even create a b/w icon with the --colors 2 switch). This will result in a smaller file that loads faster.

When you create the images to include in your favicon.ico, don’t forget that the icon may be composed against various background colors so you should use transparency rather than a solid background if you want to avoid that your icon appears inside a box. Note, that icon resources only support binary transparency, i.e. a pixel may be visible or invisible but not something like 30% translucent.

Installing your Favicon

To add your new favicon.ico to a web page put it on the server into the same directory as the web page it is for (e.g. www.example.com/foo/favicon.ico for www.example.com/foo/index.html). That is the first place a browser will search. If it doesn’t find an icon there, it checks the top-level directory of the server (www.example.com/favicon.ico for the www.example.com server), so by putting it there you can have a default favicon for all the pages in your domain. Depending on browser and configuration, the favicon.ico is not always rendered, even if it is in one of the above locations, unless the web page explicitly declares its presence. To declare that your web page has an icon, you add the following 2 lines into the <head> section of your page:

<link rel="icon" href="favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon">
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon">

Thats all there is to it.

“How To Incorporate Video Into your Marketing Plan.”

Posted by admin on April 29th, 2008

New technologies in video production equipment combined with the emergence of videos particularly digital videos as an acceptable medium for film has made it possible for almost anyone to become a film director virtually overnight.

While the cost of film and film equipment is financially prohibitive, video production equipment is relatively inexpensive and can be mastered quite quickly. While there is a great deal more to the art of film that just having the right equipment, the accessibility of video production equipment has encouraged many amateur filmmakers to give it their best shot. Understanding the basics of video production equipment is the first step to becoming the next Steven Spielberg.

Contact Big U Media today for more information on how you can incorporate Video Production into your business and make your marketing and advertising more effective.

Welcome to Big U Media

Posted by admin on February 18th, 2008

Welcome to Big U Media A full service Advertising & Marketing Company. Audio Visual and Web Development.

Big U Media