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December 2015 - Posts

  • Flash is Dead: Why HTML5 is the New Standard

    Dec 08 2015

    flash-is-dead-html5-new-standard-salim-peerally About three months ago, Google DoubleClick, a pioneer in online advertising, decided to move away from Flash and instead automatically convert ads and content to a programming format called HTML5.

    Completely different from Flash, the format companies have been using for years, HTML5 is the new standard for marketers. Here's what you need to know:

    • HTML5 animation loads faster. Faster means a better user experience.
    • More mobile apps and games will come out of this technology, and they don't have to be complicated. Google used HTML5 to recreate the PAC-MAN game for its 30th anniversary — simple, brilliant and entertaining.
    • HTML5 animation is programming-based, so people with disabilities will finally be able to interact with animated content. For example, screen readers can't show Flash videos, but they can read HTML code and convert graphics to accessibility-compliant content.
    • We will see smoother animations that work on more devices. Soon we'll see more animation using 3D layers, for an even better experience.
    • Most importantly for marketers: HTML5 banner ads and animations are SEO-friendly and can be crawled by robots, which should boost your brand's ranking in search results.

    Salim Peerally - Motion Graphics Specialist

  • Going Hybrid: When Design and Code Meet in One Specialist

    Dec 08 2015

    going-hybrid-designers-who-code-jess-mcdowell

    A question designers face is whether they need to be able to code their designs. In an era of ridiculously specialized roles, there's a strong pull for both sides of the argument.

    I've begun to incorporate front end development and responsive design best practices into my workflow, which allows me to bring ideas from concept to full development for smaller projects. It's so empowering! For larger, complex projects, I can communicate more efficiently with interactive specialists for better and more profitable work.

    If you're trying to decide if a hybrid workflow is right for your team, here are some pros and cons:

    Pros:

    • Increases profitability and workflow efficiency — eliminates the middle man
    • Influences design decisions from the beginning of the project
    • Enables staying current with Web design trends and techniques
    • Allows for greater control over the work
    • Provides more marketable skillset
    • Gives an edge over the competition

    Cons:

    • Intensive time investment
    • Steep learning curve
    • Formal training can be expensive
    • Tough to stay current on trends and best practices in the developer community
    • May lead to a compromise in quality if used for the wrong projects


    Is a hybrid role right for you?
    If you design for digital, it's recommended that you understand hybrid principles. At the very least, you'll learn the basics of coding to understand developers' needs. You'll learn vocabulary to accurately express your ideas. And you'll probably become a better designer and ultimately create better work.

    At some point, all designers have handed off beautiful creative only to see half of it reflected in the final HTML product. If designers have more influence in the project flow, end users will benefit from the unity of our decisions: better designs, better workflows and, ultimately, better work. It's a win-win situation.

    And if you're a female creative thinking about becoming a hybrid, cheers to you! We need more of us.


    Jess McDowell - Art Director

  • Building Trust Through Content Timing

    Dec 08 2015

    building-trust-through-content-timing-monica-peixoto

    We've all been there. You receive an email with an appealing subject line that speaks to you, open it and decide to download the white paper. Next thing you know: a salesperson calls to see if you are ready to buy.

    That's a great way to do marketing automation poorly.

    If your brand is automating, do not immediately assign a sales rep for a simple white paper download — this prospect is in research mode. With a solid content strategy, your brand will have materials ready and available for the next time that prospect engages with you.

    Content strategy allows you to match your content to the different stages of the prospecting funnel. Develop content as a building block to create trust and deliver it, but only at the appropriate time. In our example, send a product demonstration video to the researching prospect; don't call.

    Your content should build thought leadership and, most importantly, trust with your target audience. Over time, by delivering relevant content, you will be seen as a go-to expert in your field.

    Consider several types of content (infographics, white papers, webinars, videos) and time them to the customer journey. But realize that in the B2B world, “only 9% of people consider vendor content trustworthy.”

    You can play a huge role in reversing this stat.

    To gain the trust of your prospects, create content that is:

    • Relevant
    • Engaging
    • Timely — as in, appropriate to the sales funnel
    • Proven for any claim you make

    The ultimate goal is to build a relationship over time to give to the sales team to close. Remember, people like to give their business to companies they trust.


    Monica Peixoto - VP, Team Leader

  • How Out-of-Home Technology is Reaching Our Devices

    Dec 08 2015

    how-ooh-technology-is-reaching-our-devices-regina-hinton

    The out-of-home (OOH) industry is challenging consumers to look up from their smartphones to engage with displays, then return to their mobile screens to continue the experience.

    By nature, OOH forces great creative executions because the typical consumer only has a few seconds to interact with the message. An innovative billboard design can attract attention from miles around. From traditional billboards to augmented reality, these formats take that attention and generate digital buzz.

    With near ubiquity, OOH is evolving from a standalone medium to an entry portal to digital and mobile programs in the form of a QR code, URL or hashtag on a poster.

    OOH may take the form of augmented reality, digital imaging or other tactics to enhance an outdoor message. By working synergistically, OOH gives brands a chance to boost engagement through coupons, discounts and entertainment to more accurately measure campaign impact and ROI.

    Today's OOH platforms provide connections to a virtual marketplace where consumers have the ability to download music, video, games, coupons, tickets, etc.

    We use a tool (http://creativetool.oaaa.org/) that allows us to test a variety of OOH formats in different environments — such as urban, suburban and highway — with an adjustable distance meter. In the localized world of OOH, distance and location are akin to the targeting capabilities digital marketers use to deliver relevant messaging to specific multicultural segments.

    What ties these traditional and new technology formats together is the opportunity for imagination and visual storytelling to reach people where they live, work, shop and play. And when used with inventiveness, it creates ad spaces where none existed before.


    Regina Hinton - Media Strategist