Sunday, August 12, 2007

Naked Quickie...

A quick update to my last two posts... I found this in the Indexed archives:

Old Insight: Everybody loves the pretty people

Yes, you already knew this - but researchers have found that attractive people are more successful than unattractive people. In fact, The Independent reports that Beautiful People earn 12% more than Ugly Bettys. It sad, but true - the halo effect is real. Read the article here.

Naked Indexing

It's official, I have a new hands-down favorite blog: INDEXED. If you are one of the few people in the blogsphere (like me) that hadn't heard of this yet, Indexed is a blog made up solely of visual observations created by Jessica Hagy on individual virtual index cards.

I don't know who Jessica Hagy is - but I love her. Jessica is good. Jessica's observations make me laugh. Jessica makes me happy. You should send her money and bags of yummy cookies.

Simple is hard... it takes insight. I might even say it takes naked insight. Hat's (and everything else) off to you, Hagy.


And for a clever animated take of Jessica's concepts, check out this little movie: "Le Grand Content", created by Clemens Kogler based on content from Indexed.

Brandbench: Small can be BIG

Today I'm taking a look at best practices in positioning - the act of putting something in a certain place within the mind of your audience by providing context. Sometimes differentiating your product or story from the competition is as simple as presenting it from a new perspective.

Take the work of photographer Tamra Hayes, shown here with one of her recent pieces "White Spider". Now I was sitting just a few feet away from Tamra for most of the day she took this shot, and yet I never even noticed this cute little guy. He's beautiful - but it's all a matter of perspective, and I needed Tamra's practiced eye to bring him into my field of vision.

Or for a different take, french storytellers Helene Giraud and Thomas Szabo from Minuscule delight in the wonders of small. "Minuscule" recently won the prestigious international Pulcinella award for "TV Series for All Ages" for innovatively creating a world from real life footage and 3D characters, using humour and sound effects for adventurous stories. "Minuscule" shows insects in their day-to-day existence as if we were right there with them. The characters and setttings are very, very small - but the story and heart is BIG.

So we've covered the impact for artists and storytellers - how about from a community perspective?

It's likely that you've heard of, this community of cuteness reaches 65,000 broadband visitors a day with an estimated 90% of their audience comprised of women around the age of 25. That's a lot of floppy ear sightings.

CO founder Meg Frost loosely governs her chosen blog posts by a series of posted 'rules'. Rule #14 states that "If an everyday, small item makes you look small - it's cute." Further describing this phenomenon, Meg explains "Would you just look at the size of that green Post-It® note next to this kittens' "litter box"? Now, look at the Post-Its® on your desk—now look at the kitten. Repeat!"
The power of small is clear - it's BIG.

Take a moment to look at your story, marketing campaign, product positioning, etc. and ask yourself - "Could small be my new big?"

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hot workers that have it worse than you

Having just returned from the seventh circle of hell (that's Houston for you fortunate souls who have never lived there), I was intrigued by a recent article from, "Where the hot jobs are."

Driving around that foresaken city was everything I remembered it to be - hot, steamy, sticky and miserable. But I was just commuting to a cushy super-cooled research room to observe comfortably from behind the glass. What about the folks that have to work outside in the summer? How bad must it be for them - and how in the world does the EMT, roofer, landscaper or road paver with the risks?

Check out the article - and then take a moment to raise your cool tasty beverage in salute to the crazy souls that brave the heat.
(I think my yard guys deserve a bigger tip)

Photo Credit: ALERT Workers in Little Rock, AK - Alert Academy

Thinking outside the box could land you "in the circle"

But not likely. I think that Phil Hansen has a lock on the space. If you haven't heard of "Phil in the circle" - you've got to check out the fantastic work from this delightfully unique and talented artist in Minneapolis.

Phil has started blogging and tracking his process via webcam, and I must admit that even though the finished pieces are wonderful - the process is what's really fascinating. For one piece, he created a mural of Bruce Lee using only hand-dipped 'karate chops' - be sure to watch the video. Another is comprised of over 12,000 victim portraits brought together to show the face of the Green River Killer... the piece gave me chills.

To me, the value of art is defined by the emotional response it illicits. How does Phil's circle affect you?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

"Best" Part Deux: Get in the heads of the people in your story

Continuing our discussions on the 'best in the world', I'd like to take a look at Denise Cramsey, Executive Producer of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. As a recent panelist in NATPE's "State of the Industry" address at LATVFest in Hollywood, CA - Denise discussed her thoughts on uncovering stories that audiences love with Reality TV.

Denise - an incredibly classy and perceptive woman living in the tumultuous sea of Hollywood arrogance - is a firm believer that the single most important part of her job is to "get into the heads of the people in the story". Denise shared a clip from a recent episode on the Rogers family that had eyes welling up for even the most seasoned of network programming executives. In this episode, the emotional 'clincher' centered around a small hand-painted house sign that had been placed over the entryway of the Rogers' new family home.

Denise discovered the sign after observing the family matriarch while the movers were sorting family items - the mom saw one of the movers rifling through the junk in an old bureau and had asked if he could be sure to not throw the sign away. Something about her casual question made Denise pause, and she made sure to secretly grab the sign and give it to the designers for prominent placement as part of the new home's entry.

When the new home was revealed the mom was glued to her spot, overcome with emotion - not by the gorgeous new home, but by the sight of "The Rogers" sign over the door. Turns out the sign had been a gift from her father at her wedding to her late husband - and she had been so embarassed of their dilapidated home that she had left it buried in a drawer for years.

Denise's committment to truly knowing the people in her stories is one of the key characteristics that has made her one of the 'best in the world' - as evidenced by the success of Home Makeover and that other little show of hers that launched a network - Trading Spaces.

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