This fall, Verbal+Visual teamed up with our friends at Direct Agents for Digital Pop, an invite-only digital media mixer and launch party for Direct Agent’s new creative studio, Digital Content Lab. The event was studded with an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, an Oculus VR station, an Instagram-worthy photo booth, and DJ Miss Sabado spinning tunes all night. It was a great occasion to gather some of our favorite clients, e-commerce directors, and VP/CMO marketers for a chance to engage and connect prior to the holidays.
We kicked off the evening with an informative panel discussion, Personalization & Customization: How to Tell a Brand’s Story.
Megan Conahan, SVP at Direct Agents moderated the event. The panelists were:
CEO at Verbal+Visual
Creative Director/Co-Founder at Direct Agents
Partner at Prophet
The panel discussion focused on what personalization and customization mean for brands today. Here are our main takeaways from the panel:
Find a deeper level of connection.
Dinesh illustrated that their mission each day is to dig into data and find a deeper level of connection with their audience, as well as to test and optimize what they do on a daily basis. Mat found that clients are curious; they want to make sure that all this deep-diving really is worth the effort. Clients want to be sure they’ll perform better and achieve stronger brand affinity with their investment. He emphasized that there are a wealth tools and techniques available, which make deep-diving into data both easy and efficient.
Personalization is key.
Anshey believes that personalization is key for brands today, especially in the retail space. Brands such as Bonobos take your size and style preferences, and create a tailored experience on both their website and in their stores. Personalization is essential if you seek to stay relevant; any lack simply puts you behind.
Learn how to tell an interesting story.
Mat discussed the old way of telling a brand story, which involved gathering personas, getting to know the target audience, and delivering the message. And then a shift occurred: the rise of user-generated content. Where creatives once relied upon a process to extract the story, personalizing a brand story has become more interactive. Personalized stories offer transparency and show the people behind the brand, which then helps consumers see themselves in the brand. Mat believes in storytelling through behaviors rather than through demographics, and pointed out that no one has cracked interactive video yet.
Dinesh highlighted that we live in an era of incredible content production. We’re up against people with iPhones shooting quality photos and kids flying drones and posting those photos online in real time, so it is crucial to have brand messaging that is both creatively strong and aligned across every medium.
Give your About page some love.
Mat pointed out that About Us pages have been underutilized, even though they’re the first — and perhaps only — page where a brand can tell their story 24 hours a day. He did a study of 100 companies’ “About Us” pages to see who has taken advantage of this, and the results were alarming. Most companies are sharing minimal content, and very few are being interactive. If you want to examine brand storytelling in the most revealing format, check out “About Us” pages and judge by that.
Collect quality data.
Anshey shared the importance of collecting quality data, the root of which is ensuring that your analytics are set up for success. You should be able to examine the basics such as conversion rate, while also being able to dive into data on a granular level, such as cross-referencing conversion rates with time of year and other data points of interest. Knowing up front what data points you need when you’re establishing your brand is absolutely vital, as is being able to tell a cohesive story with your data.
Mat further emphasized thinking about data as an asset. He differentiated between what he termed “data-poor brands” and “data-rich brands.” A data-poor brand has a wealth of data, but doesn’t understand how to use it, while a data-rich brand, such as Ford, channels their data-based findings in interesting ways.
Augmented Reality will grow in 2018.
Anshey revealed that Verbal+Visual is currently working with a home furnishing company to create an experience where customers can select a piece of furniture and customize it by color, surface, etc. Verbal+Visual is implementing an augmented reality solution for the home decor client oomph home where you can move your phone around, tap on a location, select a product, and then choose customization options with that product actually set within the space. This allows you to customize a product, see how it will look in your space at any angle, and then simply tap to check out.
Given that Apple has rolled out the AR kit for augmented reality and IKEA has made their app augmented reality-compatible, we can be confident that this area is going to grow in the new year.
Customers are enticed by a personal connection with brands, so remember to dig deep and find a deeper level of connection with your audience. Utilize quality data as an asset — it is the one solid thing you have to set you apart and set you up for success. Wrap this all together with a solid interesting story to share with your audience by maximizing various ways to express your brand through strong creative branding. Customization and personalization are essential for having a successful brand presence.
Please enjoy the full panel discussion in the embedded video above, and sign up for our mailing list so we can include you in fun and informative events in the future.
A typical Black Friday scene is filled with long lines, screaming children, angry parents, and huge crowds of people all fighting to get the lowest price for the things they think they need for Christmas. But there are a few brands every year that take a stand against crass consumerism and use Black Friday as a way to give back. Here are a few of our favorite Black Friday incentives from 2016.
Patagoniahas a long history of making charitable contributions part of their profitable business plan. Did you know that, on a daily basis, 1 percent of their sales is donated to grassroots charities? Anticipating Black Friday revenue of $2 million, Patagonia committed to giving 100 percent of sales to charity. Instead, they were pleasantly surprised to be on the hook for $10 million dollars — one of the largest Black Friday donations of all time.
Patagonia showed deep appreciation for the planet by funding small, underfunded groups. These grassroots organizations work in local communities to protect our air, water, and soil for future generations, as stated on their Instagram. They’ve proven that a large international brand can give back to the planet and still be successful.
2. Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity, the quirky card game that encourages people to be their most horrible, asked customers to crowdfund the digging of a Black Friday hole. As ridiculous as it sounds, more than $100,000 arrived in donations and 14,000 people engaged directly with the brand by watching a livestream of the hole being dug.
But why? “Is there some sort of deeper meaning or purpose to the hole?” — a question posted in HolidayHole.com, a site dedicated to digging this hole by Cards Against Humanity. “No.” There’s no purpose, and they still managed to raise $100k. Weirdly impressive!
Everlane, a conscious apparel company committed to factory transparency, wanted to make sure its employees’ commute to work was as safe and comfortable as the time they spend at work. To that end, Everlane created the “Get Home Safe” campaign, a project that raised over $100,000 from Black Friday sales to make sure that all 8,000 employees in their Ho Chi Min factory received new helmets for their commute. The Vietnamese workers travel to work in mopeds — some spend up to 12 hours on the road during the week. With over 20,000 people in Vietnam dying annually in road accidents, this incentive gave a warm-hearted feeling to shopping online.
Everlane is known for transparency in manufacturing. They share on their website all of the factories that they partner with, the story of how they’ve come to work together, the materials used in these factories, and the overall production process.
Athleta, a women’s athletic apparel company, found an interactive way for shoppers to give back during the Black Friday season. While shopping in-store, customers were presented an option to donate at checkout to Girls on the Run – a non-profit that inspires creativity through fitness and builds healthy, lifelong habits. This incentive helps active women pass on a healthy lifestyle to young girls around the country.
With Gap Inc. as their parent company, it’s pleasing to see Athleta take a particular interest in Girls on the Run. As stated on their site, “Girls on the Run inspires girls to take charge of their lives and define the future on their terms. It’s a place where girls learn that they can. No limits. No constraints. Only opportunities to be remarkable.”
Uniform is a technology-driven streetwear apparel company for men and women. The company is built on a social strategy that donates one school uniform per purchase to a Liberian child in need. During last year’s Black Friday season, two uniforms were donated with each purchase.
Uniform’s mission is to eliminate child labor, sweatshops, disposable fashion, and overpaying for luxury, and they go the extra mile by producing all clothes in Africa. Additionally, Uniform provides jobs to working mothers in ethical factories.
These companies are unique in their approach to charitable giving during the Black Friday season, and they raise the bar high for all brands. From big names like Patagonia and Athleta, to smaller companies such as Uniform, giving back is a way for us all to unite and make the world a better place. We become aware of our freedom to consume goods excessively, and redirect that energy towards helping our planet and helping others. In 2017 and in years to come, we hope that hearty contributions will be the new normal.
To kick off the holiday season, the Verbal+Visual team wanted to reflect on our philanthropic core values. We partnered with the folks at Shopify Plus to put on “Selling With Soul”, our latest panel focused on companies that intertwine social causes within their businesses. Our Selling with Soul panel included: David Wolfe, co-founder of Leesa; Emily Hofstetter, VP Business Development of Bombas; Sander Cohen, founder of Dharmashop, and Ian Rosenberger, CEO & Founder of Thread International. The panel discussion centered around the opportunities and challenges of combining philanthropy and entrepreneurship. Here are the main takeaways on best practices of working on a business centered around giving.
Start with why
All of the panelists had different roads which all led to a similar place. Cohen of Dharmashop found inspiration in Buddhism; Rosenberger of Thread found inspiration on a trip to Haiti following their harrowing earthquake in 2010. Wolfe’s initial desire in his career was to get himself settled, and once he was settled, to create a business which gave back; and Hofstetter of Bombas was inspired by the companies’ mission which was in line with that of TOMS. Regardless of if you’re starting a business or joining a business, focus on the WHY of being a part of that company, including the inspiration and the impact that it will have.
Video is the medium of storytelling
Throughout the discussion, it became apparent that there were many ways in which our panelists told their stories, but one truly stood out as the most effective: Video. The Panelists all agreed that creating inspiring videos which are of the appropriate length and format for the medium they are being viewed on is vital in driving conversion and obtaining brand awareness.
There’s sales, and there’s operations
For many of our panelists and their organizations, the logistics side of their business is incredibly challenging. From setting up supply chain with multiple teams and countries throughout the chain, to partnering with philanthropies and actually donating products, to fulfilling orders when you sell out quicker than expected, these panelists have seen it all. The big takeaways on the logistics front were to automate systems, ensure scalability as best as possible, and in the cases of these companies, make sure you stay authentic and transparent to reinforce your story.
Giving as company culture
All of the companies represented in the panel have come to a place where giving is in their culture and ethos. For instance, Leesa highly encourages employees to take off to volunteer their time. At Bombas, all new hires are given 20 pairs of socks to donate to homeless shelters. All of these companies infuse philanthropy and giving from the top down, and hire employees who embrace that culture from the bottom up.
The biggest takeaway from the panel is that “Selling With Soul” increases brand awareness, product cost & value, and makes a positive impact on this world in which we live. It’s immensely challenging to do things the right way, but the fulfillment that comes out of it for all parties involved is worth every bit of extra effort which we go through to make it happen.
A special thank you to: Our Panelists, Shopify, TechSpace for donating their conference rooms, Krishna Yalla for the video of the panel (see below), and of course our attendees for making the event a true success. Enjoy the video of the event, and the photographs below!
Sanders Cohen speaking about Dharmashop with panel moderator, Anshey Bhatia.
Ian Rosenberger, CEO of Thread International.
Selling with Soul e-commerce panel
Emily Hofstetter, VP Business Development & Communications at Bombas
David Wolfe, Co-Founder and CEO of Leesa Sleep, discussing Leesa’s charity efforts.
Verbal+Visual co-workers enjoying the happy hour of the eCommerce panel.
Engaged audience from Selling with Soul e-commerce panel.
Audience asking questions to the e-commerce panel.
Audience asking questions to the e-commerce panel.
Our new sales rep, Lindsey, talking to our Shopify Plus partner Megan.
Ian Rosenberger answering questions from the audience after the panel.
Megan, our friendly face of Shopify, giving out swag at the panel.
With locations across New York City and a roastery in upstate New York, Irving Farm is making a play to be one of the top coffee companies in the tri-state area and beyond. We worked with Irving Farm Coffee Roasters to create an eCommerce experience to help grow online sales, as well as optimize processes along the way.
Founded in Manhattan in 1996, Irving Farm was looking for an eCommerce site to show off their beloved products. With a clean, visual look, it was important that their new website matched their brand persona. The result was an eCommerce space that allows Irving Farm fans to get their favorite coffee delivered right to their door. On the website, visitors can find ample information about all of Irving Farm’s coffee offerings, as well as merchandise, coffee subscriptions, and other coffee gear. With an integrated events calendar, users can learn about upcoming Irving Farm events and classes where they can learn barista fundamentals. Their new eCommerce space is the ultimate destination for coffee-lovers, and we are excited to finally share their new website with the world! To take a closer look, visit irvingfarm.com.
With an information driven platform such as Long Island Index, a strong user experience is always top of mind. The Rauch Foundation tasked us with the responsibility of presenting their valuable data about all things Long Island in an easily digestible and searchable manner. The goal of Long Island Index and their reports annual reports is to chart progress, providing unbiased data that will lead to greater community awareness. The data is vital to the residents of Long Island, and helps them make decisions on city planning, business growth, and more, and we took the responsibility of showcasing their data very seriously! We are so excited to present their newly launched website, which you can visit at longislandindex.org.
Presently, I find myself in a very enlightening and interesting situation. I, Caroline Molloy, Senior Producer at Verbal+Visual, am a client.
Although renovating my new kitchen is surely different than creating a website or building a brand, the fundamentals of being a client remain the same, and I’m certainly feeling the weirdness of being on the other side of the experience. Overall, however, the experience has taught me a lot about project management and the importance of “seeing” through the client’s eyes.
Here are a few of my takeaways:
Continued communication is key
Living with no appliances, not even a microwave, is hard. Not knowing when I will even be able to cook myself a bag of popcorn again makes it even harder. Now I know why it is so important to keep your clients in the loop.
Even if you are delivering bad news (ie. a deadline needs to be pushed or a requested feature is out of scope) it’s better to be transparent about the situation, rather than to leave a client hanging. Furthermore, bad news should be presented alongside a solution, allowing the client to feel reassured that steps are being taken to fix the issue at hand.
I don’t know everything about everything
As a client it is important to understand that you may not understand everything about the industry or process in which you have embarked on. It can feel impossible not to micromanage, but you need to remember there is a method to the madness, even if you can’t see it.
The people you have hired know what they are doing- you hired them for a reason! Trust that they are not leading you astray, and let them do their jobs. On the flip side as a project manager I need to reassure my clients of this throughout the process to make sure they keep faith in our process.
Seeing is believing
Building a website actually has a lot of similarities to building a house. It needs to have a solid foundation, the look and feel can be changed over time, and continued maintenance is a major requirement. In the client role, I now better understand why clients start to get ancy when they don’t see progress. In web development, as in home building, building the foundation often times takes the most time and effort, but when you actually look at it there is not much to see. It is the front-end design, or the paint and furnishings in a home, that gives the client the real sense of everything coming together- unfortunately, these usually happen last.
It is important that as a Project Manager you ensure that the client understands this, and also that you make an effort to show them progress as it is being made. In a digital agency setting this may mean creating prototypes or demo-ing completed features along the way. This allows a client to understand that progress is being made, and allows them to give input throughout the process as opposed to just weighing in after the big reveal. Imagine painting every room only to decide you hate the color! You’ll be much happier to have feedback early on, rather than waiting until after the entire house is built.
I may have gained a few lbs. eating out for every meal while my kitchen gets renovated, and I may have lost sleep over minute tiling details, but at the end of the day I been given not only a beautiful kitchen, but also some valuable lessons that will surely help make me a better producer here at work.
Zelkova Ventures partners with entrepreneurs, and looks for leading companies and management within their industry to invest in. When dealing with industries and firms that have yet to mature, Zelkova conducts deep analysis into its investments to help determine and pick the future market leaders. They are flexible in providing capital in a manner that addresses the goals of the management and shareholders of the companies in which they invest, leading to a unique and diverse portfolio.
Having worked with Zelkova Partner Jay Levy on the Uproot Wines e-commerce site last fall, Verbal+Visual was brought on board to give Zelkova an updated digital presence. Take a look at the newly launched site, and be sure to check out their impressive portfolio of companies to gain a better sense of this awesome VC’s identity.
Nuansa is a brand new luxury boutique spa in midtown Manhattan that delivers a unique experience in a setting of complete tranquility. They employ outstanding service and attention to detail to make each client feel special from the moment they arrive, creating an oasis of total relaxation that leaves you calmed and rejuvenated.
Verbal+Visual was tasked with creating a fully responsive website to reflect the relaxing vibe that Nuansa Spa gives off amidst its busy city surroundings. Check out the site, and sign up for one of their signature treatments to get the full Nuansa experience.
Sheltering Arms is a nonprofit organization that’s maintained an unwavering commitment to helping New York’s children and families find happiness and success since 1831. Their mission is to strengthen the education, wellbeing, and development of vulnerable children, youth, and families across the New York metro area so that everyone has the support and opportunity needed to maximize their potential. Through innovation and partnerships, they enable low-income children and families to take steps toward brighter futures, free from the cycle of generational poverty.
Miskini is a lifestyle swimwear line, based out of Sydney and Byron Bay that understands life isn’t about the destinations, it’s about what we do to get there. Miskini swimsuits are made in Australia from the finest Italian fabrics, and they are involved in every aspect of the perfect swimsuit from design to factory to you. Miskini draws inspiration from a resort lifestyle, beautiful Australian design and a surf philosophy. They make swimwear for the spontaneous, active, world traveller, resort stayer who enjoys the finer things in life.
Shoreline is a fast and friendly provider of exceptional customized apparel and promotional products. A family-owned company, founded in 1984 and headquartered in the greater NYC area, the company needed a website that showcase the high-touch nature of their printing business. The website was created to showcase the in-depth nature of their work, helping customers throughout the printing process and making sure that their work was shown off in a way that highlighted the detail of the work, and was search engine friendly.
Dead ∙ stock (n): In reference to shoes or apparel that is unworn or brand new. Embracing the literal ideology, a concept was created on the sneaker-crazed streets of Manhattan in the winter of 2012. Three friends, from different neighborhoods and diverse backgrounds found commonalities by pushing the boundaries of the status quo. Unwilling to accept society’s apparel etiquette, the sneakerheads teamed together and founded their passion of what is now, Deadstock Inc.
V+V worked with Deadstock in order to create a clean eCommerce platform which showcased the photography and sneakers on the site, above all else. A unique sweepstakes integration for purchase of the sneakers was integrated into the eCommerce platform as well, and the entire experience is fully responsive for use on any device.
It’s a special moment when you have a room full of people who you care about and who inspire you. After 5 years of having Verbal+Visual, I was lucky enough to have a moment like that. It was a special night for all of us, though; the team members who we sweat with day in and day out, the sponsors who were so generous in their responses for the event, the clients who came by to say hello and enjoy a drink, and the family members who traveled from all over to support our efforts.
Highlights of the night include the launch of our new website, the generosity of attendees to donate to our charities of choice, the delicious bite-sized treats provided by the talented chef of the evening, Tessa Liebman, visits by parents and family from out of town (including multiple family members from Chicago!), a web-infused drink menu (The Ruby on Rails, anyone?) and much, much more (see pictures below).
Before getting to the pictures, we have to thank our incredible sponsors:
Uproot Wines provided all of the wine for the evening, including their brand new 2012 Grenache! For a bottle of wine with a tech twist, try a bottle of Uproot today. Shipped right to your door!
Haute So Sweet provided us with an assortment of cake pops, including a birthday cake pop that nearly made my mouth melt. Their cake pops not only taste fantastic, they are good for the health conscious dessert lover.
Brooklyn Brewery provided all of the beer for the evening, which was all fantastic. If you haven’t tried it yet, do so the next time you’re out!
We look forward to celebrating with everyone again, and we won’t wait another 5 years to do so! A very special thank you to everyone who attended and made the event special. It’s something that everyone on our side won’t forget for the rest of our lives. Cheers!
Yesterday we launched the new website for HFP Capital Markets, a project where verbal+visual did the full strategy, site design and development. HFP is a full-service boutique investment bank offering a wide array of financial services to corporate, institutional, and private clients nationwide. HFP was in major need of an update to the website. The old site was outdated, and the company needed a digital presence that reflected the success and level of expertise that was so evident when you walked into their physical space. To do this we updated the overall design style of the site to remain within the current branding, while focusing on the idea of professionalism and highlighting key messaging. The site utilizes large imagery, as well as a large amount of white space to really highlight the relevant content. The navigation makes it easy for a user to find the content they are looking for.
This is an exciting time for our partners over at Grameen PrimaCare, as we launched their brand new website on Friday!
verbal+visual worked with Grameen PrimaCare to design and build the non-profit’s front-facing development and fundraising website. The goal of the site is to serve as a hub of information about Grameen PrimaCare, and allow potential donors the opportunity to gain more insight about the organization, as well as donate through the site itself.
The site also highlights the pilot Grameen Vida Sana program. Grameen Vida Sana is designed to provide low-income women with innovative and comprehensive health care programs at an affordable cost. Grameen PrimaCare was founded by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhummad Yunus and launched this year. This is his latest project aiming to improve the lives of the poor around the world.
The website utilizes a clean and organized layout, to allow users to easily browse the site. Icons, custom graphics and bright colors were used to visually represent content and draw a visitor’s eye. Using WordPress as the foundation for the site allows Grameen PrimaCare staff to easily update all content in the future as need be. In addition, the integration of a donation form makes it easy for visitors to donate on the spot, while various contact forms make it simple for visitors to request and acquire additional information.
New York Fashion Week started yesterday, but that is not the only reason we here at verbal+visual had fashion on the brain. Yesterday marked the completion of our branding, strategy and design project for Datlook, a new social network that focuses strictly on fashion. Datlook’s founder, Denise Cheng, dreamed up a platform that would allow fashion-minded people to share photos and stories about their fashion finds and inspirations. The network is meant to promote discovery and conversation around brands and designers both well-known and under the radar.
verbal+visual worked on the strategy and rebranding for the new Datlook site, as well as designing the website for both desktop, tablet and mobile browsing. While Datlook is keeping the designs under wraps until the official launch of the platform slated for the winter, we can present the new, updated Datlook logo!
Fashion is an industry we are very passionate about, and we always love the opportunity to work with clients in the fashion world. Good luck to all of our partners both past and present who are partaking in this week’s fashion festivities. Excited to see what we will all be wearing for Spring 2014, and even more excited for the upcoming Datlook launch.
With college football season officially kicking off this weekend, we were thrilled to launch the newly designed Uplifting Athletes eCommerce site. verbal+visual worked with both Uplifting Athletes and Mediabarn to come up with a full strategy for the platform. Our team spearheaded the development of the site, which was built using Shopify and styled to match the overall look and feel of the current Uplifting Athletes brand. Photos on the site were taken by Dennis Baker.
verbal+visual has partnered with Uplifting Athletes in the past, and it is always a pleasure working with such a motivated and dedicated group of people. Raising awareness and funds to help fight rare diseases is vital.
Uplifting Athletes is a national nonprofit organization aligning college football with rare diseases and raising them as a national priority through outreach, research, education and advocacy. Uplifting Athletes has chapters in colleges and universities across the country, and provides football student-athletes the opportunity to learn practical job skills and make an impact.
We are excited to announce the launch of our partner Dave Lerner’s redesigned website and blog. Dave Lerner is a serial entrepreneur, Angel investor, blogger, and newly appointed Director of Entrepreneurship at Columbia University.
Dave came to verbal+visual looking to migrate his TypePad blog to WordPress, update some of the content, and to refresh the look and feel of the site. The addition of an About Me page and a Portfolio section took what was formerly strictly a blog and turned it more into a personal website.
Be sure to check out the site at davelerner.com , and if you are at all interested in entrepreneurship, Angel investing or startups be sure to read some of Dave’s very insightful posts.
Flat design is something that has been growing in popularity, and that has been talked about lately with Microsoft’s Windows 8 and the launch of the new redesigned Apple iOS7.
While browsing fltdsgn.com, a site showcasing some of the best sites using flat design, we came across this gem: wherehaveallthewildlingsgone.com. Nigel Evan Dennis uses flat design to showcase all of the many characters and their associations within the show. With our love for great design, and our ridiculous obsession with Game of Thrones, this site was quite the find.
We are thrilled to be working on the rebranding & redesign of Datlook.com. Datlook is a social platform in the beta phase, created for fashion lovers to engage in open conversation and sharing. The platform allows users to share their fashion ideas and inspirations and promotes discovery of new brands and stores.
verbal+visual will be working on the strategy for the platform, as well as the branding overhaul and site redesign. We are so excited to be working with such a hip brand that loves fashion as much as we do. Datlook’s emphasis on social engagement, artsy design and street style make us very excited to get to work! Check back for updates on the progress of this project.
We have had the pleasure of working with serial entrepreneur, angel investor and blogger, Dave Lerner on revamping his website. Dave has amazing insight into the world of entrepreneurs. Check out his TED Talk at TEDxColumbiaEngineering he gave last year. His new site will be launching soon!
In honor of throwback Thursday and this incredible heatwave in NYC, we wanted to highlight a “delicious” project we worked on a few years back. Take a look at the Cuticone Design website we worked on. Cuticone designs packaging for well-known brands such as Klondike, Breyers and Good Humor. We could really go for a pint of ice cream right about now in this heat. Let the mouth watering begin!
After Anshey’s stop in State College this past weekend, he continued west to Pittsburgh for the 2nd annual Great American Water Balloon Fight benefitting Team Tassy, one of verbal+visual’s partners. There was a great turnout with over 1,200 people coming out to join in on the fun. Thousands of water balloons were thrown, and it was hard to find a dry person in the place!
Check out some photos from the event below:
verbal+visual has worked with Team Tassy for a number of years, and this year designed and developed the site for this event. Team Tassy is an amazing organization with the mission to unleash the inherent power in every person to eliminate global poverty. The money raised at this event will go towards accomplishing that mission.
Verbal+Visual had a busy, yet rewarding weekend supporting some of our partner organizations at their events. Our founder, Anshey Bhatia, first journeyed to State College, PA for the 11th annual Lift For Life benefitting Uplifting Athletes. The Penn State football team competed in various strength and conditioning competitions and raised more than $133,000 for kidney cancer. This is the largest amount of money raised by the Penn State chapter since the first Lift for Life event, held in 2003. Anshey was able to spend time with Scott Shirley, founder of Uplifting Athletes, as well as Carolyn Konosky from The Kidney Cancer Association, another one of V+V’s partners.
Prior to this event, V+V helped facilitate a photo shoot for the Uplifting Athletes eCommerce site. We are excited to announce the Uplifting Athletes eCommerce store is slated to launch this August, and will serve as the main hub for fans to purchase Uplifting Athletes and Chapter-specific merchandise. Here are some behind the scenes shots of Friday’s photo shoot:
Tomorrow is the 2nd annual Great American Water Balloon Fight benefiting Team Tassy. Our own Anshey Bhatia will be there chucking water balloons for this great cause! The mission of Team Tassy is to unleash the inherent power in every person to eliminate global poverty.
If you are in the Pittsburgh area be sure to come out to Highmark Stadium to take part in this fun, family event. Doors open at 10am and the “battle” begins at 1pm. There will be over 100,00 water balloons, live music, entertainment and food. If you are not in the area, but still want to learn more about the event and make a donation visit the site designed & developed by verbal + visual here.
SEO is a very important thing, and how rankings are determined and what is deemed “important” by search engine algorithms is always evolving. It is vital for your website’s rankings to understand this evolution and keep up with the changes.
SEO consulting company, MOZ (formerly SEOmoz), has just released its 2013 Ranking Factors information. Below is a slideshare presentation created by Matthew Peters, a Data Scientist at Moz. The presentation contains valuable information about search rankings, and future predications for search.
We are excited to announce the launch of our newest web platform, Warranty Revolution. verbal+visual partnered with Warranty Revolution to do everything from overall strategy, branding, web design and web development for this new platform.
Warranty Revolution is the future of the auto warranty business. Currently customers are presented auto warranty packages at the dealership when they purchase a new or used vehicle. Often times the dealer offers up one option for these warranty packages, when in reality there are many options and some that may work better for a customer than others. Warranty Revolution puts the control in the customers’ hands by allowing them to browse all potential warranty packages that are best suited for their vehicle and their needs. By providing some basic information about their vehicle, Warranty Revolution will present all of the best auto warranty packages for that customer.
This is a full eCommerce platform that makes browsing and buying an auto warranty package simple! Check out the site at warrantyrevolution.com.
Download the newest update of the Instagram app and you are in for quite a treat. Instagram now includes a video feature that allows user to record up to 15 seconds of video to share. The app will even let you choose from a number of filters to add to the video, as it currently does for images. Many think that the addition of video is in direct response to Vine, another video sharing app, that has been growing in popularity.
Check out the official Instagram blog post announcing the new video feature here.
Our partner, Private Stock, has received a lot of attention with the opening of their flagship store at 76 Wooster street. Recently, Private Stock has been recognized as one of the best new stores in NYC by Complex City Guide.
Be sure to check out this innovative and beautifully designed store! If you are not in the area, get a peek inside on the Private Stock website Flagship tab.
We are always looking for beautifully designed websites to serve as inspiration and motivation to keep verbal+visual creative and cutting edge. One of the great inspiration resources we have come across is One Page Love. This site features beautifully designed, one page websites. One page sites have been growing in popularity and when used for the right client in the right industry can be a great success.
For a bit of design inspiration, or to check out some of these one page sites be sure to visit One Page Love.
Do you have any design inspiration resources you would recommend? If so be sure to tweet them to @verbalplsvisual
Interested in what users are searching for in real time? Google put together this captivating site which allows you to see what users are “Google-ing” around the world, or you can filter for a particular region.
This site not only provides you with interesting and important data on what people are searching, but it is rather exciting to watch. You can check out the Google hot trends visualization here.
Below is what users were searching for today at 1:28 pm in the United States!
verbal+visual founder Anshey Bhatia has been featured in AlleyWatch, the destination for startup news and information in New York City. In the article, Anshey discusses the “Made in NY™” campaign. This campaign was created to support New York City’s growing tech community in a number of ways, including promoting jobs available in the industry, and celebrating NYC-based digital companies. verbal+visual is proud to be part of this community.
Check out the article below or visit AlleyWatch to read it there.
Today we are speaking with Anshey Bhatia, Founder of the digital branding and marketing firm verbal+visual.What does “Made in NY™” mean to you and your company?
For us, it means we are proud of our home and really value the talented individuals in this city. Our model is primarily a contractor model, so we are constantly searching for and finding incredibly talented specialists (designers, developers, photographers, copy writers, etc.) to work with us on creating incredible digital experiences, mainly for brands here in New York. In essence, we’ve set up an ecosystem here in NYC of job creation and excellent branding and marketing initiatives for companies headquartered here.
What can be done to maximize the “Made in NY™” campaign?
To maximize the Made in NY™ campaign, an outreach and PR effort needs to be made, as well as rewarding companies that are considered Made in NY™. For example, tax breaks or incentives such as office space offers, special deals, etc. will help promote Made in NY™. This requires more work from the people in charge of Made in NY™, but also significantly promotes the entrepreneurial ecosystem here as well.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in NYC?
Really, it’s all about incentives and meeting the right people. Places like General Assembly that are Made in NY™ sponsored would be ideal, along with office space, learning centers, and networking places all in one.
Where does your company fit in the ecosystem?
We have created our own NYC ecosystem in a way. We recruit talented, independent individuals from NYC, and work with companies we admire and are based here, in the city. It’s a really great ecosystem, in that we serve as a conduit for successful people and brands in NYC, the best city in the world.
When you have a background in design you know how important every small detail can be. If an element on a website is 1 pixel off it sticks out like a sore thumb to a trained eye. What many people don’t realize is that even to an untrained eye those small details make a difference in how a brand is perceived.
Check out this great article by User Experience Designer, Braden Kowitz, about the importance of focusing on the design details when building a web platform.
We here at verbal+visual are very excited to be working with Uplifting Athletes to develop a comprehensive strategy for the integration of a new eCommerce platform with the organization’s current brand site. Uplifting Athletes has seen large growth in the past few years as more and more universities are creating chapters. The addition of a revamped eCommerce area on the website will open up an entirely new revenue stream for the organization and help connect UA fans with gear and branded merchandise.
Uplifting Athletes is a national nonprofit organization aligning college football with rare diseases and raising them as a national priority through outreach, research, education and advocacy. To learn more about Uplifting Athletes visit their website at www.upliftingathletes.org.
The new Kajal London website was featured yesterday in Urban Daddy! The newly rebranded Kajal London Sunglasses e-commerce platform recently launched and already is getting great traction. The Urban Daddy article, “Tale of the Tape – Two Handsome New Online Sunglasseries“, compares Kajal London to another eyewear “giant” which also has an e-commerce site. It is safe to say that KL definitely stacked up to the competition. It was noted Kajal London offers over 108 one of a kind, vintage sunglasses all available online.
Be sure to check out the full Urban Daddy article here, and to visit Kajal London to shop that perfect pair of shades for this sunny weather.
Thursday marked the official Kajal London website launch! verbal+visual was responsible for the rebranding of the company, the website design, as well as the development. In celebration, Kajal London hosted a launch party at the Tina Catherine Boutique in Chelsea. The event was a great success and a wonderful backdrop for the new site.
Below is our very own Anshey Bhatia rocking some shades!
Check back for our comprehensive launch post for Kajal London later this week! In the meantime be sure to check out the site at www.kajallondon.com.
Last year was the first ever Great American Water Balloon Fight hosted by Team Tassy. This event was started as a fun way to give to an amazing organization. verbal+visual was tasked with designing and developing an event site for the inaugural water balloon fight last year, and we were very excited when Team Tassy asked us to come onboard to revamp the website for this year’s event. Due to the success of last year’s fight we decide to build a more long-term solution that would allow Team Tassy to easily make content and style updates in the future.
Using the event’s poster as inspiration, verbal+visual came up with a colorful and engaging site for this exciting event. Using custom graphics, and a one-page layout, this site really embodies the spirit of The Great American Water Balloon Fight.
Be sure to check out the site and if you are in the Pittsburgh area July 13th be sure to partake in what is sure to be a wet and wild day! All proceeds go to Team Tassy with the mission to eliminate global poverty.
verbal+visual Founder and Principal, Anshey Bhatia was interviewed for an article featured today on StartUp Fashion focusing on the essential elements for building an eCommerce platform for those in the fashion industry.
Check out the article below:
Essential Elements of Your Fashion eCommerce Website
A well designed website is an essential element of a successful fashion business. Whether you’re designing it in house or hiring an agency to design it for you, it’s important to know what you should be thinking about, the questions you should ask, and best practices.
With that in mind, we sat down with Anshey Bhatia of verbal + visual, to get the scoop on Essential Elements of Your Fashion eCommerce Website.
When a potential new client comes to you for help creating a website, what are the questions they need to be able to answer?
Here are some key questions we always ask:
Who is your target audience?
What kind of budget do you have specifically for the website, and also for marketing?
Do you have great content (photography and copy) ready, or is that something we’ll need to handle?
What kind of resources do you have internally, in order to review statistics, manage orders, update site content, etc
Do you have all of your branding together?
Who handles your marketing, both online and offline, and how do you promote the brand in general?
Many of the questions we need our clients to answer are not just specific to building a website, they are focused on using the eCommerce site as a platform for your business.
So many of the questions are business-centric and related to your vision, your operations and your resources, and you as the business owner need to be able to handle those questions.
If you’ve ever watched Shark Tank, imagine yourself in the position of pitching your business. If you can’t answer any question thrown at you from a business perspective, you’re not going to do well.
What questions do you think they should be asking you?
You should be asking us (and any vendor) about things like:
What resources we have on staff
Our experience within the industry
Preferred styles for the design side of things
eCommerce platforms of choice and why
How they can manage the site following launch
What if something breaks following launch and how will it be covered, etc.
That’s specifically for the site, then on the operations side you should be asking:
About order fulfillment and how that will be done internally
How will they track orders, process them and see the overall health of the eCommerce site
Beyond that, you should make sure that the site will work well from a marketing side: sharing products via social networks, sharing favorite lists, logging in with Facebook, email sign ups and integrations, discount code integration, etc.
Lastly, from a budget side, ask
How can we make something that works well with your desired budget range
How can it fit into your company, from a branding side, an operations side, and a marketing side, in relation to your resources on hand.
What are the three most important components of an e-commerce website?
There’s definitely a lot more than 3, but if I had to pick I’d say:
You want to make it easy for people to find it, look at it, and buy it within a few short minutes.
If you don’t lead them into buying right away, they will lose interest and go somewhere else. If you make it hard to buy in any way shape or form, you will lose the sale. Period.
And if you can’t handle the order fulfillment process on your own end, no one else will buy from you when they hear about someone else’s poor experience on the site.
You recently completed the creation of PrivateStockBrand.com, which looks beautiful by the way, what were the goals for this brand’s website? How did you communicate them visually?
Thanks for your compliment! We’re very proud of that site, and it was even a nominee for site of the day (and year) on Awwwards.com!
Our goals for the brand website were to keep it very clean and photography centric, and to match their branding style as much as possible.
We have a lot of little touches which really make the site come to life; for instance, if you click on the Collections section, you can slide through each item by clicking on the arrows without moving your mouse. That may seem small, but when you add together a lot of smooth, sophisticated touches across the site, it creates a site that is both unique and a treat for visitors at every turn.
Of course, besides brand continuity, we wanted to ensure that items could be found and purchased quickly and easily from the consumer side, and that order fulfillment from the client side was very simple as well. Abandoned carts are one of the biggest stats to keep track of, and we wanted to make sure abandoned carts weren’t a problem, so we made the check out process very simple and straight forward. Fill out the form, get your products in the mail. Quick, easy and effortless.
What e-commerce platform did you use for Private Stock? Why is this a good option for fashion designers?
We used Magento for the eCommerce platform for Private Stock. There are a bunch of eCommerce platforms out there, but really they fall into two buckets:
Lightweight platforms that are hosted by the cart providor (Shopify, BigCommerce, etc.)
Self hosted, customizable solutions such as Magento, WordPress eCommerce, etc.
I always tend to gather budget information from a client first, and then make a recommendation based on their budget. Bigger budgets should go with a self hosted solution where you can control every aspect of your platform. So, for Private Stock, we went with a self hosted solution (Magento on a dedicated server) and set everything up for them, including the hosting, secure certificate, etc. Magento is very powerful and you can customize it in any way you want.
On the flip side, it’s also heavy on the programming side and takes significantly longer to customize than most other eCommerce platforms. So it’s a much more time intensive platform, but you get a lot of benefits when its all said and done.
The hosted cart providers such as Shopify and BigCommerce are great for smaller budgets. You pay a monthly fee to them, they have templates you can use instead of doing a custom design and development process, and you can keep your costs low. They don’t have the power and customization of a self hosted solution, but if you’re just starting out these are great options.
You lose the ability to have a truly unique site that you can 100% control, but you make up for it in ease of use and setup, as well as budget of course.
Awwwards recognizes and features the work of the best developers, designers and web agencies in the world. The Awwwards site is a great place to go for inspiration and to see what others in the industry are working on.
Check out this email design checklist from Email Monks breaking down the best practices for email template designs for a growing mobile audience.
Click here to view the whole breakdown of email template break practices.
An Adobe study states that 79% of smartphone owners use their phones for reading email, compared with 78% who used it for making calls. This is why it is so important to optimize your email format to work for mobile devices. Are your email templates optimized for mobile?
verbal+visual was tasked with creating all of the branding for the new company, Warranty Revolution. As a start-up we had to take our partner’s vision and make it come alive. Take a look at what this logo creation process looked like…a condensed 6 second version of the process!
Warranty Revolution is an online retailer of after-market automotive related products. The organization was founded on providing a customer focused solution that blends technology with “extended warranty”. V+V also did the site design and development. The site will be launching later this month!
Verbal+Visual partnered up with EBK Eyewear to do a total overhaul and rebrand the company as Kajal London. This rebrand consisted of both a logo and website redesign.
Kajal London offers a distinct collection of one-of-a-kind vintage and designer eyewear. The brand represents high-end fashion, style, and individuality all in one. The new logo is both simple and refined, but has a bit of that uniqueness.
Here you will see a side-by-side comparison of the old logo, and the re-imagined Kajal London logo.
Here at verbal+visual, we strive to work with brands and organizations we are passionate about. We had the opportunity to work with an amazing non-profit, Team Tassy, for the past two years on the design and development for its event site for The Great American Water Balloon Fight.
Team Tassy announced that the second annual Great American Water Balloon Fight will be held July 13, 2013. This years water balloon fight will take place at Highmark Stadium, Station Square in Pittsburgh, PA. If you are in the area, be sure to check out this fun-filled event and come prepared to get soaked!
The Great American Water Balloon Fight is held to raise funds for Team Tassy –with the mission to unleash the inherent power in every person to eliminate global poverty.
Take a peep at the landing page for the event here, and check back for full details on the official website launch slated for next week! We are so fortunate to partner with such an amazing organization.
Click here to donate directly to Team Tassy and help them in their goal to eradicate global poverty!
It is important to update your branding to keep current and with the times, but also important to remain loyal to the brand message and history when doing so. Check out the infographic above to see how some of the most well known corporations have updated their logos over time. Nothing like a good logo revamp!
It has been said that nothing beats a face-to-face meeting, but as evolving technologies are further engrained into our work routines, and the business environment continues to become more global, emails and phone calls have become the communication standard. Obviously both email and the phone are invaluable in a business setting, especially in the digital industry, but there is still a lot to be said about the connections that can be made with an in-person meeting.
While the existence of video conferencing is not brand new, it has now been brought to the masses with Apple’s Facetime, Google’s Google Hangouts, and our old friend Skype. Achieving that face to face is now just as easy of picking up the phone or logging onto a website. For those instances when you really need to get a meeting in, but do not have the time needed to make a trek across town, or across the country, these technologies really aide in making it happen.
verbal+visual has partners in various states and time zones, and the use of these technologies allows us to create a connection with not only our clients here in New York, but those in Ohio or California for example.
Does your company utilize any of the mentioned technologies, or other video conferencing services?
This is an exciting time for Private Stock, one of Verbal+Visual’s partners. Private Stock, a lifestyle brand created by Jon Koon, is opening its flagship retail store this Saturday, April 6th in tandem with the launch of the e-commerce and mobile websites, which V+V had the opportunity to develop.
To add to the excitement, they was just featured in the Men’s Week section of Women’s Wear Daily, a huge accomplishment for any fashion brand.
Verbal+Visual has had a long-term relationship with Private Stock, as we developed their brand site before working on the e-commerce platform. To learn more, check out their website here, or visit their Facebook fan page. A big congrats to their entire team! Excited for the big opening.
Private Stock is a lifestyle brand that is inspired by a global perspective on progressive fashion, style and art. The brand focuses on the luxury of simplicity.
Check back next week for a detailed post about the launch of the e-commerce and sites!
Verbal+Visual is excited to be one of the companies present at the Penn State College of Communications: Success in the City job fair next Friday. We are continuously searching for creative, hardworking and enthusiastic people who are looking to create great with us.
If you’re attending Success in the City, or looking for more information about career opportunities with Verbal+Visual, shoot us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our careers page. We’ll see you at Success in the City!
It’s always a pleasure receiving the Communication Arts Interactive Annual and perusing the pages filled with innovative design. It serves as wonderful inspiration for the continued success of good work.
We are very excited to catch the premiere of the new E! series Playing With Fire featuring Verbal+Visual’s partners Derek & Daniel Koch.
Verbal+Visual worked with Derek & Daniel on the creative development of their multiple websites. We designed and developed the website for their boutique hospitality and luxury company Dual Groupe. In addition to the Dual Groupe site, we developed sites for some of the Dual Groupe restaurant ventures. Noted sites are the Meatpacking nightlife hot-spot TOY located in the Gansevoort Hotel, as well as the French inspired wine bar Château Cherbuliez, located in the iconic Limelight building.
Playing With Fire is a new reality series featuring the movers and shakers of the New York restaurant and nightlife scene. Be sure to tune in this Sunday, March 17th at 10pm to Playing With Fire on E!.