Can’t we all shop nice?

The customer is what drives sales. The sales reflect the budget for the advertising campaigns. The advertising campaigns influence the consumer.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Macy’s sues Martha Stewart Living for J.C. Penney is trying to refocus their products and audience. Have you seen J.C. Penny’s new branding? jcp alone is a big step for this shopping brand that is trying to break the grandma and cheap-stay-at-home mom of 7 stereotype. Notice the jcpenney facebook page. Everything is lowercase and notice the actual URL is just jcp rather than the brand spelled out or the J.C. Penney like this corporate public trading company is.

With the shuffle of the leading creative teams and CEO’s from Target to jcpenney you WILL see even more change in the advertising and branding. Is this Martha Stewart Living lawsuit just one of the many first steps Macy’s is trying to protect their celebrity-driven brand? Notice Macy’s facebook page that features Clinton Kelly (Celebrity fashion consultant) and they also will NOT let you not be part of their Macy’s Million Dollar Makeover propping this alert, twice to me until I agree.

I notice retail because of course, I’m a woman, but also with branding and design it is always changing in front of us that many customers are aware of. I find myself noticing the shopping bags, advertisements and of course the social tactics each brand goes to. Commercials with SHAZAM that gets you to listen to their music, or with lovable celebrities like Jessica Simpson that makes you want to be their them and wear their line and shop and experience.

The poor Kardashians got SEARS to buy their line. Not only do I feel it was over-priced for their demographic and store experience, but I hadn’t been in a SEARS since 1992 and that was because my dad was buying a refrigerator. On the SEAR’S website they have the Facebook icon that props the share button. Why would I want to share this? I would hope I would want to lead my user to their facebook page or the SEARS (why do I keep writing SEARS in all caps?). They are loosing out on getting their page visitors somewhere else to track their interests.
Lets face it, retail isn’t going away, but the stores could. What department store will go away first? SEARS who started in 1886, jcp 1902, Macy’s 1929, Herberger’s 1927?

Only time will tell. Until then, play nice and keep the look-out for even more re-branding and well, lawsuits.

Which stores were originated in Minnesota?
Herberger’s and SEARS. Maybe I will go back and try that Kardardasian Kollection.

your mn design gal

Halloween I dressed-up as Kim Kardashian.

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Twitter UXD

Twitter.com needs to have an option to switch to different profiles while staying logged-in. Similar to (hate to say it) but facebook’s page option, making it easy to maneuver from one page to another that you’re an admin to. In this case, a handle you have been logged-in to within 24 hours.

Too many times I am clicking on links that bring me to my browser, and I don’t want to be following someone in the wrong account, that could be plain embarrassing! Right?

Always thinking and I know I’m not alone on this one,
mn design gal

T1 Question: When do I turn a tweet into a blog post? Or when it is smart to have a tweet rather than a small blog post? Should I always tweet my blog posts even if they are a simple one-liner like this one? #answersplease

UXD = User Experience Design

The Twitter Bug

TWEETDo you tweet? I’m guessing if you are reading my blog you do. If not. You have heard of it at the very least. Look at the right side of my blog >>>> my feed is there for your enjoyment.

I started Twitter purely to stay connected with people and stay on top of trends for I was working outside of the metro area at the time. What I later found out it was not only a great resource to gather information quickly but sometimes I was the first to “see” or “hear” something happening. I then starting seeing job postings and also used it as a source to see advertising pitches in process and of course the hippest events. Social media has improved Ad2 as a whole purely from the stand-point of asking “how did you hear about this event” oh someone RT on twitter or I saw your post. #awesome

Why do I tweet and will I be that lady that tweets when she is 80? Probably not, but it is a pretty cool thing to be involved with now. Just think my daughter will be able to see this live journal of my life not only through my blog but through the thoughts and tweets I have posted in my mid-twenties.

It is also part of my job. Not only do I get questions daily on it but if I am not in the know, I will only be hindering myself. For social equals success. #imadethatup

It is scary to think that one tweet will never really go away… (I have deleted a few quickly but still someone may have seen it) also remember one should never tweet something that they couldn’t see on the big screen at a Twins game or have their boyfriend read in bed while on his iPad. #akissonthecheeknotthelips

I have learned now, that my co-workers follow me and also our clients enjoy my tweets. I tweet for my current agency @CreativeMN, (which I have to say it a pretty sweet handle that I created and carries it’s own weight) and also a few other local owned companies.

If you don’t have the Twitter Bug don’t sweat it, but I encourage you absorb the bug a little and download Tweetie which is my go-to online application. Keep it open and it will indicate a new mention with a red icon and you don’t have to be distracted by sounds or pop-ups. I also do use Hootsuite for massive tweeting through multiple outlets and social media accounts. I am always trying new ones and also appreciate learning what others use.

Don’t get your flu shot quite yet, this twitter bug may be fun to catch!

Tweet Me. Follow Me. Just don’t stalk me please.
@MNdesignGal

Good Social with r+h

Good Social. I notice brands every day that have social and they are good, but they could be doing so much more to make their social REALLY GREAT!

The brand that I’m exploring today is russell+hazel which is a locally owned store that has retail stores at 4388 France Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55410.

Go online and see what they have right away and the best part there is a huge national audience for their products. Their overall imagery is really user-friendly and designers kill-for their products. Adding a share button to their products through social media outlets would give users a chance to show-off their newest purchases or heart-filled desires and also drive more business and traffic to their website without having to “tweet the URL” every day.

Finally finding @russellandhazel on twitter you notice the background has nothing to do with their current brand imagery. “hello sexy” goes through my head making it a bit awkward.

CONTENT: What they are doing on twitter is purely leading people to their website to buy things. Not only will that get annoying but I will start to not pay attention to their tweets and quickly unfollow making the use of twitter purely irrelevant. The 25% OFF code tweets are helpful ways to get that back on track but rarely are usable.

Having content that reflects current design trends, fashion and decorating trending, celebrity inspiration, quotes, tips on using their products, things that the demographic again will enjoy and follow in our companies.

Facebook is an easy outlet for creating content and contests because your Likers make it up for you. Having consumers take pictures of their r+h at work or possibly establishing a design contest that will in return give you value to redo your home or work office. A welcome tab and using their imagery and pushing the envelope with a profile picture using length or height [like pictured to left] would start to make this facebook go from good to great. Is that me as the profile picture on the facebook page by the way?

russell+hazel will probably back-up their use of social saying they are B2B and not just consumer, but the fact is this market they should step-up and have really GREAT social. As a r+h fan and advocate for really great social, it disappoints me and makes me wonder if this role is purely ignored or if the front desk lady (I sit at a front desk so no hard-feelings) is tweeting and updating directored by the marketing director that doesn’t tweet or thinks facebook is a waste of time and updates only what she eats.

Personally, this brand would be a dream to tweet, find content, monitor and correspond with. Not only do the products speak for themselves, the challenge of finding their audience and showing numbers increase and value of the brand itself excites me! Also not to mention the clean design approach is ideal and a personal favorite of mine for social marketing. Contact page on the website, the social media is hidden.

After creeping around way too much, found this a “sister-brand” of r+h http://mara-mi.com/aboutus.html. Now that website tells you there is so much potential to do some really GREAT social.

Facebook icons and a simple Twitter link on the homepage would be a great first step for r+h and then start following other similar brands such as The Nest & OhJoy! and get their followers to start to notice you too. Start a Blog and not full of promotions & products but lifestyle that can really showcase what r+h can do for you, your home, your business or even your own store.

Coming from a designer’s perspective, to be able to use russell+hazel products and design elements in a social presence would make me become a kid in a candy store all over again.

Observing way too much for fun for just a Tuesday,

mn design gal