What Wonderful Colorado Means To Us

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We love Colorado. Its the people, the places, the food, the culture, the adventure and the natural beauty. We love everything that Colorado stands for. So when it came time to create our annual client holiday gift, it was natural for us to build something that symbolizes our passion for this beautiful state. But we wanted to do something bigger than just a client gift. We wanted to create something that lives past the corny dancing elves and the cutesy interactive advent calendars. We wanted to create content that would help others understand why we cherish our state so much.

What was born from that desire is Wonderful Colorado – a field guide to the state we so dearly call home. Crafted not only for our clients, but also our friends, family, prospective clients, and anyone interested in exploring Colorado. What started as a fun idea quickly became real as we went to work creating a brand identity we knew had to feel modern, playful, and simple at the same time.

Knowing that our digital field guide had to be accompanied by a physical gift, we hit the drawing board. Shirts, scarves, mugs, socks, and a whole lot else were considered. In the end, we landed on a winter cap and a branded moleskin notebook, thinking that these gifts would go hand-in-hand with the field guide we were creating. We then worked with Ace Kauffman to create custom stamps for gift boxes and moleskins, and hired Anthem Branding to create the winter caps for our client gift box.

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Meanwhile, at our office on South Broadway, we asked employees to send us their favorite CO winter activities. We then drilled down a list of the top 30, which encompassed indoor, outdoor, and food & drink. Next, we interviewed the winners and brought together our collective short stories and experiences. Hours of working around the clock and fine tuning each and every little detail of the web experience followed. From the typography and subtle animations to the mobile/tablet experience, everything was considered and tested to ensure the site was easy to use and enjoy. As Charles Eames said, ‘The details are not the details. They make the design.’

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When it was all said and done, we had created an integrated campaign including physical gifts, printed cards, an email campaign, and a badass website. From start to finish, this has been my favorite project at Karsh Hagan to date. We feel like this concept has legs to be much more than a client holiday gift, and we’re excited to see where it takes us next.

Andrew Baker
Senior Experience Developer

 

 

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Paid Social is Paramount in 2015

socialWhen looking at trends this year across social outlets offering paid advertising, particularly Facebook, including paid social in your 2015 digital media mix will be more important than ever before. At this point, most companies recognize the value of investment in a strong social media strategy. With the rise of robust paid social options, and the decline of organic reach, the next evolution of digital media and social media strategy will have companies evaluating and utilizing promotional posts and tweets more and more.

Last year and then again earlier this year, Facebook reorganized their Newsfeed algorithms. This resulted in significantly less organic reach for the majority of businesses, and sent social strategists scrambling to update their organic strategies. Around the same time, Facebook added more robust targeting options to their promoted posts, further encouraging companies to delve into the promoted post space.

With a new announcement in November 2014 further restricting businesses’ posts by minimizing the amount of promotional page posts showing in users’ Newsfeeds, paid social is becoming even more essential.

Although Facebook is forcing many businesses into the paid space, there are many great opportunities for advertisers if they target their media placements well and have captivating creative. Karsh Hagan has accrued immense success across a variety of client industries for both In-Newsfeed and Right Hand Rail Ad formats, particularly as an element to a larger digital media campaign. Both can drive meaningful results, for very efficient costs, and should be evaluated for your digital marketing strategies in 2015.

NikkiBurmaster3 (1)Nikki Burmaster, Digital Media Strategist

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Personalization Communications With Cyber-Savvy Customers

UntitledCustomers increasingly expect more out of their online experiences. When we think about what creates customer loyalty offline, we think of businesses that form relationships with their customers—remembering their preferences and making product recommendations based on what they know. Successful businesses deliver some degree of personalization.

In general the more relevant something is to you the more likely you are to interact with it. This results in longer engagement, higher conversion rate, brand loyalty, and ultimately more sales. A recent study of online users showed that a whopping 78% of consumers preferred personalized content and advertising because it saves time and lets them focus on what interests them most. With the rise of social media, brands must realize that their customers are on social media channels to interact with other people, not with brands and their corporate-sounding lingo. With real-time personalization, online businesses can ensure they are creating an even more timely and custom online experience.

Personalized campaigns are quickly becoming the norm. We’re not far up the adoption curve yet, but already, business leaders are predicting huge impacts:

“The ability to find people, to talk specifically to them, to judge them, to rank what they’re doing, to decide what to do with your products… (it) changes every business globally, “ says Eric Schmidt, Chairman at Google.

Find the audience wherever they are and deliver a personalized message. It changes audience behavior and will change the businesses that do it.

DarrenBrickel2Darren Brickel, Associate Creative Director

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Creating a Brand Experience Through Design and Interaction Patterns.

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As Steve Jobs once poignantly observed, design is “not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” This philosophy holds true in all fields of design, but becomes increasingly important in the digital realm. To address this, companies all over the world are attempting to establish design systems that bridge the physical and digital spaces, allowing them to maintain brand consistency and offer a holistic experience across all mediums.

Many of these systems focus particularly on web and mobile environments, as these mediums are becoming increasingly predominant as the primary touch point between brands and their users. For example, Mailchimp’s “Pattern Library” is a learning library for use by their web and mobile teams. It offers useful guides and examples of how typography, grid systems, forms, lists, animations, and more should all live cohesively in the Mailchimp digital ecosystem. Another great example is Salesforce’s mobile app style guide.

This year, Google took the pattern library one step further and introduced what they call “Material Design.” This system establishes UX and Interaction patterns that unite Google’s many products with a seamless design experience.

There are two main focal points to material design: material and motion. Material refers to static design elements such as typography, color palette and shapes. When designing an interface, one must be logical about the placement of these elements. In the real world, if you place something on top of another, it makes sense that one is on top, the other is on bottom. By referencing these simple laws of physics when designing, we can provide interfaces that users can comprehend, and predict.

Motion refers to the way digital interfaces animate and interact with the user. The laws of physics say that if you throw a ball into the air, it starts fast, slows as it hits its peak, then suddenly falls again. Interfaces should interact the same way. Animations should make sense and be intuitive to the user.

The proper combination of material and motion will create an intuitive and meaningful digital experience. As brands strengthen their digital design systems and guides, they will continue to improve the experience their users have across all mediums. And as users become more familiar and fond of a brand’s digital experience, brand trust and loyalty will increase.

JarrodStanley_1Jarrod Stanley, Senior Digital Designer

 

 

AndrewBaker3Andrew Baker, Senior Experience Developer

 

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Understanding the omnichannel.

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Like many marketing technology buzzwords, the omnichannel sounds cool, but it doesn’t really tell the whole story. Here’s a brief guide to getting ready for it and some thoughts on how it will evolve into the future.

Personally, I prefer the word “personalized channel.” It certainly doesn’t sound as cool as omnichannel, but it better describes what this is going to look like in 2015, and beyond. After attending Dreamforce this year (Salesforce’s massive, and I do mean massive, sales conference), it’s easy to see how the large CRM platforms are evolving into personalized communications platforms. They are integrating everything — from CRM, to social, to websites, to chat, to mobile communications. They’re swallowing up anything communications related and integrating it within a single technology platform. These platforms enable marketers to clearly track an individual’s interactions, at any touch point, with any device, and personalize the return experience.

You might think that’s creepy, but in the new reality of 2015 and the future, we will be more time deprived than ever. Most of us will start to welcome this concept once it becomes a reality. Just think about it: something that can figure out your needs before you’ve even identified them

Marketing and selling products hyper-targeted, automated-marketing campaigns will become the norm. Consumers are already expecting this from companies.
Wondering what to do and where to start? Sign up for a CRM platform and empower your team to learn marketing automation. Stop making excuses and just start doing it. Research and understand the large CRM platforms such as Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, IBM or Hubspot. Then take a close look at the automation services they recently bought, like Pardot, Exact Target, Silverpop, and Eloqua. If you don’t have the time or resources, hire someone or find a partner to do it for you and collaborate with them. Either way, start now.

My prediction is that the large CRM/social platforms are also going to engulf the automated-ad platforms and all of this will collide into one “smart marketing platform”.  So, media buying, social, search, and CRM will have a new look and feel in a marketer’s toolbox. They will become one sophisticated, touchpoint-rich experience planning system, operating on a 1:1 basis. In 2014, this “personalized channel” will begin to come to life.

As marketers, we better start getting geeky because it’s time for “Revenge of the Nerds 2.”

“The Revenge of the Nerds 1″ already happened with the explosion of the Internet, web 2.0 and social, and if you thought the first one was a challenge, you’d better hold onto your pocket protectors this time around.

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David Stewart, VP Interactive, Karsh Hagan

 

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Great People. Good Food.

IMG_0639Have fun. Make money. Do good work. The motto we live by at Karsh Hagan. This time of year we add to that list:

Be thankful. Eat good food!

Everyone has their favorite Thanksgiving dish that they just can’t live without. For some it’s the Green Bean Casserole, and for others it’s the Cranberry Sauce shaped like a can—yum! Whatever your favorite dish might be, the one sure sign you’ve made a fan favorite is an empty dish.

Our Karsh Hagan family had our annual Thanksgiving Pocluck dinner yesterday. While everyone made tantalizingly tasty dishes, a few were reduced to crumbs in minutes. What better way to spread the holiday cheer than to share a fan-favorite recipe with you?

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Megan Niklawski’s Spanakopita:

Ingredients:

  • Feta – 1lb
  • Cottage cheese – 1lb
  • Butter – 3-4 sticks for brushing filo dough
  • Frozen spinach – 4 packages, thawed
  • Green onions – 3 bunches chopped
  • Phyllo (filo) dough – 1 package. (Make sure you get the sheets)
  • Eggs – 8 beaten
  • Parsley, optional

Steps:

  1. Melt 2 sticks of butter over med-low heat
  2. In a large bowl mix together spinach, feta, cottage cheese, onions, parsley, eggs and some salt and pepper
  3. Brush the empty pan with butter
  4. From here on out, you layer a sheet of filo, then butter, then layer another sheet, and so on. Each sheet should hang over the sides of the pan 1 inch (to fold over on top of the filling, once filled)
  5. Do this 6-7 times until you don’t have any exposed pan, pour the spinach mixture into the pan.
  6. Fold over the extra filo (as a group, not one by one) that was hanging off the sides. Butter after each fold.
  7. Butter the sides of the filo as well (in between the filo and sides of pan) so that it starts to turn into a big pocket.
  8. Layer more filo on top. At this point a lot of the filling should be covered by the extra filo. Cover the exposed filling.
  9. The width of one sheet should pretty much cover the exposed filling, but the length will be too long. So position the sheet to cover the filling (with the remaining sheet hanging off the side.
  10. Butter the sheet that’s over the filling, then fold the extra sheet on top of itself, and butter it. Repeat, switching sides, for another 6, 7, maybe 8 times.
  11. At the end, you just want to have a nice, big, secure, buttery spinach pocket.
  12. Once done, put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes
  13. Take it out and score it, if you want, to help with cutting once it’s done (do NOT cut before you bake)
  14. Bake in preheated oven at 375 for about 30 minutes. I start checking at 20 minutes. The top should be golden. If it starts to get too brown, cover with foil and continue baking.
  15. Let sit for about an hour, if possible, before cutting.
  16. Devour!
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