Friday, February 15, 2019

Week 4A - Aesthetics, Design & Branding

     This week we are going over the importance of branding and how first impressions affect people and their decisions. This is a very interesting topic to me because we all make subconscious decisions that aren't obvious to us and trying to understand this psychology is fascinating.

     The first website I chose that needs improvement is At first glance it is a vibrant and colorful website that seems simple to navigate. However, there are many issues including: the logo, bad use of pictures and graphics, the header, and the fact that I can't find any nutrition facts. Almost immediately it's obvious that the header doesn't snap to the top of the page which looks unprofessional. The logo looks a little like a broadway title; it should be fun, young and vibrant but instead it has a theatrical font with an ugly brown, sort of tie-dye penny in the middle. I understand the idea behind the use of color-blocking to try to organize sections like rows on a table, but the content doesn't flow and looks piece-meal with random graphics. Why is there a large banner image showing kids playing with play-doh? Also, the footer has this weird child ribbon design that doesn't go with anything else.
     To improve on the pennyjuice website, I would change the logo to be younger and more playful so the brand looks like it belongs on that website and the logo should be more attractive to kids. Second I would use better imagery and graphics; I realized that there weren't any images of kids drinking any juice which is strange since that's the product! I would make the website cleaner, use appropriate imagery and also make a stronger sales pitch as to why someone should buy the juice in the first place. The product itself needs some help with branding and packaging as well; the bottles that the concentrate comes in looks like bottles that I would see out of a warehouse or chemistry class.

     The second website that I chose for improvement was Wow this website is a blast from the past, it looks like late 90's or early 2000's in design, there is clutter everywhere poor graphics and imagery and quite frankly I'm not sure what I am even looking at. It took me a minute to actually figure out that this woman is in to energy healing of some sort. There are links all over the place and I think the majority of them are affiliate marketing links which ties in to some weird affiliate marketing instruction or seminar that she offers, I'm still not sure. There are broken internal links to some graphics as well which doesn't help this website out one bit. I'm scared to keep clicking around actually.
     This website looks like an affiliate marketing trap, there are external links all over the place and there are links to learn how to sell with affiliate marketing too! This is a quote from her "About" page: "Jami has practiced conscious interior design for more than thirty years and her special talent for color has become her trademark." If this woman has a special talent, it isn't web design. In order for this website to work, it needs to be heavily revamped with a clear message of who this woman is, what services she offers that isn't part of affiliate marketing and a cleaner website that is functional.

     One of the websites that I think are doing things right is You can easily tell what the brand is and what they do right away and the website is clean, simple and functional. The video graphic on the front page is a nice touch and makes the brand current and more engaging. Since the site is nice and you can tell that they put some thought in to it, I get a little sense of trust that they do things right and so I would book an appointment with someone. It's harder to start to like a brand when you have a bad first impression than to dislike a brand over a good first impression so I think they did a good job here.
     The other website that I like is Everyone knows the brand, it is a household name so they don't have to go out of their way to try to convert you in to a lover of Toyota because you probably already made that decision before visiting the website. The site is clean, simple to navigate and they show what's going on in the company beyond cars which I think is important. In my opinion they could have done a little more with graphics to make the site more engaging and more technology-focused in order to try to bring in some younger customers.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Week 3B - Communication, Business & Consumer


  1. Costco
  3. Facebook and Pinterest
  4. The Pinterest page looks like they have a quite a few boards and hundreds of pins but they only have 41,255 followers which I don't think is very much for a national chain like them. The Facebook page has 2,029,638 followers and their latest post for Valentine's Day has 11 comments, 14 shares and 9.3K views. Given the number of followers, I don't think this is very many.
  5. Facebook last post: 12:15 PM today 02/11/2019. I don't have a Pinterest account so I can't see the latest post there.
  6. Costco's current use of social media is conservative. It looks like their main platform is Facebook but they mostly post a hot or popular item advertisement to try to gain interest for people to try. They do post about twice a day and it looks like they do have a social media team that responds to important questions. There is a video post about a pork tenderloin recipe that so far has 140 comments, 1,541 shares and 707K shares, which is by far the best shared and viewed post that I've seen that is recent. Maybe they should do more recipes...? Just a thought, Costco!
2. Taco Bell
  1. Taco Bell
  3. Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram
  4. Twitter looks like it is used a lot, they post every 1 to 2 days with good content, with 1.9M followers and 791K tweets. Facebook looks similar in content with 9,915,131 followers. The YouTube page only has 73,970 followers and they try to make it young and exciting with some interesting videos. The Instagram account has 1.2M followers and 1096 posts with young, trendy and vibrant content that looks pretty cool.
  5. Instagram's latest post was 01/31/2019. YouTube's latest post that isn't a commercial was 02/05/2019. The latest Facebook and Twitter post was today 02/11/2019, the same post.
  6. Taco Bell's use of social media is very current, young and trendy. It seems to me that they are trying to stay cool and relevant with the younger high school and college crowd which makes sense. A lot of their content looks like 90's throwback in graphic design which is in right now.
3. Coke
  1. Coke
  3. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram
  4. Their Facebook has 107,480,300 followers and it looks like they post 1-2 times a month without a post this month so far. Twitter has 3.33M followers and 259K tweets, with their latest tweet being 7 hours ago. Their YouTube has 2,986,541 subscribers that features videos in different languages. Their Instagram has 2.6M followers with 123 posts which I thought surprising and I thought they would have a lot more posts in Instagram.
  5. Facebook latest post was 01/24/2019, Twitter latest post was 7 hours ago today, YouTube latest post was 15 hours ago today and Instagram latest post was 02/03/2019.
  6. Coke's social media is full of spreading positive and inclusive messages that hope to inspire tolerance, love and other positive vibes. I like how they aren't pushing marketing campaigns in your face and instead are creating a brand personality all its own.
4. National Geographic
  1. National Geographic
  3. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat
  4. Their Facebook has 45,236,487 followers and they post several times a day. Their Twitter has 22.5M followers and 47.8K tweets so far. Their Instagram has 99.8M followers! Wow! They have several posts a day on there.
  5. Their latest Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts were within the last 1 hour or so.
  6. NatGeo's social media presence is larger than I thought. I enjoy some of their TV content and I love their wildlife conservation and research mission so this makes me happy. Their content is mostly posts of professional photographs and some videos with some social/political stuff thrown in as well.Their Facebook also has a bot that pops up automatically to talk to you and test your knowledge I guess.
5. Shopify
  1. Shopify
  3. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Snapchat
  4. Their Facebook has 3,362,324 followers and they post about every few days. Their Twitter has 244K followers and 28.8K tweets so far and they tweet sporadically, probably every few days on average. Their YouTube has 130,315 subscribers with a video probably once a week on average right now. Their has 275K followers and 2,632 posts. Their LinkedIn has 82,530 followers. Their  Pinterest has 68,304 followers. Their Google+ page has 28,164 followers and the last post on there was in 2016 but Google is getting rid of it anyway.
  5. All of their main platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube have sporadic posts that probably average once every week or so but that's just a good guess, with their latest post being on Instagram on 02/09/2019.
  6. Shopify's social media presence is interesting. Their strategy is kind of like Entrepreneur Magazine where they post new and upcoming businesses that they like and marketing strategies and interesting tidbits. I'm seeing a lot of complaints on their Facebook about their platform not working constantly and they do reply to most people.
My Review
     Ok, so in summary I'm seeing that the largest platform being utilized right now is Facebook, with Twitter and Instagram juggling the 2nd spot depending on the business. I'm not surprised by this because of the sheer size of Facebook and how long that platform has been around. It is interesting to see the different social media strategies that are being used, from the ultra-conservative and ad-centric approach that is Costco to the trendy and young approach that is Taco Bell.
    So far I think I see more people that are following trendier brands like Coke, Taco Bell and even National Geographic (nor nature nerds) that don't necessarily plug an advertisement every post but offer messages that are important to the brand or organization and they just use their brand as the backdrop to the mission.  For businesses that are more service-related like Costco and Shopify, people may follow them to keep up with what's new but on their platforms I see more people complaining and trying to communicate with them about their services/business.
     I am not surprised to see that Facebook, Twitter or Instagram are the three biggest platforms being used but I am surprised to see some of these businesses use Snapchat, Pinterest, and YouTube. I am a little older so I don't quite understand the Snapchat thing but Pinterest is old and out of style and YouTube is a different platform that these businesses haven't understood. If I wanted to watch an advertisement I guess I would go to YouTube but otherwise I don't see why I would follow any of them.

Blogs I commented on are:
Susan Sullivans,
Sierria Gilardi,
Austin Poynter,


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Week 3A - Communication Between Businesses & Customers

Have you ever experienced difficulty communicating with a business?

     In the past I have always found it difficult to communicate with businesses, no matter what sector or field that the business is in.  You would have to call and hope that you will at least reach a person to talk to and then you would have to hope that the customer service rep either is competent enough to understand the situation or hope that the rep even cares. You would get the dreaded phrase, "Okay, I will pass that along, thank you for calling." Oh please!
     If you are like me then you hate talking on the phone because the call quality is never that clear and I don't like being put on hold. So originally I liked the idea of the customer service email but often times responses can take days and I feel like you're just emailing a distant customer service galaxy where not one, not two and sometimes not three replies will get you anywhere. I might as well take out my frustrations on a donut and forget the whole thing.
     Of course, there are people that complain just to complain and every company has their policies and procedures but I think most people don't make a fuss about things unless it's worth their time.

Does social media make it easier to get noticed or get your problem solved?

     I would say yes and no and it may depend on the media platform. If the review is on yelp or google where a local business gets a direct review then I believe that social media helps to get noticed or solve a problem because that information is now public about a specific business location. If you start tweeting or posting on FB about a business and it doesn't gain any traction then I would say that social media probably won't help you there. Although some companies are really good about posting responses. For some reason Wendy's comes to mind as a company that has a great social media presence and you may get noticed when talking about them.

Have you ever had a positive experience communicating with a business through social media?

     I have never communicated with a business through social media. There was one time where I searched high and low for a place to leave feedback for a Sonic Burger joint because the teenage worker forgot to put a burger patty on my burger! I'm still salty over that... I didn't notice until I got home after a long day at work and I was looking forward to biting in to a juicy burger and all I got was bread, lettuce and cheese. The only thing I could find was a corporate email so I left a nasty note there and they apologized, provided an explanation of the end result of an investigation and mailed me a coupon. I guess that was a good response.

If it was your own business on social media, how would you respond to positive or negative comments?

     If my business was on social media, I would definitely say thank you to every positive comment and maybe plug a small marketing strategy like an invitation to an upcoming event or something. If the comment was negative I would still say thank you because every one likes to feel appreciated and I would offer a solution to the problem or say that I will learn from that mistake or something to that effect. Sometimes people post negative reviews about the business even though the post or problem has nothing to do with the business such as maybe they didn't like the people they were next to. In that case my response may be a little sassy and you can't please everyone.

Describe what made your experience negative or positive.

     For me, every time a business goes beyond the initial point of contact (phone call, email, post, etc.) to solve the problem or show me that they took me seriously is a positive experience. I don't expect to be put on a golden throne but at least show me you, as a business, care a little. That may mean a subsequent email or reply to a post that contains a meaningful answer or solution.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Week 2B - Blogs I Commented On

These are the blogs that I commented on for week 2:

Sierra Giraldi,
Francesca Haman,
Austin Poynter,
Susan Sullivans,

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Week 2A - Overview of Social Media

Which social media platforms seem geared towards personal use? Why do you think so?

   I think the three largest social media platforms that are more focused on personal use is Instagram, YouTube (in a different way) and Facebook. Instagram and Facebook at their cores are really similar in that they both have in-app messengers to talk with friends and they allow for photo and video sharing. Facebook is still one of the best ways to keep track of and stay in touch with friends and family and Instagram has largely avoided the political and privacy plague that Facebook has become, which is why there may be a trend of declining use by younger people and a trend of increasing use by older people within Facebook. I think Instagram still seems more personal because it hasn't been commercialized like Facebook but that may change since Instagram just launched shoppable links in 2017.

   YouTube is a different animal but in my opinion, there is an increasing trend of young people posting videos for personal use because they want to share their stories in a way that pictures and text just can't do or they feel more fulfilled in life to have followers who comment on and who request different videos from them. Yes, there are some YouTubers who make an incredible amount of money posting videos but in today's ever-evolving world of communication where people talk less face-to-face and talk more through electronic devices and social media, it only feels more natural to "talk" to their followers through videos and comments. For other users, YouTube may be the best way to vent their feelings and emotions.

Which ones seem to work better for business? What makes them seem more suitable to business use?

   The social media platforms that work better for business are Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Facebook is an evolving social media giant and has become far too commercialized in recent years with the addition of ads, product recommendations and Facebook business pages but it seems to work since they continue to make billions of dollars each year. Since Facebook has the largest number of active users on the planet, it only makes sense that they are the best place for business and content can be shared, liked, commented on and re-posted so easily. The platform can also be a tool for YouTubers who want to reach out to other platforms. I only include YouTube for business possibilities because there are so many people who make money on that platform that have turned their personal lives and their hobbies into a business, and I think we are more adapt to watching an ad or two on a video rather than clicking on an advertisement. Twitter has become a great way to connect larger businesses with their customers that allow the business to listen to their customers more easily but I don't think there's very much income generated through that platform when compared to Facebook or YouTube.

Do any seem to work well for both? How are they used differently?

   As I mentioned before, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are the top platforms that have personal users and business users. Facebook is better when it comes to marketing strategies that include targeted ads and business pages on the platform. Instagram is sort of a passive platform that can be good for businesses that are in design or art where images can be appealing and tells a product or lifestyle story such as house or cake decorators or fashion designers, etc. YouTube is all about video content; besides being used for personal life-sharing videos, businesses such as educational or art-related companies that teach or train people rely on video content on this platform.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Week 1A - My Template

Why I chose this template

I chose the "Travel" template because I like the idea of having a great background image and the transparent text boxes are awesome. However, I'm not sure how the background image will look like once there are more posts so I'm not sure... it may change. I wish there was a way of adjusting the transparency of the posts. I'm a big data guy so I like to read about stocks and the mechanisms of the stock market, hence the Wall St. picture!

For the color I chose a nice slate grey which is a good masculine color without it being too dark. I'm still playing around with fonts (I wish there were more choices) but I'm trying to go for a masculine font that's clean.

Anyway, I'm hoping that this template isn't too boring since it looks all grey for now. If you think I need add/change something, please let me know! Thank you and I hope you enjoy my blog!


Week 4A - Aesthetics, Design & Branding

     This week we are going over the importance of branding and how first impressions affect people and their decisions. This is a very inte...