News


And the Winner Is…

The Winners of The 2013 W3 Awards have been announced by the International Academy of the Visual Arts. Receiving over 4,000 entries, the W3 Awards honors outstanding Websites, Web Marketing, Web Video, & Mobile Apps created by some of the best interactive agencies, designers, and creators worldwide. o2 Group is proud to announce two of our websites were honored with the Silver Award in the Overall Website categories of Fashion and Government.  

“We were amazed at the caliber and quality of work we received this year. Our winners continue to push the envelope of Internet creativity and web design, and it is gratifying to see such great work from the smallest agencies to the biggest firms” said Linda Day, the director of the IAVA. “On behalf of the over 500 members of The International Academy of the Visual Arts, we are honored to recognize our winners as they continue to set a high standard of excellence for Web development.”

Below, please read a little about our winning websites – The City of Golden (Government) and True Ink LLC (Fashion).

City of Golden Website Redesign

Golden Colorado is a destination city for many reasons, but their website was poorly organized and built on a platform making it difficult for city staff to update content on their own. o2 Group helped organize and run an assessment of city staff, business owners, residents and visitors to identify what people wanted in the new website. The new custom design holds true to Golden’s old west heritage and focuses on the Live, Work and Play themes. Modern technology including a custom document center, “mega-menu” navigation and a custom, easy to use WordPress implementation make the site easy to use for site visitors and easy to manage for city staff. The homepage includes current news and events, weather, stunning photography and resource quick-links making this a destination site for anyone coming to Live, Work or Play in this great city. To visit the City of Golden site, please go to www.cityofgolden.net.

 

True Ink, LLC Website Design and Development

The True Ink website was built with the intention of adding a creative spin to the clothing line. The website represents the essence of the brand – hip, casual and comfortable. Some of the key features include a responsive design platform so users can visit the site from any browser or mobile device, continuous scrolling which allows users to see the bulk of the content without having to click to another page; and to encourage interaction, an ‘inspiration board’ where users can create a mood messages or inspirational phrases to share with friends.  

Website Wins at SAVVY Awards

Each year, for over 25 years, 3CMA (City-County Communications & Marketing Association) presents the Savvy Awards for city and county governments. The Savvy Awards “recognizes outstanding local government achievements in communications, public-sector marketing and citizen-government relationships.”

This year, we are proud to announce that our client, the City of Golden was nominated for a Savvy award in the Digital Interactive – Overall Website category. Upon attending the ceremony in Scottsdale, AZ the city was given the Award of Excellence in the nominated category. The judges loved the website and sum it up quite simply: “Gorgeous new site…made me want to visit! Great homepage layout, and love the ‘Live, Work, Play’ theme.”

We are very proud of this website design and build, and happy to see the hard work of our company, along with the wonderful staff at the City of Golden receive some recognition. Congrats everyone! Now go check out the website to see what all the excitement is about!

 City of Golden Homepage

From the Detroit Bankruptcy to Obamacare implementation; why your law firm should leverage media interest in major business and legal situations – and seven steps to actionably do it

By Matt Yemma

Law360, New York (August 23, 2013, 5:27 PM ET) ‐‐
The news came across the wire late on a summer Thursday. Most of the New York City professional services world was mentally, if not physically, headed toward their weekend plans. But the news was enough to make most attorneys turn their heads: Detroit, the once great Motor City, had filed for bankruptcy. Chapter 9, to be specific, a not particularly common piece of the bankruptcy code.

While the news wasn’t entirely unexpected, it was still a shock to
the system. Detroit officially became the largest municipal
bankruptcy in the history of the United States, and by Friday
morning the story was leading the news cycle. CNBC, Bloomberg TV, and even the TODAY Show were covering the story. Then, with the added twist of the city filing a chapter 9, and not chapter 11, many questions arose about the feasibility of the filing. Given the pension obligations Detroit has – could they really just tell firefighters who had served 30 years, “sorry, we can’t help you?” Doesn’t the Michigan Constitution prevent that?

With such interest from the media, and many questions to be answered, the situation provided an opportunity for bankruptcy attorneys at various law firms to provide counsel to members of the press on important matters.

“Legal experts who can translate complex subjects for broad media
audiences perform a valuable public service,” noted Don Waisanen, Professor of Communication at Baruch College’s Graduate School of Public Affairs. “Especially with stories like an entire city undergoing bankruptcy.”

One growing law firm, with a well known bankruptcy practice, advised media of the availability of an expert; a bankruptcy attorney from the Los Angeles office that has experience working with Chapter 9’s. The results were significant. After a hectic day of interviews, the firm had secured placements for the attorney in stories with NBC News, ABC News, Chicago Tribune, Reuters News, The Guardian, both the US and UK version, and more. After 24 hours placements had been syndicated globally, including in the China Post.

The moral of the story: when these big business or legal mass media events occur, such as the Detroit Bankruptcy, or when indictments are handed down in the SAC Capital case, or a key piece of Obamacare is instituted, legal sources from all walks of the legal world are in demand by the press.

But how do you actionably promote a bankruptcy attorney or practice with the media? Here are seven steps that will help any law firm or practice group or attorney ‐‐

  1. TIMING is crucial. As soon as the news breaks begin pitching reporters, or attorneys should let media contacts know they are available for comment.
  2. THE PITCH is the next big step. Pitches should offer a designated attorney spokesperson as an expert source, on whatever the story of the day is. For 
example, on the Detroit bankruptcy story, one should pitch bankruptcy attorneys who are familiar with and have experience in municipal bankruptcies. If that attorney is very quotable and looks good on camera, that’s a plus.
  3. PITCH DISTRIBUTION then becomes the issue. The pitches need to reach the reporters, producers, and editors, who are covering the designated story, otherwise they are essentially useless. Usually premade lists will be compiled of reporters who cover different topics, such as health care, and their contact information. So if you’re pitching a health care attorney about a new Obamacare implementation, the reporter should be covering Obamacare and health care overall. Pitches should be distributed via email.
  4. FOLLOWING UP then becomes crucial. Typically reporters, producers, and editors, especially at A‐list publications, are swamped with pitches. It’s crucial to call or email again to make sure the reporter sees your pitch. It also gives you another opportunity to promote your attorney.
  5. ARRANGING INTERVIEWS then becomes the hardest task. Even the most skilled secretary may have trouble with which the pace of this scheduling moves. On fast paced stories, like Detroit, reporters will want to speak with an attorney ASAP, like in 5 minutes ASAP. It’s important to make sure they connect with an attorney, if it’s logistically feasible.
  6. TRACKING then becomes your next hurdle. A good tip is to send a quick, “how’d it go with Marissa?” email to a reporter who interviewed your source. Also set Google alerts and keep an eye on publications that conducted interviews with your source. Tracking services like Factiva are also useful.
  7. CONTINUE EVERYTHING, depending on your specific firms goals and objectives, but continue pitching and tracking and following up to begin a cyclical pattern of having your attorneys placed in targeted media. The goal is to get to the point where reporters are seeking out your attorneys for comment and insight when news breaks.

As a field producer at CNBC noted on the day of Detroit’s bankruptcy, “Your source was spot on. She helped us answer a question that we thought we had gotten wrong on‐air earlier. When the time arises we’re always looking for legal sources, so keep them coming,” he continued from a cell phone in Detroit.

Whether it’s a CNBC TV spot, or an American Airlines in flight magazine blurb, these large legal and business stories will always present a media opportunity for attorneys and practice groups to gain credibility, exposure, and get in front of potential clients and new lines of business.

All of this ties into the larger goal of marketing a practice group and a law firm. Many attorneys and firms have traditionally been reluctant to engage with the media because of the perceived risks of being misquoted or taken out of context. They choose instead to limit their marketing to direct client contact or possibly advertising.

But by intelligently and strategically using media relations, a firm or practice group can earn high‐value visibility, credibility and approachability, which all add up to increasing new clients at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing and advertising.

Matt Yemma is a Partner at o2 Group Public Relations in New York, NY. o2 Group counsels legal and financial services clients on public and media relations. You can visit o2 Group o2group.com and Matt can be reached at matt@o2group.com

True Ink Site Launch

o2 Group just launched a new website – True Ink Fashion! The True Ink website was built with the intention of adding a creative spin to the clothing line. The website represents the essence of the brand – hip, casual and comfortable. Some of the key features include a responsive design platform so users can visit the site from any browser or mobile device, continuous scrolling which allows users to see the bulk of the content without having to click to another page; and to encourage interaction, an ‘inspiration board’ where users can create a mood messages or inspirational phrases to share with friends. 

True Ink is a lifestyle brand. The concept behind the brand is both to inspire and remind people about life lessons. True Ink’s message is simple – to bring to life what people are wearing. The clean look and understated designs offer a fresh feel that appeals to many different age groups and generations. In the future, the line will extend to outerwear and cross into fashion accessories. True Ink creator Ray Edwards Jr. is a Professional Boxer, Entrepreneur and NFL Free Agent. “I wanted to tap into another one of my many professional talents, and design a comfortable T-shirt line that you can wear with buoyancy and confidence; a t-shirt that is both fashion-forward and comfortable.” states Edwards. This brand offers a variety of stylish t-shirts that can be dressed up or down.

Take a look at some screen shots from the new website, or visit it yourself

 

Women In Technology

The 2013 Women in Technology (WIT) luncheon was a huge success. Hosted in the beautiful Hudson Gardens in Littleton, women from all over Denver and Colorado attended this year’s event. The Colorado Technology Association (CTA) hosts WIT each year to bring focus and togetherness to the powerful community of Colorado’s women in technology careers.

This year technology celebrities included Teresa Taylor, who presented her book, The Balance Myth; Morag Barrett spoke about relationship building and the amazing Tonya Clement spoke about her climb up Mount Everest. With all of these inspiring and wonderful speakers, it was hard not to enjoy the event.

However, our Events manager took it to the next level with amazing layout and audio/video production work. This was a unique environment as the event was held in a very large tent on a warm summer day, right on the grounds of the garden. The space was set up in a circle, with tables and seating revolved around the center of the room where the speakers stood. This was a great and effective way to build on the community aspect of over 300 women in one room! This was the largest outcome to date and  we can’t wait to see what’s to come next year. 

Thank you everyone for your support! See below for some photos.

#DEMOgala Recap

Each year o2 Group works with the Colorado Technology Association (CTA) to put together the APEX Awards and DEMOgala. This was the 8th year of the gala and it was the biggest turn out to date! DEMO strives to bring together the best new ideas and start up companies to show the Colorado community what these innovative technology entrepreneurs are doing, and to honor and celebrate their accomplishments. Start ups and established businesses of all sizes gain recognition from peers and access to connections that lead to success and growth. 

o2 Group is proud to be associated with CTA and DEMOgala. As a technology-focused company we were able to have a booth at DEMO and be the production sponsor. The event went seamlessly, and our event crew did a great job putting together a memorable APEX awards dinner and day full of DEMOnstrations and info sessions.

As a new addition this year, o2 Group offered live streaming for each segmented “breakout” session. With so many great topics to choose from, we didin’t want people to miss out on valuable information. Even though the event is over, you can still see each of the DEMO sessions

Below we’ve included a photo of the initial stages of the event setup. To see “after” photos of how the venue transformed, visit our Facebook page!

Responsive Design and Tablets

The tablet market is expected to grow to nearly 500 million by 2015 according to Business Insider, that’s only 6 years after the first tablet launched. 

Apple’s iPad accounts for 68% of market (in sales) according to International Data Corp. A quote from Tim Cook, Apple CEO says it all:  ”iPad has 68% market share, but makes up 91% of tablet Web traffic. I don’t know what these other tablets are doing!” Other players include Google Nexus and Kindle Fire. Even Hyundai has a tablet now! Apple is rumored to be building a 7.85-inch iPad to add to its collection of 9.7″ iPads. Google’s Nexus has a 7″ tablet as does the Kindle Fire. So it seems that screens are getting both bigger (TV’s/Monitors) and smaller (phones/tablets) at the same time. 

So how do you keep up with all the sizing? It certainly dosen’t make sense to develop many different site versions. User experience (UX) is the underlying goal. While a mobile site is often a good choice (especially when designed to show ‘on the go’ information), it is not a catch all. Since there are no set sizes for tablets or mobile devices, it can be difficult to design for a tablet or mobile device only. Responsive design allows your website to adapt regardless of whether the user is viewing on their iPhone, Kindle Fire, laptop or desktop, etc. It bridges the gap between desktop and mobile, and ensures a positive user experience across the board. Some good examples of responsive websites include us, the Boston Globe and Smashing Magazine. Take a look across your devices and consider whether a responsive design is right for your website!

Cheers! -Dana

 

Responsive Design. Say What?

Responsive design is a big topic these days. Instead of addressing it in one long post, we’re going to take a few posts to go over some of the essential pieces. As you may know, responsive design is essentially creating a flexible design that adapts (based on information priority) to fit a range of screen sizes – from full size desktop down to mobile phones. We feel some of the essential pieces to responsive design are: new tablets, cost efficiency, UI and competitive advantage. We’ll cover these topics, and possibly more, in posts to come. So stick with us to learn the importance of responsive design and how it can benefit your website!

In the meantime, you can learn more about responsive design from this case study about the Boston Globe, or by downloading A Book Apart. You should also check out our site, www.o2group.com on some different devices, as we recently went responsive!

Rethinking the Traditional Blog and Website

I recently read and reposted an article, This is Not a Blog Post, about the changing landscape of blogs to article-based sites, and vice versa. After reading, I began to think about blogs and websites: what keeps them separate, what binds them together, and what they mean for businesses.

In the world of constant communication, internet, and a general population of tech-savvy people and easy-to-create websites and blogs, the line that divides a blog from a website is blurring. On a daily basis I visit many blogs and websites but rarely stop to think wether the site I am on is considered a blog or a website. I’d first like to look at this topic formally. In order to get a more complete idea of a blog and a website, in the traditional sense, I pulled the definition of each from three separate dictionaries to further understand the definitions:

Website:

  • Dictionary.com: A connected group of pages on the World Wide Web regarded as a single entity, usually maintained by one person or organization and developed to a single topic or several closely related topics.
  • Merriam-Webster: a group of World Wide Web pages usually containing hyperlinks to each other and made available online by an individual, company, educational institution, government, or organization.
  • New Oxford American Dictionary: a location connected to the Internet that maintains one or more pages on the World Wide Web.

Blog:

  • Dictionary.com: A journal written online and accessible to users of the internet.
  • Merriam-Webster: a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer; also : the contents of such a site.
  • New Oxford American Dictionary: a Web site on which an individual or group of users produces an ongoing narrative.

After reading the definitions, I got a few things:

  • A blog is widely considered an interactive journal
  • A blog is often maintained by one or more people, with regular updates
  • A website operates under an official capacity
  • A website has multiple pages
  • A website covers closely related content (say, a brand)

All this being said, I feel that there are very few clear distinguishers between blogs and websites. Typically, I see blogs that are extensions of websites (i.e. the site’s less formal, more personable, and more varietal version of itself).

In many ways, I can understand why people would choose to switch over to a more manageable program such as wordpress, squarespace, or tumblr to fulfill their web needs. When it comes to hard-coded websites and proprietary content management systems, it can be difficult when only one person is capable of managing it. Even more so, continually changing content is important for SEO and site traffic.

You may look at a site like Victors & Spoils and know that it’s a website. However, you will notice that it’s single, scrolling page is typical to that of a blog. So you could call it a blog because of its format, but the content says otherwise… the core content is rarely updated, and purely about the company and the work they’ve done. And then, of course, you have a more traditional and recognizable blog such as a cooking blog like JoytheBaker.com. This has the common characteristics of a blog – personal journaling, comments, hyperlinks and an ongoing narrative.

When you boil it down, does it really matter? Being forced to classify may not be necessary. The content is what matters. Many websites are focused around a sole purpose of educating consumers and sharing relevant information. Even more, as mentioned above, an active website is more likely to draw and stronger SEO rating and generate more traffic. So do you have a blog or a website? And, do you care?

I’d be curious to know your thoughts on this.

-Dana

ABMP Redesign Launched

o2 Group has just launched the revamped Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) website. ABMP wanted to redesign their site to give it a fresh look with modern colors and clean lines. The new design has a stronger focus on clear navigation to engage the key audiences - Practitioners, Students, Educators and the Public. In addition to a new look, we’ve also integrated more in depth social media and video integrations. 

Visit www.abmp.com to check out the new design and let us know what you think!