Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sometimes a brand needs a hero

Empty space ads, an innovative ad network service, scans a site and appends additional banner space to a website to increase advertiser's reach and content provider's revenue. I was thinking an owl would make a good logo - as in a knowing seeker that searches for empty space. The client was thinking Batman. And so, a hero was born, the Empty Space Girl!

The logo itself was devised to represent the contrasting metaphor of the negative space in the word "empty" then shown filled with the word "space". The color pallet was devised to create a unique differentiator for trade shows, networking events and of course, ads.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Twitter for Business

Twitter is successfully being used from pop culture icons, well known athletes, businesses to every day folks. But what is to say for twitters true usage rate? There are around 6 Million users that have signed up for twitter as of August of this year. This equates to 3.8 of all internet usage. So what does that mean for you?

Twitter is expected to at least double within a year to an estimated 12.1 Million users. For brands to understand this power and available accessibility, it is at the least, very powerful. This mean "brands", you have the opportunity to search a database of millions of users and find out if they are talking about your company, service, product. If customers have issue with your service, believe me, they will tell the world. Stop the fire before it catches on and show how responsive your company is to it's customers.

What about using twitter for business? A novel idea, perhaps. Out of 6 Million people, someone is interested in your product or service. Send DM's to your people on your twitter list and let me know how successful this is for you. We want to know what kind of success you are having with any tips we are planning to give weekly. Our blog is not a daily blog. We will report on the most important information relating to digital marketing, iPhone marketing and social media tips.

Let me know how this works for you.

Friday, September 11, 2009

PPMG Featured in Fuel Your Branding

Fuel Your Branding is a great online magazine about branding and design. We were recently interviewed by them talking about using digital media to enhance your brand. Here's an excerpt:

"FYB: What about when the CEO wants to to see the numbers?
Jason: The problem with brand marketing on the web is that people want ROI. They want to see clicks that lead to conversions. It’s incredibly hard to quantify. Everyone wants a million hits on YouTube. Anything less is somehow not acceptable. They immediately want high traffic and what they often get is a slow curve of overall acceptance and awareness.

There is a choice every company makes; to be a direct marketing company or a branded company. If you want to be a branded company that does direct marketing you can. But you can’t be a direct marketing company that attempts branding. The brand has to come first."

Read the full article here:

On a related note, we also received a mention in Techvibes in regards to our new partnership with a great dev house, Appnovation.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Trusted Places : Social Media in Europe

Trusted Places is a community website based in the United Kingdom. It is a forum for user-generated reviews of neighborhood pubs, services, and restaurants. Trusted Places came to Perfect Pixels Media Group because of our expertise in Social Media and Branding in order to help Trusted Places create a better user experience overall.

PPMG first spent time in a discovery phase where we came to understand Trusted Places’ audience, business goals, and the competitive space. From this we were able to work from an informed basis and we were able to effectively evaluate the registration process, create a refined information architecture, recommend A/B testing, and extend the brand.

We first engaged creating in a moodboard. This excellent tool allowed us to show Trusted Places a visual language that would articulate the brand going forward. Trusted Places readily bought into our vision because the Discovery phase allowed us to quickly show Trusted Places’ value through images, iconography and recommended messaging. From the moodboard, we were able to tweak the logo in a way that users would still relate to the old branding, but would emotionally connect with the new direction. This was also a basis for the design, value proposition, and message extensions.

PPMG is always cognizant of our clients’ budgets. In the spirit of offering the most value for the least amount of money to our customers, we suggested a short User Experience Definition phase. This high level study, through simple user flows, allowed us to confirm Trutsted Places core strategic user scenarios. These were based on existing pathways and the desired traffic flow per each business objective. PPMG helped Trusted Places create a larger, strategic view of their key user activities and we were able to propose enhanced user engagement. This exercise saved Trusted Places money because we had a solid base from which to work on the tactical user experience change requests. With a deeper understanding of the site and its users, we were able to make cogent, educated solution suggestions as we continued to work with the Trusted Places stakeholders. Changes during the design phase can be very costly; however, these sorts of targeted deep dives can provide rich information in a short period of time that can then be extended to the remaining phases of the project.

Trusted Places came to PPMG with a myriad of requests. Through the above, PPMG was able to identify that many of the ancillary requests looped back to the registration process. PPMG reviewed this and we were able to recommend email improvements, a more user-friendly and efficient registration flow -- which included the gateways to the registration page, follow-up emails, and the confirmation pages on the site. Our recommendations drove people to register while creating a better experience while doing so. Upon implementation of our recommendations, Trusted Places’ registration numbers went up, and there was higher user engagement and retention. Our research and recommendations also created a roadmap for PPMG to solve the ancillary requests of Trusted Places more efficiently.

The groundwork had been laid for an efficient re-architecting and redesign of the Home Page, the My Trusted Places page, and the Place Page. We worked to up the conversion opportunities, clarify the value proposition while driving registration and user-engagement. We also created a virtual “black book” experience for the registered Member. Users became much more aware of existing features and our changes drove usage, engagement, and stickiness.

PPMG is known for its holistic approach in helping its clients solve their new-media issues. We work closely with all of our clients to ensure their best interests are at the forefront. The layman may not initially understand the value of high-level studies and deep dives, but they ultimately pay for themselves in cost savings. PPMG works to base all of our recommendations and designs on the client’s strategy, business goals, and user profiles. Making something pretty has no value if it is not driving the significance of the brand while presenting information in a consumable manner.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Earthly Inspiration

We are regularly asked where we get inspired for creativity. For us, it can come from anything. A painting, an innovative design, architecture, or just a stunning view. A latest source of inspiration has come from some satellite photos we came across of the locations across the earth. They are magnificent pieces of art in their own right. The color combinations, textures and negative space are all elements to draw upon in design. You can view the entire set of photos here at Environmental Graffiti. Here are four favorites that represent their beauty from space of the terrain, as they are completely different perspective and experience from the ground eye view of those same locations. Feel free to click on them for hi-res versions.

Shifting Sand of the Terkezi Oasis, Chad
Kalahari Desert, Namibia
Under Water Ocean Sands, Bahamas

Farms in Garden City, Kansas, USA

Monday, August 24, 2009

Three Steps to marketing your iPhone app.

You've heard the news, seen the commercials and now you are excited to get started creating an iPhone application for your brand. Now you find yourself asking how do I get started?

First: You must establish a direction for your "new creation", are you going with a brand driven application, or an application "brought to you by" your brand? There is a distinct difference and value for both.

Second: Pricing matters in the competitive iPhone market. 0.99cents is the most common, $1.99 is a growing starting point. Here are a couple of strategies used by iPhone Developers

Strategy "Lite Version": If you believe that your app has the legs to crawl out ontop, then you may want to consider creating two versions of your application, a "lite and full version". Offer the lite version for FREE and with the right app, your user base will climb. The extended full version needs to also be available at the same time. This way, you allow the user to play one level or two, get them excited to download the full version, all within the app.

Strategy "Price it and then Promote the drop": You price out your app at say $1.99 or $2.99 and then run a special promotion for a price drop after you believe your app has hit it's highest point of sales, promote it like crazy as a limited time offer. You will see this happen quite a bit in the app store. But make sure you price it right. Too high can yield low returns. The lite version is a proven method, as it stands today.

Third: Create a microsite, viral campaign, and special twitter promotional that will get your app recognized. Viral Marketing is power!

We would love to help you with your application next steps. If you are interested, please contact for details and a marketing evaluation.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

PPMG Introduces iPhone & Mobile Phone Development

PPMG is pleased to announce the introduction of iPhone Application Development and Mobile Strategy as part of the company’s core competencies. Over one billion downloads demonstrates the value, ease of user accessibility and adoption, as well as the huge opportunity our clients have within the app store.

We understand that due to the growing number of applications available, fresh approaches to innovative marketing and product awareness are important. This is why we also offer microsite design and development services to promote each application. Microsites give each product promotional exposure outside of the confines of the app store.

Our team includes 2D and 3D animators and mobile-UI Designers. PPMG is always striving to differentiate our clients’ products with a unique combination of features, strategy, and execution.

We see the tremendous value this new product offering affords our clients and are thrilled to be a part of the growing mobile movement. PPMG exploits this new medium and its capabilities to provide excellence and innovation in all of our iPhone Application design and development.

Review a case study of one of our latest iPhone projects.

iPhone Application Development / Mobile Strategy
. Entertainment and Utility Application Development
. 3D and 2D Animation
. Storyboarding
. Script writing

. Accelerometer
. Dash-code and X-code
. GPS Maps API
. Streaming Video and Audio
. In Game Voice Use

Friday, July 24, 2009

Jewish Family Service Website Launches

Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Seattle has deep roots in the Puget Sound area with over 117 years of commitment to the community in the North West. JFS has grown from an agency that provided support to Jewish immigrants to a non-profit organization that services many diverse populations in the Seattle area.

JFS’ website was not adequately presenting the mission, scope, and strategy of JFS. Many of their users couldn’t effectively find the information and support they needed with the old design. JFS came to PPMG with these concerns and we worked very closely with them to solve for their complex situation.

PPMG embarked on two parallel tracks to meet the needs of JFS and its constituents. We entered into a Mood Board process to define the visual language of the site, as well as an Information Architecture phase where we defined the site structure and document taxonomy.

For the Mood Board, PPMG chose images and colors that would represent the various populations that JFS serves, as well as photographs of the founding mothers and shots of the Seattle area. This did several things. It gave JFS the opportunity to discuss and define the high level value of JFS and choose a library of images that would evoke appropriate emotional responses from their users. PPMG worked with JFS to create a visual language that would provoke a feeling trust, community, safety, and show concern. Our goal was to connect viscerally to the needs of the site user.

View the Mood Board here >

The IA phase was challenging because of the complexity of JFS’ offerings. We concluded that the best way to meet all site-interaction scenarios was to have navigation by both persona and by service. This created a difficult puzzle to solve, but we were able to effectively create a structure and navigational system that provided easy, intuitive access to all of JFS’s services in a manner that was easy to use and understand. JFS had ample content per page, so PPMG was able to easily flow the existing information into the new design.

The Mood Board and IA phases worked together to create a cost-efficient design process because all of the elements had been defined at a higher level. Repeated touches to the pages during the design phase was not necessary because consensus had been achieved before that phase started.

Through our collaborative efforts, JFS’s understanding of their audience, and PPMG’s expertise, within the first month of the newly designed site launch:
• Average user time spent on the site increased 81%
• The bounce rate decreased 22%
• Page views increased 54%

JFS had a limited budget, complex needs, and a short time frame. PPMG worked closely with the stakeholders through work sessions and presentations to provide a robust website, as well as a meaningful experience for both the JFS staff and the community that they serve.

View the live site here >

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Advert for

BluePhone is a subscription service that provides online and phone support for consumers with computer and device problems. Perfectpixels was hired to create an advert spot to appear as a pre-roll for network webcasts. The objective was looking to create a fun take on their brand while representing the main issues BluePhone customers look to solve.

Our solution was to create a campy, fun and tongue-in-cheek set of characters accompanied with a voice over of an over-the-top announcer. The characters and scenes chosen were based on the personas of typical customers. Part of the advert was to create associated banners you can view here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Most Cynical Website So Far takes its website with a far more realistic look at itself as an online entity than most other self-promotional product websites; inconsequential. The Skittles website is not really a site, but merely a portal to finding Skittles on other sites. The homepage and product pages are Wikipedia pages. The photos is a Flickr page, the videos section is a YouTube page, the Friends page is a Facebook group page, and the Chat page is a Twitter page.

Skittles is experimenting with the idea that an offline brand exists online elsewhere on other websites and not within its own branded confines. Its profound in a way with either a cynical look at itself, or a clever way to promote Skittles directly to where users may actually be talking about their product- not on Brilliant.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Best iPhone Apps

The iPhone has thousands of apps and hundreds added every week. The iPhone is unique in not just its breadth, but also the variety in which a user interacts with the device. The API allows you to use standard controls or create custom controls including its ability to detect movement and position. This has created unprecedented freedom for a mobile device developer. Here is a list of the must-haves for any iPhone user.

The best app you can possibly have for the iPhone and is astounding this did not ship standard with the iPhone. You can use voice command for twitter updates, web searches, phone calls and mapping. The importance of an app of this nature since it is converting voice to text is the flexibility to allow the user to make corrections, which this allows you to do by editing the text.

Keynote Remote
One of the great capabilities of the iPhone is its seamlessness to the Mac. This is a must have for any presenter using Keynote as you have control of not only moving the slides, but you can look at slide notes or preview what the following slide will be. I happen to be a wanderer when I present, so an app like this is a life saver.

iTunes Remote
Another Apple provided app that seems almost ridiculous that it doesn't ship with your iPhone. This one allows you to commandeer your computer's iTunes, including volume control.

New York Times
The secret for reading on a handheld device is readability. The New York Times is probably the best paper in the country and having it available and legible while on the go in your hand is worth putting up with the quirks that still need to be worked out with it.

As long as you have the 3G version, this is a great utility for music listening. It behaves just like the web app, just a little simpler. The draw back like most iPhone apps is that you cannot have this run in the background.

Great classics with chapter jumping, bookmarking where you left off, original illustrations and a nifty page turning animation. The cream with brown text makes it easy on your eyes to continue reading on a flight or train ride for long periods of time. They also continue to add to the 18-book library with its free updates.

Tell it to locate you and what kind of food you are looking for it will give you all the functionality of the website with a hook into your dialer and the map finder.

This app is quite easy to use, especially considering how comprehensive it is. You can view not only what the television schedule is for your particular cable or dish network, but you can also find out movie listings for your area. Using the same panel slide metaphor as the Mac Finder, you can easily select by a genre, location or specific movie to find listings - including booking through the app itself for participating theaters. You can also view previews, view reviews and Tivo shows.

iDicto Recorder
Record notes to yourself and mark them. You can also append to a audio note. The only thing you wish it could do is convert into a text note, but sometimes a dictation tool is just handy enough. The UI has a big fat button to start and stop making it nice and easy.

Wunder Radio
I haven't lived in LA for seven years but aside from friends and sunshine, I miss most KCRW. I can grab it while attached to my computer but having it now available through my iPhone means I can plug into it as well as hundreds of other stations while in my car or on the train. The 3G network is dodgy, so its not reliable to hear for long periods of time while moving, but at least with this app, I can catch Metropolis while driving home. Another great feature it has is a recommender for similar stations.

Easy Writer
For us fat fingered folks, the fact that you can only have a landscape keyboard when in the browser but not in email is maddening. Easy Writer fixes this obvious oversight, but only for new messages rather then also for replies. But at least I can type faster and more reliable when I have the opportunity to start a message screen using this app.

Around Me
The Swiss Army knife of what's around me. Pretty good to have handy when needing a quick idea where to park or the closest pharmacy.

Easy Wi-Fi
Get hooked for free to the wi-fi the next time you are at a Starbucks. Not sure how it does it without the payment normally required, but no UI knowledge necessary. You open it, and it lets you know when you are on.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

We've made a Valentine greeting to boost your spirits up!

Monday, January 26, 2009

PPMG Announces Strategic Partnership with Usability Service

Perfect Pixels Media Group (PPMG), a web design agency that focuses on branded user experience on the web, and Psychster, Inc., a social psychology and usability consultancy, are pleased to announce a strategic partnership that will offer their clients a holistic solution to user experience that ensures user stickiness and acceptance.

When building websites and online applications, success is dependent upon user acceptance and adoption. When the user can intuitively interact with the site he or she will have a pleasant experience, get the information needed in a non-stressful way, and not only stay on the site, but return.

There is no lack of websites on the internet. Differentiation is key. PPMG and Psychster offer the keys to making a website stand out. We work hand-in-hand to create the most effective user interface that matches up with the strategic goals of the company. From start to finish these two companies offer expertise founded not only on years of experience but also on solid data and user information.

Psychster provides usability studies through a very cost effective, web-based interface. Usability studies give the opportunity to collect deep, individual interview data. The interviews that we conduct will uncover issues, whereas the surveys will show you how common those issues are. A team of PhD level psychologists conducts the usability studies. This gives an added value of looking at user reactions on cognitive, processing, and social levels. This information is then integrated into all levels of the website build, from branding to information architecture to design, to implementation by the senior level team at PPMG. PPMG is all about user experience – both the client’s and the end-user’s. We have a savvy team of experts who have offered integrated solutions for fortune 100 companies, as well as start-ups.

Both companies are agile, work closely with each other and the client, and have a long track record of client satisfaction. Please contact Kate O’Neil at 800.834.9309 x702 for more information.