Seth Says, “Your brand is not your logo”

Pepsi's new (ugly) logo

Seth Godin always has some great things to say about marketing and he has done it again. As you may know, Pepsi recently released a redesigned logo. If you care to know my opinion, I think it’s ridiculously ugly. They’ve gone from owning an iconic shap to owning a lopsided… something. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to the the corner of a smirk, a masked superhero’s eye, or a Pringle. 

Naturally, they are hoping that the new logo will help them to make more money. I’m not sure how it’s supposed to do that exactly, but then, I don’t work at Pepsi. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think that logos can be important. If you’re a small startup company trying to compete in the business world and your logo looks like it was made by your 9 year-old neice with construction paper… it’s probably time to hire a designer. But the concept that a mega-corporation is going to suddenly gain tons of business because they’ve redesigned their logo is beyond me.

In all actuality it’s going to cost them millions of dollars. Not only will they have to pay the overpriced agency that developed the logo, but they’ll have to redesign/repaint their trucks, redesign/reprint their stationary and business cards and ovehaul their website. And if they have any schwag to give away (and corporations always have schwag), they’ll have to start from scratch. 

So if it costs so much money, why do corporations do it? Because the CEO got tired of the old logo.

Redbox UX Optimization

I’ve decided to take a page out of 37signals’ playbook and offer up some design enhancements of my own choosing. The benefit to doing this, is that there’s no liability. No customers to please. No deadlines. No real constraints. Just an open opportunity to brainstorm and imagine “what if?” What if a certain product performed a certain way? How could this be easier?

For my first case, I decided to tackle a Redbox “Rental Selection” screen. I’m a huge fan of what Redbox is doing. They’ve really turned the movie rental industry on its ear. But I can’t help but notice how difficult their machines can be for n00bs (newbies) to use. I believe that a few well executed enhancements would make the whole process faster and easier for everybody.

First, let’s take a look at Redbox’s “Rental Selection” screen as it currently appears. The buttons on the left side are decent enough, but the buttons across the bottom are all the same size/shape/color. There’s no indication as to their function or importance. If you removed the text, you would have no idea which button performed which function.

In my version, the buttons are turned into images which can indicate their purpose. Also, the row of letters make it easy to jump to a particular part of the alphabet (the previous system requires the user to touch the “A to Z” button before giving them an opportunity to choose a letter.)

The horizontal red bar across the top of the screen indicates the current sorting method. Touching any section allows the user to sort movies differently.

Disclaimer: This mock-up concept was put together in about an hour and a half. It is not intended to be a final solution, but simply a better solution.  I would never suggest implementing changes to an interface without first testing it with users. One weakness with this first optimization, is that it isn’t immediately clear how to change the sorting method. Some further thought could go into this challenge.

Google Analytics gets an Enterprise Upgrade

Google has announced several upgrades to their popular Analytics application. On Tuesday, they announced a fresh new look for the program. It’s nothing drastic, but rather a bit of a clean-up job. It also seems to be a bit faster although I’m not sure if this was intentional or a happy side-effect of the redesign (or ‘realign‘ if you will). 

On Wednesday – that’s today – they announced several additional functionality improvements including advanced segmentation, “motion charts”, adsense reporting, custom reporting. and an API. 

 

Motion Charts

Google’s new “Motion Charts” tool allows you to observe a particular keyword’s (or group of keywords’) performance over time. You have full control segmentation dimensions that are displayed as x- and y-axis, bubble size, bubble color, and motion over time. This gives the user unprecedented insight into a campaign’s performance and will be very useful to webmasters. 

 

 

Advanced Segmentation

Segmentation has always been possible within Google Analytics, but you were limited to the slices that were already prepared. With their new Advanced Segmentation tools, you can choose a nearly infinite number of segments, filters, values, etc. And my favorite feature? You can save your segmentations for future use.  Over the course of time, that will save hours of work and make it infinitely easier to draw useful insights from the data. 

 

Custom Reporting

Have you ever wanted to see a particular report in Google Analytics but couldn’t figure out how to make Analytics show it to you? Me too. But the new Custom Reporting feature lets you create reports that contain only the metrics you want to see. Just define the metrics you want to analyze along with the dimensions you want to see. (If you want, you can even define sub-dimensions.) And like “Advanced Segmentation”, you can save all your custom reports for future use. See the video below for an example. 

 

 

AdSense Integration

If you use Google’s AdSense program, today is a great day. Analytics now contains (or will soon contain… it’s rolling out slowly) new reporting just for you. Using the new functionality, you’ll have insight into a wealth of new data such as: AdSense revenue, AdSense revenue per 1000 visitors, # of AdSense ads clicked, # of AdSense ads clicked per visitor, AdSense CTR, and much more. You’ll be able to see which of your content generates the most AdSense revenue, and which of your referrers pushes the most profitable traffic. Combine all that with the new segmentation and reporting features, and you’re well on your way to optimizing your site for profitability. 

 

 

API

For those of you who don’t know what an API is, it’s a way of extracting data out of a program (in this case, Google Analytics) for use in another program. By offering an API, Google is making it easier for developers to write programs that can extend the functionality of Google Analytics but providing additional services using the data from Analytics. This is great news for you. It means that soon, there will be even more ways to slice & dice your site’s information using data from Analytics.  

What do you think of the new functionality (and more importantly, the new look :) )

(via)

Blog Action Day Tackles Global Poverty

You may or may not be familiar with Blog Action Day. It’s a concept dreamt up by our friends over at Envato. This year they’re tackling the topic of poverty, a serious problem around the globe. Personally, I fast for 24-hours each month and then donate what I would have spent on food to a charity that serves people who cannot provide for themselves. What ideas do you have for tackling poverty?


Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

Your Home Page Is Ugly

Here’s a little food for thought

You make sure to dress up nicely for work every day. If you’re a retail business, you probably make sure there is a dress code that ensures your employees look presentable. Your store is probably cleaner than your bedroom at home, and you pay good money for letterhead and business cards so your company looks professional. 

So why oh why do so many businesses scrimp on their websites? Why do you spend heaps of money trying to make your company appear professional, and but you only want to spend $400 on a web site? Don’t you realize that’s where many of your potential customers will get their first impression of you. 

Is your home page ugly? If so, clean it up… for the company’s sake.