Forget The Competition, They Are Worthless To You

By Nathan Moore
 

There is a skewed philosophy in the marketing world today – that in order to beat your competition, you must know your competition inside and out. However, this philosophy tends to yield mediocrity, not innovation.

I keep running across phone manufacturers that are promoting their upcoming “iPhone killers.” And with each one, I have the same reaction: “really?!” (in a slightly skeptical and sarcastic tone).

The problem with these new phones is that the manufacturers are focusing too much on the competition. It is apparent that they began the initiative by analyzing everything about the iPhone and then building a device that mimics it, but with more features.

In contrast, I imagine the development of the iPhone was much different, and it probably started with one question: how can we make the best phone in the world? Sure, I bet they studied other devices, but probably for insight on what they did not want to do as opposed to stealing features.

These are two entirely different mindsets. One says, “How innovative can we be?” and the other says, “How can we beat product X?” If you practice the first philosophy, you are really limitless in what you can produce, and you customers will respond positively. However, the second philosophy can only position you in relation to whatever product you are trying to beat. At the end of the day, you just look like a copycat.

Now, is it possible for a company to produce an “iPhone killer?” Sure it is. But it will happen by innovating, not trying to mimic the iPhone.

Are you paying too much attention to your competition, or are you simply producing the best work possible with excellence? Put some blinders on and do what you do best.

tags:  innovation  apple  iphone  phones  competition 
categories:  Anthology Creative  Marketing 
 
 

Congrats to Tenth Avenue North!

By Nathan Moore
 

When our clients celebrate, we celebrate too. So, we are thrilled to congratulate Tenth Avenue North for winning a Dove Award for New Artist of the Year last night. It’s quite an accomplishment.

Our team enjoyed working on designing and developing the band’s website earlier this year (TenthAvenueNorth.com).

Way to go, guys! Keep up the great work.

Check out Tenth Ave on iTunes.

 
 

Potential, Productivity, and Refining the Work Process

By Nathan Moore
 

While I lived in New York, I participated in a leadership exercise that illustrated the potential of productivity under pressure. Our group was divided into two teams and given the task to create an actual product, build a website, and provide a way for someone to purchase the product online. Now, this process could take as much as three months or even more to complete. However, we were given a mere three hours.

Both teams kicked into high gear as soon as the clock began, and three hours later, both teams had a product, a functioning website, and an online purchase option. Granted, the products did not look that great, the websites were extremely bare, and the payment option was done through PayPal, but - both teams had completed the almost-impossible objective.

Many times, we do not really push ourselves. We find a nice steady pace and stick to that. It’s comfortable. However, by not pushing ourselves, we are not meeting new challenges. If we are not challenging ourselves, we are not growing. And, if we are not growing, we are not reaching our potential.

Part of our philosophy at Anthology is to push things to the max. Most of our deadlines are aggressive. Our time budgets are aggressive. And we demand excellence. However, by pushing hard and creating difficult objectives, we are constantly refining our process and growing as a team. Our tiny successes become big successes and our tiny failures becoming huge learning experiences.

 
 

Twitter Observation: Local News Stations - WKRN vs. WSMV

By Nathan Moore
 

I am seeing more and more media outlets jump on the Twitter bandwagon in an attempt to utilize the latest web trend. However, while many see the obvious opportunity, few actually use it effectively.

Two local news stations here in Nashville are on Twitter: WSMV (an NBC affiliate) and WKRN (an ABC affiliate). Even though both stations utilize Twitter, the differentiation between the two is huge.

Station 01: WSMV

This station has 5,770 tweets at the time of this post. However, despite the high frequency, EVERY SINGLE tweet is a link back to an article on their website. No replies. No personality. No face to this station. WSMV is using Twitter for the sole purpose of pushing people to their website. Lame.

This strategy misses the sweet spot of Twitter: to participate in the conversation. For WSMV, it is merely a one-way conversation with self-centered objectives.

Station 02: WKRN

WKRN, on the other hand, gets what Twitter is all about. Despite less activity on the account (only 26 updates), each tweet is engaging the users. In addition, they have experimented with using reply tweets in their nightly broadcasts - brilliant.

Instead of taking advantage of Twitter like their counterpart, they are utilizing it to connect to the audience. They are joining in the conversation and engaging users, which is what social media is all about.

Additionally, they actively follow 90 other Twitter users (compared to the 0 users that WSMV follows).

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the most recent tweet from WKRN was over three weeks ago. I hope they have not dismissed Twitter as a viable communication outlet. If they stick with it, they will find it to be rewarding to their station and their audience. Come on, WKRN - keep it up.

Follow WSMV on Twitter
Follow WKRN on Twitter

Any readers see other news organizations that utilize Twitter effectively?

 
 

Tips To Creating Better Website Navigation

By Nathan Moore
 

Navigation should not be taken lightly since it is the most important interfacing utility on your website. Many times, people throw in whatever they think is important on the site. This is almost like going to the fridge and throwing together everything you like into one salad - it is just not effective and will probably leave a bad taste in your mouth.

1. Think

Navigation should be thought through carefully. When considering the top level navigation, it is usually better to cut out options than add them. Sit down with a pen and paper and map out each section and page that needs to be in the navigation (notice I did not say “that you want to be in the navigation”).

2. Prioritize

This fits hand-in-hand with the first tip. Determine the options in which your user will be most interested. What are the sections most used on your site? How do users flow through your site? Do they check one section first, then another? How can you arrange the navigation and options to improve the user experience?

3. Group

Try to group items into logical contexts. If it does not fit in the group, then it needs to go somewhere else. Many links live perfectly fine in the footer. Don’t think that every single section/link/page needs to be in the main navigation cascade.

4. Optimize

More times than not, the first stab at a navigation is not the most effective. Analyze your traffic flows and adjust accordingly. If you find that your users are not clicking on the “About Us” page, then it may be better to link to this page in the footer. You goal is to create the best navigation interface possible for the user. Give them what they need to make browsing the site most effective.