Posts Tagged ‘communication’

Giving Life with Video

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 by Kristina

The Born to Spy Series

These videos show how stories can come to life with simple techniques and technology, patience, research and a realization that sometimes it’s more important to get a job done than to do it perfectly.

I interviewed my father, Austin Goodrich, after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, to capture his “Great Generation” stories before they vanished. I was already a little behind the curve, so extensive editing was needed and material had to be found that would help tell the story. The research sent me down a number of historical rabbit holes that will pursue some day, but also slowed the process a lot.

Dad’s full story could have been a movie. It was certainly a book. Plus, I had conflicting demands (i.e. while he talks about his career, the need to showcase his family life was also important to us, his family). The compromise is not perfect. But it exists. It is there when anyone wants to dip in to visit with him. And it is part of the archive of our Cold War experience.

These two videos reflect the beginning of what can be achieved. I hope you enjoy them. Above all, I hope they motivate you to harness this under-utilized medium to communicate your vision, essence, priorities, experience, knowledge, humor…story! Just be careful if you have to transfer files from MS to OS X. (That’s why the one is fuzzier than the other. I think.) Brought to you here and from my YouTube channel:

Covert ops officer Austin Goodrich:

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Action!

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 by Kristina

5 Reasons for Video in Your Communication Mix

Video is a grossly under-utilized medium by designers and by the design press. That’s a shame. Here are 5 reasons to make video a central part of your communication program:

1. People like people, and they like to hear the back story from”The Source.”

Seeing the person behind a concept or product, listening to their perspectives, motivations and challenges adds the human touch. It begins to create a relationship. And a relationship is exactly what you want when you communicate.

2. It doesn’t have to cost $$$ to work for you.

High impact is great, but it’s usually pricey. Those videos take time, planning, money and risk — it better be just right or it will be very wrong.  Also, high impact is only one way to tell a story. And a story has more than one angle.

3. Great communication is deeper than the “Pow” “Wham” “Bam” and “Kaboom” of comic books or the lyricism of a seranade. So not doing video because you can’t afford the super cool or super elegant effect is a bad decision.

4. Videos give you a voice and persona. It lends  authenticity to the messenger if you handle it correctly. You will be hard pressed to get this from Flash alone.

5. Few people are comfortable talking in front of a camera. They fear loss of control and looking silly.

But the fact is that behind every great design are the designers. Their story about the design enriches the experience of the outcome. Asking the design to carry the full weight of communicating without the human element depersonalizes the design and undermines the relationship with your audience. It’s just asking too much.

But use video well, with simple honesty, and the content that emerges can add a valuable dimension to your story, engaging your audience, be they clients, employees or prospects.

Sometimes it’s more important to get it done than to wait for it to be perfectly timed and executed or full of flash and dash.

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    Designing Crisis Interactions

    Monday, October 29th, 2012 by Kristina
    5-stars to Chase for extreme customer service. Here are highlights (not in order) from email Chase sent re: Hurrican Sandy:
    “We will be calling many of our customers in the hardest hit areas to see if there are other ways we can help. “
    “Our branch and telephone bankers are empowered to go the extra mile for customers with storm-related problems or concerns.”
    “…we are waiving the following Chase fees through Wednesday, October 31st …
    º Overdraft Protection Transfer, Extended Overdraft, Returned Item and Insufficient Funds Fees for deposit accounts.
    º Late fees on credit cards, business and consumer loans, including mortgages, home-equity, auto and student loans.”
    “…we will generally waive the early withdrawal fees on CDs to help customers with their cash flow.”
    “We hope these efforts can play a small part in easing some of your worries…if you need help, please call us at 1-888-356-0023, tweet @ChaseSupport or visit any of our open branches.
    Wow! Did NOT get this from my insurance co.

    5-Stars to Chase for Extreme Customer Service

    With Hurricane Sandy approaching the mid-Atlantic, Chase Consumer Banking sent an email that reflects the highest order of customer service.

    The email described a package of temporary policies to meet the banking and financial needs and worries of customers in a crisis. I’m talking delay of deadlines, waiving of fees, access to aid, etc., (see below for direct quotes):

    The policies are designed: they identify and solve a problem, creating a well thought-out and sincere interaction between customers and Chase, whether the customers use the offered help or not.

    The keystones of Chase’s strategy:

    Honesty Chase was honest with itself about the image of banking as impersonal, rule-bound, uncaring, incomprehensible and fee-seeking and designed policies that would help overcome these image problems…at least for Chase!

    Value It anticipated how a customer would feel and what they would need, building a bridge of relevant value, putting customers’ peace of mind ahead of corporate rules (and short-term profit) and

    Timeliness It sent the message out before the crisis hit!

    Sincerity By nailing all of the above in a letter whose tone was personal, professional and, above all, non-promotional, Chase conveyed a sincere desire to serve

    All together, Chase managed an unprecedented communication coup. It built brand loyalty and thus—you guessed it—long-term profit. In fact, the policies’ lack of explicit self-interest sets it apart from anything I’ve received from a bank in 15 years.

    Be Prepared!

    You may not always be in crisis, but you can always anticipate your customers’ concerns and best interests and respond  in advance.

    What Chase sent:

    Here are highlights (not in order) from the email:

    “We will be calling many of our customers in the hardest hit areas to see if there are other ways we can help. ”

    “Our branch and telephone bankers are empowered to go the extra mile for customers with storm-related problems or concerns.”

    “…we are waiving the following Chase fees through Wednesday, October 31st …

    Ҽ Overdraft Protection Transfer, Extended Overdraft, Returned Item and Insufficient Funds Fees for deposit accounts.

    “º Late fees on credit cards, business and consumer loans, including mortgages, home-equity, auto and student loans.”

    “…we will generally waive the early withdrawal fees on CDs to help customers with their cash flow.”

    “We hope these efforts can play a small part in easing some of your worries…if you need help, please call us…”

    The voice and focus of this letter showed me a company that has it’s customers’ back. It was the first time I might have dreamed of thinking a bank could be a force for good in a community.

    Who should have sent this email but did not? My insurance company!

    At least someone learned the lessons of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill!

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    Good Lessons from Bad Communication

    Thursday, October 25th, 2012 by Kristina

    Rep v. Dem: Breaking the Rules Right and Left

    The inundation of the airwaves with election advertising has never been more nauseating—and inept. Besides the attacks and the misrepresentations, both Republicans and Democrats provide an endless stream of uninspired and predictable messaging. Does anyone really listen? What can designers learn while these groups waste billions of dollars breaking the cardinal sins of communication?

    • A little repetition goes a long way
    • You have to engage your audience
    • Use a laser not a shotgun
    • The medium is visual, so give people a visual reason to watch—They won’t listen if they aren’t watching!

    In an Oct. 25, 2012, column for the Washington Post, Ned Martel nails the total failure of these campaigns to use advertising effectively. In “Could the pols use a bit of wisdom from the Mad Men,” he especially attacks them for bludgeoning everyone when marketers have known for generations that you target messages to key audiences, using their preferred media. That way:

    • You don’t irritate people with ads they don’t care about and
    • You reach your target audience with a well-crafted, tailored message that may cost more to create, but costs far less to deliver

    Communication lessons for designers? Target! Both your message and your medium. Who’s your audience precisely, where do they look for information, what interests them? Is it the Harvard Business Review, BloombergWired, Absolute Sound? or Reaching out to the medical industry? Who is the contact you need? Tell engaging stories! Don’t rant, repeat, reduce, assume, talk down or beat your breast; rather, tell stories with personality geared to that particular audience’s interest. Make your examples personal, digestible, believable. That’s the difference between communication and strategic communication. Actually, sounds a lot like design, doesn’t it?

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    Scott Wilson on Form & Function

    Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 by Kristina

    Kudos, Scott!

    Scott Wilson spoke eloquently about the the chick-and-egg question of form and function in his follow-up TIME magazine interview following up his well-deserved National Design Award for Product Design from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

    Scott Wilson new

    Scott Wilson, now with Motorola

    Asked, “How much of design for you is function, and how much is form? Do you find it hard to satisfy them both in some projects?”, he said:

    “It’s almost all function. The form part is easy once you’ve defined the problem and designed the solution. If you have good research or good insights, the thing kind of designs itself. Putting a form around it is the easy part, really. Finding the insights and finding the connections and the right puzzle piece that may be missing, that’s the hard part.”

    I’ve worked with designers for a long time, and few have expressed it so well! See more at http://ti.me/TG6mxV.

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    PR 101: Grab Every Chance to Speak

    Monday, January 25th, 2010 by admin

    PR doesn’t stand for press relations but public relations. Who is your public? One way to build your career is to stand up in front of your public, your audience. But those opportunities are rare.

    It takes effort. You start at the bottom and work up. So check out this invitation:

    What: 7th International Conference on Design & Emotion

    Where: Chicago

    Deadline for Submission: February 15

    When: October 4-7

    Details: http://www.id.iit.edu/de2010/

    Design & Emotion is a forum held every other year — so it’s not a chance that will come around again in ‘11.

    The conference will offer workshops, research paper presentations, design case presentations, and poster presentations.

    So don’t sit there in the audience, biting your nails in frustration. See if you can get on the program.

    And if it works, then you practice and practice and practice. And practice some more.

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    Finding the Voice for Your Design Story

    Thursday, December 10th, 2009 by admin

    To tell your design story so it resonates with business and media, you need to frame it in their terms.


    Business–Too many numbers! How can I get taken seriously without losing my design soul? They love my ideas and visual presentation and models, but then they want me to validate my recommendation in terms of how many other people will love my design!

    Public relations–Where’s the magic kool-aid? Why can’t I get coverage?

    I hear the frustration whenever I talk with designers. It lingers even at a time when the press IS covering industrial design (Fast Company is taking over sponsorship of the IDEA, for instance). More industrial designers than ever seem to be reporting to the top levels in corporations yet industrial designers are still paid less than their marketing and engineering compadres.

    It’s not for want of talent or focus on innovation and it’s not for lack of conferences and blogs talking about design, linking designers, exposing design.

    So, another blog  on industrial design, exposing you to new designs, new talent, new events, new technologies or new causes? No.

    What you’ll get here, and through Design’s Voice, is information from professionals so you can:

    • operate successfully as a designer with business and within its management; and

    • harness the power of public relations to send your message effectively.

    Here you’ll learn how to tell your design story directly to business and through the media, with our:

    • in-depth case studies on effective positioning stories

    • podcast and written interviews with design, PR and business executives

    • webcast courses, by experts in public relations, business and design leadership

    • studies, relevant book reviews and glossaries

    • communication strategy and program development that puts your story in the limelight

    When you start accessing the resources we present, please give us feedback on quality, needs, frustrations, stories and offers to participate. Hey, education is collaborative!

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