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Zero-G Creative


Zero-G Creative
The Zero-G Creative blog is a resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners. We provide tips on how to get the most from your marketing budget, how to manage outside design firms and the creative process, how to build winning web sites and how
Articles: 1, 2, 3

Articles

Testing a theory…
2009-06-03 00:22:00
We were talking to David Meerman Scott — author of World Wide Rave — on our radio show this morning and he has an unusual perspective on distributing content online. When offering an ebook or a white paper, most marketers would tell you to offer your content in exchange for an email address or other personal information. The rationale is, of course, that a business owner should be able to A) determine who is downloading their valuable content and B) have the ability to follow up with that individual afterward. Scott didn’t think so. In his experience, he claimed that allowing site visitors to download the paper without providing any personal information would increase the interest and readership of the content several times over. So what’s more valuable? The information you get from the people who download your content online or the much larger readership that you may be missing out on because you are asking for information? We’ve decided to make ourselves guin...
More About: Testing , Theory
Come network with Zero-G at South City Kitchen in Vinings on June 3rd!
2009-05-28 14:48:00
Our Twitter friends call it a TweetUp, our clients and colleagues call it networking, but everyone agrees - it’s ALWAYS a good time. Our next event is set for Wednesday, June 3rd at South City Kitchen in Vinings from 6-9PM (or later as is usually our custom). Over 100 people came out to our last event and we’d love to see you at this one! Please RSVP using the form below. We’ll see you there! RSVP Here First Name(required) Last Name(required) Email(valid email required) Your RSVP Yes, I'll be there! Maybe Sorry, maybe next time Total# of guests Message  
More About: Network
Need capital to start your business? Don’t despair, there may be a so
2009-05-19 15:19:00
There are a lot of solutions for funding a business beyond dipping into your own personal savings and acquiring venture capital which can not only be difficult but also compromise the amount of control you retain over your enterprise. There are incubator and accelerator programs popping up all over the country. Brian Cork’s Accelerator program and Shotput Ventures are just two examples here in the Atlanta area… Jeff Hilimire of Shotput Ventures will be on Gravity Free Radio this morning and Brian Cork was on earlier this year talking about their programs. Enjoy!
More About: Business , Start , Capital , Despair
New Digital Music Distribution Service Selects Zero-G Creative
2009-05-18 13:13:00
GlobalTraxOnline, the world’s first digital music platform with genre-specific distribution channels, has named Atlanta-based Zero-G Creative its national advertising and marketing agency of record. The independently owned firm will develop GlobalTraxOnline’s branding, interactive, e-commerce and social media campaigns. GlobalTraxOnline helps artists with online music distribution and allows them to sell their music through up to 400 digital retailers like iTunes, eMusic and Amazon.com, among others. The service is scheduled to launch later this month. GlobalTraxOnline selected Zero-G to create a Web-based strategy that helps remove the mystery from music distribution. Using social media and interactive marketing, the agency’s campaign targets specific audiences and offers a different creative execution for each music genre. PR and promotional efforts will also support the integrated campaign. Gerald Wiggins, founder of GlobalTraxOnline and a 20-year music industry...
More About: Digital Music , Service , Distribution
It’s all fun and games until somebody loses their job…
2009-05-08 22:37:00
We joked on the radio show a couple of weeks ago that we might need to implement some kind of “swear jar” to keep us from talking about social media. But let’s face it, this topic is everywhere and it pops up in discussions constantly. Over the last week though, the big concern that a few of our clients have raised is around how social media strategies can be implemented in their organizations without exposing too much — especially when it comes to the personal lives of their employees. The idea that a company’s clients or partners could be friending/following/linking with its employees is a frightening prospect for many business owners. After all, we can’t control our employees online like we can in the office… Even though enough precedent has been set, most folks aren’t concerned about disciplinary action at work when they go online and spout off abut their political views or post weekend party pics or inappropriate cartoons. So what do...
More About: Games , Fun and Games
Is everyone an idiot?
2009-04-28 14:47:00
Obviously not everyone is an idiot. Sure, let’s be honest we all know a few — um — interesting people but very few folks I know would classify the majority of their acquaintances as such. So if relatively few people are, in fact, actual idiots, why are so many marketers and business owners so eager to dumb down their messages in an ill-conceived effort to make sure that every silly objection is answered ahead of time? It seems to be a natural and nearly irresistible impulse to clutter our communications with the most mundane information about our products and services because we’re afraid that our customers aren’t going to “get” what we’re selling and so we feel compelled to tell them absolutely everything. I say that if your customers don’t understand what you’re trying to tell them, don’t complicate things by telling them it comes in other colors, has six lights built in and can be used in the living room just as easily ...
More About: Idiot
What’s an expert anyway?
2009-04-16 19:17:00
Earlier this week Marketing Sherpa published an alarming statistic. It seems that 2/3 of marketers working in organizations that “have not used any form of social media marketing or PR” self-identify as experts in social media. How is this possible? Are they learning by osmosis? Do they have friends that use social media? Or perhaps they’ve just been reading and watching the increasingly frequent news reports about social media. You know, I watched Bobby Flay make a choclate souffle on Iron Chef last week but I couldn’t do it myself… And I certainly haven’t watched enough New Yankee Workshop to start making my own furniture. It’s obvious what’s happening here — Sherpa drew the same conclusion — companies and organizations are feeling pressured to dive into the Social Mediasphere and tapping the person in their group that has the most friends on Facebook or maybe a semi-complete LinkedIn profile to become their social media maven. ...
More About: Expert
Why it pays to be proactive
2009-04-13 19:51:00
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of being proactive. It was a big topic of conversation with Brian Patrick Cork on our radio show last month and numerous events and conversations since has kept it in my head. It seems that a lot of people have expectations of success, both personally and in business. But what are you doing to achieve that success? I was talking with a corporate manager who had given had review meetings with each of her five employees. The two who had been at the company the longest had questions: “I’ve been here for three years, why haven’t I been promoted? Why have we hired other people from the outside?” Her response was simple, “You didn’t ask for it. You didn’t apply, you never expressed any interest in those other jobs and you never even expressed a desire or willingness to take on more responsibility. Why should we have considered you?” The same thing holds true in business and certainly...
More About: Pays , Proactive
The next Gravity Free Networking event is SET: April 29th, 6PM at Cafe Inte
2009-04-09 13:35:00
Our Twitter friends call it a TweetUp, our clients and colleagues call it networking, but everyone agrees — it’s ALWAYS a good time. Our next event is set for Wednesday, April 29th at Cafe Intermezzo in Dunwoody from 6-9PM (or later as is usually our custom). Our co-host for this event will be our client Business RadioX. We’d love to see you there! Please RSVP using the form below. By the way, last month’s event made it onto CNN thanks to an iReporter in our midst… Don’t miss this one! RSVP for Gravity Free Networking ! First Name(required) Last Name Email(valid email required) RSVP: I'll be there! I'll try to make it Sorry, can't make it Total # of guests? Comments  
More About: Event
Zero-G Creative abandons Adobe Creative Suite; creates world’s first
2009-04-01 16:27:00
Zero-G’s Creative Director, Keith Fletcher hard at work on a new design project Zero-G Creative’s design group, led by Creative Director Keith Fletcher has decided to abandon the industry standard Adobe Creative Suite software including Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Dreamweaver in favor of more “organic” design methods. “When I graduated with my design degree in 1987, graphic designers worked with their hands… We crafted our designs and I think the work back then was far superior to a lot of the computer-generated nonsense I see circulating these days,” Fletcher says. “And besides, honestly, isn’t two decades on a Mac enough?” Zero-G now has only one computer in their Alpharetta office, used exclusively for email and rudimentary typesetting. “We’ll set our type on the computer, but once we print it, I’m actually cutting each letter out individually and kerning everything by hand, just like we did b...
More About: World
Do you have a Lasagna List?
2009-03-30 12:59:00
I couldn’t sleep last week and ended up watching a late-night repeat one of my favorite shows: Diners Drive-In + Dives on the Food Network. Yes, I am hopelessly addicted to nearly all programming around the preparation of, history of and consumption of food. Except those seemlingly daily cake-baking contests but I digress. Back to my original point… One of the restaurants being featured on Triple D that night was renowned for their lasagna — a dish that is not on the regular menu, only made periodically as a special. So they started a “lasagna list”, a log of devoted patrons that wanted a phone call every time the restaurant made lasagna. Consider the marketing value of such a thing and consider the quality of relationship you need to have with a customer — especially in a relatively anonymous business like food service — in order to not only acquire a personal phone number for marketing purposes but to also expect that your customers will alter thei...
More About: List , Lasagna
Does crowdsourcing design work for clients?
2009-03-19 13:27:00
I recently had an experience with a client who had just crowdsourced their new logo. They opened the project on a web site along with a description of what they were looking for and the promise of a few hundred dollars to be awarded to the guy or gal who contributed the winning logo. They received more than 40 submissions in a matter of days from about 20 different designers. Before I go on, I would like to freely disclaim that I used to run a corporate marketing communications department and, while serving there I did on occasion ask for spec work, or sample designs to be done prior to the start of any formal engagement as with no expectation of payment… But from agencies and on larger projects like our major web design initiatives. When a company does that kind of shopping, they are looking to develop a long-term relationship with a brand name agency that will ultimately be able to earn several hundred thousand to several million dollars or more in revenue over the life of ...
More About: Design , Work , Clients
Springing forward
2009-03-08 15:30:00
It should be no surprise to anyone in the business of selling anything nowadays that sales cycles are being lengthened by our poor economy. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just spring forward to the point that our prospects were actually ready to buy? And without losing an hour of sleep? Well, it doesn’t work that way. It’s taking everyone a little longer nowadays to close business and it seems that instead of complaining about it, we should consider ways that we can use this extra lag time to our advantage. A couple of sales people pushing an Internet marketing solution came into our office the other day. They didn’t have an appointment; apparently they were walking the building and introducing themselves. They asked if we might be interested in purchasing said marketing solution. I told them that I was familiar with their solution and that several of our clients use it. I let them know that we were not interested as of this point, but that since our busines...
More About: Forward
Come meet the Zero-G crew at Aqua Blue on March 5th!
2009-03-03 13:22:00
Come have a cocktail with the crew at Zero-G this Thursday night at our Tweetup/Mixer! Non-Twitter users are also more than welcome! We’d love to see a big crowd and help all our friends and associates make some great connections. Scheduled for March 5, 2009 from 6PM - 10PM at Aqua Blue in Roswell. Twitter users, RSVP here with your Twitter username. Everyone else, RSVP below and feel free to email with any questions: Come see us at Aqua Blue! First Name(required) Last Name Email(valid email required) RSVP: I'll be there! I'll try to make it Sorry, can't make it Total # of guests? Comments  
More About: Meet , Crew
Where’s the beef?
2009-02-26 13:42:00
I once worked at a company where marketing communications was looked upon as “fluff.” Management looked at us to “spin” things in a way that made it appear as if our products had some sort of added soft benefit whether they did or not. Hey, it’s just “fluff” and it’s something we need to do to sell, right? And who cares if we’re writing checks we can’t really cash… No one actually expects the stuff they read about a product or service to be entirely true and free of creative embellishments, right? In this economy, these types of transgressions and basic violations of trust with your customers and prospects just don’t fly. Now is the time for companies to really focus on creating true value for their constituents. Ways that you can save them time or money, ways that B2C firms can help their customers balance their lives at home, ways that B2B firms can contribute positively to their clients’ success. Creat...
More About: Beef
Rebranding: start from scratch or just refresh?
2009-02-20 13:10:00
Kraft Foods unveiled a new logo this week to the chagrin of a lot of folks in the design world. Oh, and before you start shedding nostalgic tears for the old Kraft logo, it’s important to note that this change applies only at the corporate level; you won’t be buying mac and cheese stamped with this cluttered nonsense anytime soon. But before we judge too harshly, let’s hear what Kraft CMO Mary Beth West had to say about the change (source, BrandWeek): “In some ways, this really is all about Kraft Foods. It’s about our next step in the evolution of getting ourselves to top-tier performance. Going forward, it defines, unifies and simplifies our employees and gets everyone thinking about one common purpose.” OK, I get it, the new logo is going to make employees work harder and will unify them more than a decades old American icon, known and loved by millions. Wait — maybe I don’t get it. The point is that this is a crossroads that every m...
More About: Start , Refresh , Scratch
Great customer service in 140 characters or less
2009-02-17 12:39:00
I was working at home yesterday. Actually, I was trying to work at home when suddenly my Internet connection dropped. I made a phone call and waited a few minutes but it wasn’t coming back. Me without an Internet connection is sort of like a baseball player stepping into the batters box without a bat — pretty much useless. Frustrated at my luck I grabbed my BlackBerry and do what I always do in times like these: I wrote about it on Twitter. Then something amazing happened. Just a few minutes later, before I even got a live person on the phone calling into Comcast, I got a reply on Twitter from a Comcast customer service rep. He stayed in touch throughout the mornng and confirmed when service had been restored. Of course by this time I had already moved on to the coffee place around the corner but I really appreciated the attention. To me, this was a particularly easy way to use social media effectively for business… And proof of why most businesses should really have ...
More About: Customer Service , Service , Customer , Great , Characters
Asking entreprenuers to put their mouths where their money is
2009-02-14 15:11:00
If you haven’t already, please take a moment to read the Mark Cuban Stimulus Plan, posted on his blog earlier this week. Essentially, he’s offering to fund small business concepts designed to create jobs quickly and that could become self-funded through their own profits in a matter of months. He just wants to kick-start the process. He’s not even putting a minimum or maximum on the amount he’s willing to invest. Sounds good, right? Oh yeah, but there’s a catch. This is what Cuban calls an “open source” funding initiative. In order to qualify for said funding, you need to post your business plan on Mark’s blog. Posting on slideshare.com, google docs or anywhere public where anyone can find, read and download your plan is also acceptable. As with all things open source, the intent is that your entrepreneurial aspirations be completely open for others to learn from, draw inspiration and even steal or build upon. There are 13 rules for qu...
More About: Money
What’s Luck Got to Do with It?
2009-02-13 19:03:00
Today is Friday the 13th.  Some people are superstitious about this day and believe some bad luck might befall them just because of a number.  Silly, right?  So powerful is the myth of unlucky 13 that it is often missing in places like elevators and airplane seats.  Clearly, enough people believe in “luck”–in this case the bad kind–that it got me thinking about the subject of luck in general especially as it relates to business. Most definitions of the word luck describe it as a “chance happening” or “unpredictable phenomenon.”  I think most people would say that luck—good or bad—is something beyond their control.  That might be true some of the time.  Most of the time, however, I would argue that luck in its purest form is something entirely different. I don’t normally go around quoting Oprah but awhile back she said something that’s always stuck with me: “Luck is preparation meeting opportunity.”   Think about that for a second.  In ot...
My social media system
2009-02-05 13:56:00
Late last week, blogger supreme Chris Brogan (I wonder if he still manifests himself physically or if he’s found a way to fully upload his consciousness to the ‘net) gave us a peak inside his “system” for keeping up with everything social media. Now I’m not nearly as prolific (or relevant) as Chris or Guy Kawasaki or Duct Tape’s John Jantsch who also blogged his system; I’m just your average small business owner and I make it a priority to participate in social media at a fairly high level because I find it an invaluable networking tool and a vibrant, active community where valuable information, news and advice is being shared constantly. It also gives me the opportunity to create and easily distribute content that is valuable to my clients as well as other entrepreneurs and small business owners. But here’s the thing: it is a big time investment and one that a lot of folks are unwilling to make. Here’s how I do it: The blog: I l...
More About: Social , Media , System
What’s the difference between marketing + advertising?
2009-02-04 13:55:00
At our presentation last week at Roam Atlanta, one of my colleagues asked me to explain the difference between marketing and advertising. It was a fantastic question, as many business owners use the two terms almost interchangeably. First, let’s address the terminology. If you ever have a question about what a marketing term means, make yourself look smart by visiting the extensive marketing dictionary available on the American Marketing Association’s web site. Here is how the AMA defines marketing: “Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.” This, by contrast is the textbook definition of advertising: “The placement of announcements and persuasive messages in time or space purchased in any of the mass media by business firms, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, ...
More About: Advertising , Difference
Introducing Gravity Free Radio!
2009-02-03 12:22:00
Zero-G Creative is happy to announce the launch of our Internet radio show, Gravity Free Radio ! Hosted by Erik Wolf + Stephanie Frost of Zero-G Creative, the show will bring listeners great business ideas, give them access to outstanding business people and offer “free advice” to entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their own business. Our show will air live every Tuesday morning at 10am on Business RadioX, via our live streaming web feed and podcasts will be made available on the site after every broadcast. The first show will broadcast live this morning, February 3 at 10 AM with two incfredible guests: Steven Rabago, CEO of Zimple Money and customer experience expert Mike Wittenstein. Visit the show web site at gravityfreeradio.com to listen and contribute questions live via email.
Web Pitfall #5: Looking Inward for Direction
2008-10-18 00:11:00
All too often, we develop web sites from our own point of view. We look inward at what WE selfishly want instead of thinking objectively about what our AUDIENCE wants. Understanding what our customers and other stakeholders/constituents are looking for is a critical early step towards success on the web, there is no doubt about it. If ...
More About: Interactive , Direction
Web Pitfall #4: No Calls to Action
2008-10-16 21:42:00
This is important, though a lot of entrepreneurs don?t exactly know what it means. Here?s an explanation: when you get someone to your home page, you need to lead them in a direction. You need to tell them what you want them to do now that they are here? Sign up for a free consultation, ...
More About: Action , Interactive , Calls
Web Pitfall #3: Search Engine Negligence
2008-10-06 16:35:00
We can no longer use ignorance as an excuse when it comes to search engines and so failing to acknowledge them when designing a web site in this day and age constitutes negligence. Now this isn?t to say that all business owners should rely solely on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices when scoping out a ...
More About: Search Engine , Interactive
Web Pitfall #2: Flash Abuse
2008-09-26 23:56:00
This is a trap that many business owners don?t just fall into, but leap into, headfirst and blindfolded all while tossing fistfuls of hundred dollar bills into the wind behind them as they fall. Get the picture? A great many business owners want cool, interactive, animated, Flash ?ed-up sites because Flash?ed-up sites are, well, cool. It?s ...
More About: Abuse , Interactive
Common pitfalls that could sink your small business web design project
2008-09-23 23:57:00
Web projects are challenging. This is ? and always will be ? a fact of life for all of us that choose to endeavor to build them for a living. Our Zero-G team has worked on dozens of web sites in the last two years alone and we have all grown to accept this fact ...
More About: Business , Web Design , Design , Small Business , Strategy
A tale of two web sites
2008-08-31 04:24:00
I’m happy to say that my team and I ended our August and started the Labor Day weekend right with the launch of new web sites for two of our favorite clients. The clients are vastly different in their businesses; one in the real estate closing and title industry here in Atlanta and the other a ...
More About: Interactive , Web Sites , Sites , Tale
Something completely off-topic
2008-08-18 00:30:00
When people get to know me, it usually doesn’t take long for them to discover that I am a baseball fanatic and especially passionate about my hometown New York Yankees. By now, just about everyone that follows sports (and a great many who don’t) has heard that this will be the last year the Yanks take ...
More About: Random Thoughts , Topic
Quick thoughts on 2 unrelated online services
2008-08-16 00:16:00
This combined blog post about Twitter and QAlias came about half out of laziness and half because I didn’t think I’d have enough to say about each of these to warrant doing this in two posts. Let’s talk about Twitter. For those of you that don’t know, Twitter is a “micro-blog” where users blast out short ...
More About: Services , Random Thoughts , Interactive , Viral Marketing , Thoughts
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