Finally, iPad, too!

March 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

When the original iPad came out last year, I decided that, for once, I’d wait for the second generation. I already used my iPhone for so many different things that I wasn’t sure what a tablet could add, other than a larger screen. As the year went by and I was able to experiment with friends’ iPads, I saw that content providers were finding new ways to exploit the tablet’s larger screen and capabilities to create engaging, interactive experiences that entertained, informed or both.


Maybe I'll give this back on my wife's actual birthday.

This is why my wife got an early birthday present on the day the iPad2 launched.

For the last two weeks I’ve been playing around with the iPad2, and I’ve been particularly interested in how magazines and newspapers are being translated to tablet form. The promise of the iPad was that it would do for reading what the iPod did for music: create renewed interest and greater accessibility. It also makes smaller publications more competitive with larger ones, by removing the overhead costs of printing and shipping.

Many magazine and newspaper publishers have been disappointed in the number of digital subscriptions they’ve sold, and it’s true the iPad and other tablets have not been an instant salvation for the print medium. Some of this is because of the economy, but I also think that publishers need to look at this as a way to create something new. I’ve found that there are those who “get” what the new technology has to offer and others who think it’s enough to present a PDF version of the printed version of their publication.

Here are my observations of things publishers should do and things they should avoid.

Delivery: Publishers need to make sure the content arrives with little effort once the consumer has subscribed. The latest issue should also arrive quickly or at least in stages so the reader doesn’t watch a progress bar.

Navigation: Having only a linked table of contents page won’t cut it. Find an interactive, well-designed way to present the articles. The Daily app features a carousel of pages that you can swipe through to see at a glance the stories offered. It also provides a menu that is accessible anywhere in the magazine allowing you to quickly move where you want to go.

Flow: Readers should be able to easily understand how to get to the next page or next article. “Dead ending” or coming to the end of an article or section and being required to back up is not acceptable. Understand the conventions already established in navigating on a tablet and stick with them.

Media Balance: The best tablet publications seem to understand that there needs to be a balance between “readable” and “watchable” content. There are some articles I’ll want to skim through to get the basic facts. That’s hard to do if everything is in video form. Some stories require additional information, and the best magazines offer graphs, photos and videos the reader can choose to activate. It’s important to let readers decide when they want to dig deeper.

Social Interactivity: Publications should provide clear ways that users can interact with others. Many articles have email, twitter or facebook links that make sharing information easy. It’s important that these features don’t take readers out of the magazine app, so  they can return to where they were.

Design: Not only should the design be pleasing and functional, but it should also allow for orientation changes. Whether or not the tablet is held horizontally or vertically, the layout should work. I’ve often found myself switching back and forth between orientation views and really appreciate the thought that goes into making the layout work either way. I prefer this to an application that locks the reader into holding the tablet a certain way.

Coming from a print background, I have an affinity for ink on paper and believe that presses will still be running for many years to come. I do believe, however, that as publishers become better at harnessing the abilities of the tablets, coupled with the combination of text, video and interactivity they can provide, this platform will become a preferred method for content delivery. I’m excited about creating advertising and marketing elements for the iPad and look forward to what the future brings.

Art Shirley
Creative Director


Sponsorship Evaluation and Negotiation Tips

March 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

In today’s lean economy, companies are being smarter with their marketing dollars. Or are they?

Sports marketing and sponsorships are cool ways to position companies, products, or brands.  Businesses of all sizes are approached for their sponsorship support of a sport or team. Whether it’s a local ball team, charity event, or a college or professional team, the opportunities are plenty.

Emotions can end up driving the decision making because of loyalty to a team or charity. The real question: Is everyone benefiting? The team, and your business?

Tips when evaluating a sponsorship:

• If the sponsorship is presented in a packaged deal, you don’t always have to buy the entire package. Ask for line item sponsorship opportunities.

• Be able to answer what the sponsorship is doing to help your brand, or sell your product.

• Be creative with your sponsorship. If you have an idea, present it to the team or charity. Remember, the ball’s in your court!

• Look for ways to capitalize on your involvement by inviting customers to the event, having a booth, and giving away product samples or promotional products.

• Ask for perks that do not cost the presenter anything – announcement of sponsor recognition during the event; logo on posters or website presence; affiliation through social media: permission to use event, team, or charity logo in your advertising efforts as a proud sponsor; the opportunity to make a brief presentation to the audience, etc.

• Finally, if the support is for a charity in which you believe, the true value is in your ability to give.

Quest Group has worked in the sports marketing arena for over 15 years – from golf tournaments and bull riding championships to Southeastern Conference sport sponsorship fulfillments.  For more information on negotiation and fulfillment services, contact Cindy Hodo.

Cindy Hodo


A tangible difference…

March 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Smart phones. iPads. FaceBook posts. Tweets. Email.  The world wide web. With communication as we know it going digital in almost every way, shape, and form — what happens to the print medium?  And is it still an effective way to get your message out to your target audience?

From the beginning of any kind of electronic media, print has always felt a threat.  When radio came along in the early 1930’s, people thought newspapers would become obsolete.  When television appeared in the 1950’s, again it was rumored that the written word would fall to the wayside.  However, what has happened is that each has carved its own niche in the world of communication.

That’s not to say that the world of publishing isn’t in a transition from print to digital media.  Many books and magazines are making that conversion right now.  But print is still a very viable means of communication within a marketing plan.  As fast, flashy, and flexible as digital media is, there will always be a need for a physical piece of printed marketing collateral or other documentation. There’s just something about holding an object in your hand. It makes it real, solid. A newspaper is brand new every day. Different stories, different images. And you can touch it, hold it. It’s a far cry from holding the same PDA or sitting at the same computer day in and day out even though their content may change.

Here is some our work – not that you can get the full effect on a computer! :)

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