No power. Never have two little words meant so much, especially in regards to the recent devastating hurricane damage dominating our newsfeeds — and the occasional local electricity disruptions we have been experiencing in our locale. To consider that thirty-four percent of American households have only wireless telephones, (according to the most recent data from the National Health Interview Survey, recorded late 2011) that’s a lot of people who might be lining up at the pay phone during a long power outage.
So with our incredible dependency on the electric grid to keep our gadgets and cell phones going, I’ve gathered a list of some alternatives to help you power up: enough to keep you juiced up in a major (or minor) emergency or just to make sure you have enough battery potency to meet your friends at the right place for Happy Hour.
- This portable USB power pack is about the size of a credit card — so long as you’ve remembered to keep your charger charged — this can keep your phone working during long days on the go.
- A functional double duty iPhone case that’s also a back-up battery: adding up to 6 hours of extra talk time.
- Solar battery chargers are plentiful, and practical not just for sunny weather residents.
- Let’s not forget the combo mini-wind/solar/handcrank charger!
- Bicycle chargers, this one also charges your bike lights.
- Emergency single battery charger. A single AA battery charger is small enough to fit in your emergency kit or your handbag.
- This super-useful hand-crank generator gets my vote as it takes 120 volts so all kinds of devices can be plugged in.
And, if this ever gets off the ground to become a simple practical application, then we’ll never run out of power, will we?
What do the above words have in common? They must be something to do with the impending global big business/sporting event you think to yourself. Although, if you are a British business or organization and dare to use one or more words from the left column combined with one or more from the right column in any form of ambush marketing/promotion then you will be liable to be fined up to 20,000 quid. It has become a criminal act to use these common nouns as well as any depiction of the Olympic “rings” be it in floral, bagel, sausage or hula-hoop form. Almost 300 purple-hatted “Advertisement Enforcement Officers” will ensure only “official” sponsors get to use these particular phrases.
The exclusive deals of McDonald’s, Visa, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Dow, Samsung, and the games’ other multi-million-dollar sponsors with the British government have essentially wiped away free speech. It doesn’t stop there either, turn up as a spectator wearing your Pepsi t-shirt (or other official sponsors’ competitor-themed item) then you have a good chance of being turned away. If you actually manage to get in & decide to film any part of the Olympics & upload to Twitter or Facebook, then, unbelievably, you will be breaking the law.
So, what to do when free-market capitalism is starting to look like a corporate dictatorship with its own brand army? Bring on all the clever & witty strategies you can think of to subvert these Draconian laws and support freedom of expression! Let the Games begin.
On the heels of a successful online annual report, Baker launched a completely rebranded corporate website for Leap Wireless this month. Designed to provide deeper information and tell the Leap/Cricket story consistently to all audiences, the new website features enhanced content and functionality across four broad categories: Who We Are, Investors, Newsroom, and Careers. The site is powered by a content management system that enables quick and easy updates. And while it remains true to the corporate brand, the site design is cohesive with Leap’s newly revamped consumer brand Cricket, as seen on its website, mycricket.com, as well as other commercial, in-store and co-branded touchpoints on and off the web. Check it out here.
Baker and Leap have partnered on the following initiatives:
Six employee engagements videos
2011 annual review—online and print
In a landscape where many companies are struggling for the biggest possible piece of the consumer wireless market, Leap Wireless has made great strides in the past year. They expanded their device offerings in response to growing smartphone demand, went from regional to national coverage, introduced a groundbreaking music subscription service in a market that has, for the past decade or more, been dominated only by Apple, and made it all happen for their “True Rate” all-inclusive pricing plans. I know… it sounds like we’re advertising, but we’re not. We think they’ve done some great things, and we helped bring their story to their stakeholders with an online annual report designed to deploy in both Flash-based and non-Flash-based environments. Check it out at leapwireless.com/ar2010—and by the way, it’s mobile compliant!
The battle for web supremacy took a new turn this week with the official announcement of the long-talked about Google+, the search engine giant’s latest foray into the social networking space. But unlike Google’s previous and ill-conceived attempt, Buzz, Google+ has generated some early excitement, with tech-savvy early adopters wrangling for invitations (including buying them off ebay for upwards of $75/pop) like they were Willy Wonka’s golden tickets.
So what exactly is Google+? The short answer is that it’s a social network, with a lot of similarities to Facebook. But it also has some interesting features which are all grounded in the concept of connecting with and sharing different information with different circles of friends. Yes, creating groups and lists is nothing new. But Google+ does it in a way that is more intuitive and fun. It also represents somewhat of a new approach for the company. Rather than organizing the Internet by information as Google has famously professed to do in the past, Google+ organizes it around people. Specifically, targeted groups of people that you already know through tools like group video chatting, texting, photo sharing and (of course) searching for content. And perhaps its coolest feature is the toolbar that will appear across all Google properties and allow you to easily share content with your circles of friends across the web.
As social networkers have grown (47% of adults now use a social networking site) and people have discovered that most of their Facebook “friends” don’t really qualify as friends in the traditional sense, Facebook is suffering some growing pains. The social web, in many ways, is just like high school. Once practically everyone was a member of the Facebook club, the cool kids moved on — to other sites like Twitter, by creating private Facebook profiles under different names that only a select group of “real” friends know about, or else by just not posting anything of consequence or as frequently — leaving news feeds all over the world with primarily Farmville updates, offensive political rants from distant cousins and chain letter-type status updates.
Which is where Google+ has been smart. They are launching Google+ slowly, and by invitation-only. And just like high school, nothing makes people want something more than knowing that not just anyone can have it. Now whether or not they will experience long-term success and truly become a Facebook Killer once the initial “new car smell” wears off remains to be seen. But as this week’s $35 million sale of former social networking giant MySpace shows, anything is possible.
Baker had the opportunity to flex our storytelling muscles in a whole new way this past summer—by helping Qualcomm create a corporate museum in commemoration of their 25th anniversary.
From the outset it was clear that this was going to be a project to remember. First, we only had 3 months to create an entire museum. From scratch. It had to appeal to girl scout troops, engineers with multiple PhDs and everyone in between. Clearly we were going to need to apply some serious cross-disciplinary knowledge to get it all done. Along with some other skills they don’t exactly teach you in design school (like digging through 25 years of storage room boxes to decide what was worth displaying). But nothing gets us more motivated and excited than doing something that seems (on the surface) to be impossible.
But despite the challenges, we knew that the basic principles of corporate storytelling still applied. Sure, we needed to create signage, write copy, design and develop interactive touch screens and produce video spots. But most importantly we needed museum visitors to go on a journey with us. To come away with an understanding of what is at the core of Qualcomm’s extraordinary success story—something that we termed the “What if moment”—which is that every great innovation comes from someone first asking the question, “What if…?”
Thousands of hours (and cups of coffee) later, we were there as Qualcomm cut the ribbon and opened their brand-new museum. Once again proving that when the right team comes together, “What if” eventually turns into “What is.”
In early November I will be speaking at the Senior Corporate Communications Management Conference, with this years theme being Strategies and Solutions for a Changing Business Landscape. I’ll be discussing a concept that lies at the heart of the Baker philosophy; Make it real.
Recent global turmoil in the social, economic and political landscape has made people more suspicious, skeptical and critical of what they see and hear from companies and institutions. Compounding the situation is the din of corporate messages and media competing for the attention of audiences who mistrust anything that appears complicated, scripted or “spun.” The net effect poses a challenge for any organization wanting to reach and influence these increasingly jaded audiences.
Now more than ever, companies must communicate with simplicity, transparency and humility to be seen as believable and credible. Their stories must be memorable, genuine and from the heart to engage and resonate with today’s audiences.
During the presentation, I am going to demonstrate how to make your company’s story real and relatable to your audiences. And in doing so, discover how to create meaningful, enduring connections that can move the hearts and minds of people who matter to you most.
We’re celebrating another year of being in business.
And what a difference a year makes! We’ve aggressively expanded our digital capabilities, adding a talented Web and video director, Tony Tharae, to our team and producing great work like Qualcomm’s corporate overview video. We’ve entered an exciting new chapter in our history and can’t wait to begin another promising year filled with the optimism and laughter that has kept us alive for the past 26.
Clearly, we couldn’t have done any of this without the people who make it possible—our supportive clients and dedicated Baker colleagues.
Thank you, all!
Los Angeles-based Grandpoint Bank launched on June 30, featuring a new identity designed by Baker. Prior to the launch, the Baker team worked with the founders to create a platform that reflected not only their deep industry expertise but also their service philosophy of highly personalized banking: helping clients achieve financial success through a spectrum of customized services accessible through one point of contact.
Baker used this platform to build the visual components of the program. In addition to a new logo and tagline, the elements included proprietary brand imagery, stationery, signage, collateral and a website — all for which Baker created a distinct look-and-feel that could extend effectively and consistently across customer touch points.
Read the case study or Grandpoint’s launch press release.
This year Baker took the Qualcomm’s corporate overview project and asked to create an online media story – one that would tell the Qualcomm story on a personal level. Baker wrote, designed and programmed the online corporate overview taking into consideration video, motion, informational graphics and other functionality to bring Qualcomm’s story to life, taking the user experience to the next level. Within the first 90 seconds of the introduction video, Baker humanizes Qualcomm’s technology through individual experiences with it. Baker has been able to effectively demonstrate the revolutionary power of accelerated mobility, connecting it to the human experience – the way the people interact today and in the future.
After working with Qualcomm designing annual reports for the last 10 years, the online corporate overview marks the end of a transition. Beginning in 2007 with broadening the Qualcomm audience using the annual report with an accompanying online annual report, to now, having a robust, full-featured microsite that is wholey indicative to the online environment. Check out more of the relationship Baker and Qualcomm have shared here.