Viewstream Discusses Skeuomorphic Design


Here at Viewstream we are very interested in design trends. So one afternoon we put the entire company on pause to talk about a favorite topic — the future of skeuomorphism. Our design team gave an internal presentation that explored the rapid evolution of this design trend since touchscreens became an everyday part of our lives, from the first iPhone, to iOS 7, and beyond. We also discussed how skeuomorphism impacts our experience of User Interfaces and our senses of reality, objectivity, and perfection.

Check out the visual portion of our design team’s presentation here.


Exploring New Ground with the Oculus Rift

Joel with the Oculus Rift!

Elekta, a leader in clinical solutions for radiosurgery and radiation therapy, recently completed construction on a state-of-the-art learning center in Atlanta, Georgia—the company’s North American headquarters. The Learning and Innovation Center (LINC) is expected to draw clinicians, researchers, and health IT professionals for education, training, and collaboration on Elekta’s solutions for treating cancer and brain disorders.

To help generate awareness, Viewstream created an interactive, virtual tour of the LINC facility that can be explored using the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Elekta invited attendees of the ASTRO 2013 conference to wear the Oculus Rift and experience the Learning and Innovation Center in virtual reality. To help build a buzz, the virtual tour was promoted before and after the conference through Elekta’s social channels, including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. In the end, the virtual tour received overwhelming positive responses from both the client and the conference attendees.

Viewstream created the LINC virtual tour using Autodesk Maya, the Unity game engine, and the Oculus Rift developer’s kit. The visual model was created in Autodesk Maya, using a combination of photos, videos, and blueprints of the facility. The model was then imported into the Unity game engine, where it was given physics, movement, and lighting. Finally, the resulting program was calibrated with the Oculus Rift headset using the product’s developer kit to create the interactive, virtual tour.

Check out a preview of the virtual tour:

Viewstream Recognized for Creative Excellence

Viewstream was recently presented with six 2013 Communicator Awards by the International Academy of Visual Arts (IAVA) and three Telly Awards by the Telly Council. Our video Dabble: Make History, featuring iPad and iPhone product captures, received a Gold Award for Excellence. Three videos created for Microsoft garnered Silver Communicator Awards of Distinction and three Bronze Telly Awards. Additional videos for Autodesk also earned Silver Communicator Awards.

We were up against some serious competition—6,000 entries were submitted to the IAVA and 11,000 to the Telly council. Participants included ad agencies, interactive agencies, production firms, in-house creative professionals, graphic designers, design firms and public relations firms.

The Communicator Awards is the leading international creative awards program honoring creative excellence for communication professionals. Founded more than a decade ago, the annual competition recognizes the best in advertising, corporate communications, public relations and identity work for print, video, interactive and audio.

The Telly Awards is the premier award honoring outstanding local and regional cable television commercials and programs, video and film productions and web commercials. Winning entries represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world.

We’d like to congratulate all of our fellow Communicator and Telly Award recipients and thank them for their important contributions to the industry.

Ethnography for Business

Ethnography has become a buzz word. A lot of companies claim to do “Ethnography” or offer it as a service. However, most of the companies offering ethnography services are just market research firms and what they are offering is basically “fancy” surveys and focus groups. In terms of agencies, a lot of agencies offer “ethnography” as part of their services, but usually they are bringing in outside consultants to do this (i.e. they have no one with an anthropology background on staff). Also, in most cases this is an adjunct to the standard branding, marketing, and design services as opposed to a unique focus.

Several of MDC companies noted their “ethnographic” work, but none actually listed an anthropologist on staff. Red Associates is the only agency I could find oriented towards selling Anthropology qua Anthropology and have an actual Anthropologist on staff. Most of the other real business ethnography, anthropology companies are small consulting firms. Ethnographic Solutions being a good example.

Red Associates
Red is a NY/Copenhagen based company that mixes social sciences and marketing. They broadly categorize their services as “Applied Business Anthropology”.

From website:
Who We Are

ReD Associates is an innovation and strategy consultancy. The anthropologists, sociologists, economists, journalists, and designers who make up ReD employ the methods of social science to study human behavior.

Our teams in Copenhagen and New York work together to develop deep insights into how and why consumers make decisions. We use these insights both to see the world in more compassionate and complex ways—and to identify new opportunities for our clients.

We benefit hugely from having a very international staff: Our diversity of perspectives enables us to ask culturally relevant questions and explore the world in open-ended ways.

In our practice we employ methods and ways of thinking from two domains—social scientific practices from ethnography, market analysis from traditional business practice—to provide clients with clear and comprehensive directions for moving forward.

Ethnographic Solutions
DC based Market Research company. The principals are all Anthropologists from respectable backgrounds. Looking at their services they have found some interesting ways of applying their skills beyond the usual “market survey”.

From their website:
-Physician-Patient Dialogue
-Sales Representative Ethnography
-Day in Life Customer Ethnography
-Employee-Customer Dialogue
-Consumer Unmet Needs
-Positioning & Platform Research
-Message Testing & Story Flow
-Creative Concept Testing
-Visual & Sales Aid Testing
-Medical Device Testing
-Consumer Buying Process
-Disease Exploratory Research
-Customer Tracking Research

Viewstream Research

As part of our research group, we are publishing a few overviews of interesting companies in the social media space.

Altimeter Group is not a marketing company, rather a research/consultancy company (Powerpoint company). Think Boston Consulting or Bain mixed with Gartner or Forrester, focus is “Social Business” which includes social media aimed towards customers but also includes how organizations are internally organized and how information is shared within a company. In some cases this can mean using social media tools internally, but it can also mean creating whole new org charts for large organizations.

Their model is essentially as follows: produce a large number of free report’s which are then use to leverage engagements in advisory, speaking or strategy.

For advisory, this is be the classic consulting job. Called in to provide research and outside eyes on a project. Classically consulting in large organizations to displace blame. i.e. idea fails well expert consultants said it would work.

For speaking, past topics include:

  • Hot or Not: Deciding Which Disruptive Technologies Matter
  • Creating a Coherent Social Strategy
  • The Future of Social Networks
  • Convincing Your Curmudgeon — Getting Executive Buy-In for Your Social

For strategy, Altimeter has published on:

  • Get Engaged With Your Customers (or Employees)
  • Recruiting an Unpaid Army for Word of Mouth
  • The Customer of the Future
  • Developing a Mobile Strategy for the Whole Customer Lifecycle
  • Developing — and Investing — in a Social CRM Strategy
  • Rethinking Innovation in Your Enterprise Strategy
  • It’s the People Stupid: Designing a Social Experience
  • Funding an Enterprise Strategy
  • Career Path of the Corporate Social Strategist
  • Developing a Scalable Social Strategy

Some great reports here:

All altimeter reports are released under  a creative commons license so you can pull their slides and use them in your own presentations as long as you give them credit.

Keeping Up with the Booklicants – Facebook Advertising Tips

Viewstream does a lot of Facebook advertising  for key accounts. Through analyzing a lot of data, we have noticed this phenomenon of the “Booklicant”. The signature behavior of this type of user is characterized by clicking on hundreds of ads merely to collect images of things that they like. Taking an empathetic approach, we assume the user benefits by increasing their ‘like’ score, as well as self-expression and time passing.

So how do you “Keep up with the Booklicants”? Better targeting. Facebook has several key targeting areas that can be utilized, including interests, geography and even contact lists. Experiment with those areas and you ought to see better results.

Truly Understanding Your Target Audience

“Behind every decision to buy –whether the item is a service or a product, an argument or an idea—is an unspoken emotional motivation. This is the hidden agenda,” writes business development expert and long time advertising professional, Kevin Allen, in his insightful book The Hidden Agenda: A Proven Way to Win Business and Create a Following.

The author describes how important it is for companies and brands to make a connection with their followers through discovering and understanding the hidden agenda of their customers.

One area of the book that can be really beneficial is his take on targeting. A lot of times we get hung up in the analytical side of targeting, and lose a powerful side of targeting which is the more emotional, creative, and aspirational in focus.

Taking a cue from politics, Allen develops the notion of the conceptual target—a way by which you can develop a powerful emotional definition of your audience. An example would be a “Soccer Mom.” This singular concept nicely sums up the motivations and aspirations of the target, and provides instant demographic and psychographic sensibilities.

Allen says, “In the pursuit of the Marriott business, no matter whether the person was staying at the JW, their topflight property, and spending several hundred dollars a night, or they were staying at Fairfield, the emotional composition of that audience were called Road Warriors, people who are out there selling for their companies.”

For business marketers, there is a lot to learn by rounding out our audience understanding in a more creative, conceptual and aspirational way.

And for fun, and outstanding commercial taking the emotional/aspirational approach:

Video Testimonials

Viewstream Video Testimonials communicate the benefits of an offering through the voice of the customer. It allows marketers to reach across the sales cycle by building demand and driving sales through discovery, promoting brand awareness, and validating the solution. Video Testimonials can be critical to demonstrating how the solution is applicable in the real world. The combination of story and concrete details provide a strong approach toward inspiring prospects to action.

Check out the link to view the latest Video Testimonials that Viewstream produced: