Posts tagged "Guest Blogs"

Think Mobile First

By Debbie Bates, president of Bates Creative Group

Note from the DPS team: Today we are launching a story and video about how the U.S. Marine Corps used Digital Publishing Suite to build its iPad application. Marines worked with Bates Creative Group to develop and execute their publishing strategy. We invited Debbie Bates to blog about the collaboration with the Marines and transition from print to mobile.

We all know that the evolution of the digital world is not slowing down, if anything it’s progressively speeding up. While the publishing industry has its roots in print, and print isn’t dead or dying, mobile is the platform of the future and must be successfully integrated into the brand.

When you look at the statistics and analytics of all of the available digital formats, none compared to the projected success that the iPad could yield. As a self-proclaimed techie, with a 20+ year career in magazines, I knew that no other format could match-up to what the iPad had to offer. As we were consulting with the Marines on new channels for the publication, we saw the iPad as the future…and today that future has become a reality. Currently, US iPad sales are equivalent to 1 in 9 of the US population, and according to Comscore, 98% of tablet data usage in the US is coming from the iPad (as of February 2012).

 

Bates Creative Group is an Apple shop, we have loved Apple products before they were very consumer oriented. The success of the iPhone revolutionized the cell phone market. So it was our natural instinct to assume that the iPad would create its own type of revolution in the digital world. We saw the promise of the iPad and knew there was something special about what we could do with Marines Magazine. With the tablet format, the digital publication offered the Marines the benefit of social engagement as well as user interaction on a level that magazine publications have never before been able to offer to its audience.

There were definitely hurdles to get over going through the process of evolving the print magazine into a digital one. It’s all about change management, you will adjust because you need to. However, knowing that there are benefits to this evolution makes it worth going over all those hurdles.  A digital publication in the form of a tablet app has gamification elements that socially engage your audience in a fun and exciting new way. Through Facebook, Twitter, Google, their blog, website and all other channels involved, the digital magazine gives the Marines a weekly reach of about 3 million people. It also gives the Marines immediate feedback for every issue.

Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite fit into this strategy in many ways. We started by creating a custom app with an independent developer and then transitioned to using Adobe and the Digital Publishing Suite. Bates Creative uses Adobe products every single day, and we put our trust into those products. The combination of a tablet app magazine and Adobe DPS now gives readers the ability to view photographs in 360-degree views, videos and animations, all things that were not possible with a print issue. We trusted that Adobe would be on the forefront of tablet capabilities and knew that with cross-platform creation, DPS would be the perfect fit for the new Marines Magazine App. Since the creation of the mobile app, Marines Magazine has yielded great success. The app was recently named in a Top Ten List of government apps by InformationWeek. The Marines Magazine app deploys to both Apple iTunes and Google Play.

Since its first issue in 1915, Marines Magazine has always had the goal of reaching enlisted Marines around the world, and the print magazine was loved by all that received it. The idea of creating and publishing a digital version of the Magazine became a reality at the perfect time. Not long after the iPad version of the Magazine was published, the Department of Defense eliminated the budget for print publications. With the print budget gone, the Marines now fully rely on their digital presence to reach their audience. A digital publication that is available on mobile devices is now the way for the Marines to continue to get their content and stories out there. A free digital publication in the form of a tablet app broadens the audience and the ability for the Marine Corps to tell their story. They are now able to reach more people, including a younger audience and potential new recruits.

Debbie Bates-Schrott, President, Bates Creative Group
Debbie is the founder and chief communications strategist of Bates Creative Group. For more than 20 years, she has led award-winning teams in creative art direction, branding, magazine design and marketing collateral development. Debbie’s more than 70 design awards recognize her exceptional work for organizations as diverse as Cisco Systems, the American Marketing Association, the Land Trust Alliance, the Pentagon Memorial Fund and the U.S. Marine Corps.

Debbie has a strong understanding of marketing communications and design issues, and is intimately involved with every client project. She has a proven ability to anticipate changing business situations, make a rapid and accurate assessment of the opportunity, and respond with creative communications solutions. Debbie thrives in high-pressure, dynamic situations. http://batescreativegroup.com/

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Your Audience is the Center of Your Universe

By Debra Bates-Schrott, President
Bates Creative Group

Publishing today means your audience must be at the center of everything you do. This may present a paradigm shift in your thinking as a publication (or maybe it’s old news, if so, good for you!), prompting the question – “Wait, isn’t my content the center of my universe?” Yes and no. Your audience has changed, their media habits have changed, and the way they engage with your content has changed. For instance, a report from the Pew Research Center (“State of the News Media 2012“) shows that “27% of the U.S. adult population now gets their news on smartphones and tablets.” The report also lists that “70% of desktop/laptop owners report getting news on their computers, half of smartphone owners (51%) use their phones for news, and a majority of tablet owners (56%) use their devices for news.”

What does this mean?
Change your thinking and start your strategy with:

  1. Defining whom you’re talking to.
  2. Meeting them where they are.
  3. Giving them the content they want.
  4. Designing it so they can’t put it down.

How can you put this perspective into practice? As creative people we always want to start with the fun part, “design so they can’t put it down.”  But design only gets better if we do the other parts first and embrace a strategic approach. The right strategy starts with questions – Who is the audience? Are they using tablets? What do they want from your content?

The tablet question is THE question now, because the tablet market is undeniably exploding, reaching more and more consumers every day. In fact, Rick Levine, Condé Nast’s director of editorial operations, stated at this year’s South by Southwest Conference that all of the Condé Nast titles from Vogue and Arch Digest to Vanity Fair will have a tablet version by the end of 2012. “We like this technology so much that by the end of the year every magazine will have a digital edition,” he said.

It’s more important than ever to get up to speed on designing your publication for the tablet. At Bates Creative Group, we’ve refined our expertise in transforming publications from a print magazine to various other media platforms, and mastered the process of making a magazine’s tablet app its flagship media piece – all while using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.

Taken from our experience, here are the top eight considerations (you get the top ten when you hire us) to get your tablet vision and strategy headed in the right direction:

  1. If there is no difference between a PDF and the functionality of your tablet app, you’ve missed the mark.
  2. Your tablet app is not a “small version of your website.”
  3. Whenever possible “show don’t tell.” The tablet is perfect to tell your story through the use of video and interactive graphics. Be considerate of article length. For instance, a story that seems an average read in a printed magazine may be overwhelming on the tablet.
  4. It’s about “user experience” not reader experience. You cannot design apps without considering the tablet user.
  5. Consider the dynamics of the horizontal and vertical formats.
  6. Designing for tablets is a new way of thinking compared to print design.
  7. Let your users make you proud by sharing your work. Social media has the power to grow businesses. Make it cool and get your tablet users talking about it.
  8. During the planning stage, brainstorm how you can add interactivity to your content. Overlays and HTML 5 can make an app come alive.

Getting back to your audience – let’s say you build your tablet app and send it out into the world. How do you know if your design is a success? Measurement. Learn how the analytics work. It’s like a window into your audience. Learn from the data and interpret it so you can design better apps with user preferences as your first consideration. Learn what will drive the user from screen to screen and what drives engagement. This is a huge advantage of the app – real-time feedback on performance of your content, design and user experience. Now you can think of your publication as if it were in continual beta testing. This data should also drive everything from your editorial strategy to your photo selects. If you use this feedback effectively as a tool, you will undoubtedly keep improving your product and see your numbers climb.

This is very exciting time for publishers and designers. The world is open to us to explore and use new tools to deliver our stories as real experiences in amazing, memorable ways. I encourage all publishers and designers out there to keep pushing the envelope and to get your audience talking about your work.

Debbie Bates-Schrott, President, Bates Creative Group
Debbie is the founder and chief communications strategist of Bates Creative Group. For more than 20 years, she has led award-winning teams in creative art direction, branding, magazine design and marketing collateral development. Debbie’s more than 70 design awards recognize her exceptional work for organizations as diverse as Cisco Systems, the American Marketing Association, the Land Trust Alliance, the Pentagon Memorial Fund and the U.S. Marine Corps.

Debbie has a strong understanding of marketing communications and design issues, and is intimately involved with every client project. She has a proven ability to anticipate changing business situations, make a rapid and accurate assessment of the opportunity, and respond with creative communications solutions. Debbie thrives in high-pressure, dynamic situationshttp://batescreativegroup.com/

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6:10 PM Permalink