Thursday, September 19, 2019

Week 5A: Defining Your Target Market


I chose to compare Myrle Creek and Armstrong Gardens.  Both are nurseries where plants are sold, but they are also both much more than that.  Both companies would have target markets in their late 20s through 40s because that is when most people are keen on gardening.  These consumers would be very nature oriented and interested in growing their own flowers and produce. Both companies also have rich local histories and have aspects of their companies that would be geared toward history buffs.  Eco friendly gardeners who are interested in shopping locally would enjoy both of these companies. 

Armstrong creek has a very colorful website.  The images are front and center and you are bombarded with pictures of flowers as soon as you enter the site.  It is very easy to use and allows buyers to make purchases online.  It has a very in depth history section in their About Us portion of their website.  The target market for them would definitely be costumers that want to shop at a company that has a widely known name.  A company that is known for its quality and has a very large selection.  The call to action on this page would be the flowers that are advertised specifically for special occasions, prompting people to shop so they are prepared for such events.

Myrtle Creek is geared more towards families.  They have a very wholistic image and feel to their website and many pictures.  Because of the white and brown contrast, the first thing you notice is their beautiful logo.  They also have their hours clearly listed, and links clearly posted for other parts of the site.  This company is less about the products they sell and more about the experience of shopping.  They have a bird and butterfly sanctuary, a giftshop, as well as a cafĂ© on property to eat their local produce.  Many of the pictures on this site have children or child friendly imagery.  Much more of the content on these pages is imagery, there is more pictures and less words that Armstrong Gardens.  Also, while Armstrong Gardens would be for customers that are avid gardeners, Myrtle creek would be more for nature lovers and families looking for a peaceful afternoon.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Week 4B: Frequently Visited Websites



Justfab is an online clothing subscription service.  Their website is very user friendly and the home page provides the perfect amount of content.  Members log on every month to see selections chosen for them of styles they might be most interested in.  They include individual garments and shoes, as well as suggested outfits. 

The concept of the page is very clear. The first thing you see is a banner with a picture of the latest trends with a link for the most resent additions to their page (right now its “the best of fall”).  They then use repetition throughout the page with color, print, and styles to reiterate the current trends.

There is very little written content on the page, which is perfect considering the pictures speak for themselves.  A majority of what is images of shoes and garments, suggested styles, and todays latest trends.  When you’re shopping, too many words can distract from what you’re really there for.

The alignment of the page is simple and clean which allows optimal viewing of the products.  The page has very little distraction with simple fonts and colors.  The contrast of black, white and grey, with a pop of dark red, keeps from distracting viewers form the images as well.

The thing that makes me go back to the page is that I like the subscription.  I like going on every month and having the things that I’m most likely to buy be the first things I see.  This way I don’t need to hunt through the site to find the content I haven’t already seen.  I really enjoy the ease of use and the placement of the content on the page.  There really isn’t anything I would change.




DailyOM is a website with courses in exercise, yoga, and meditation.  The first thing you notice when you go to the site is the image.  There is a new image every day and the hierarchy places it as the thing you see first on the page.  The image is always something to promote relaxation, which is exactly what you’re looking for if you are on this website.

The second thing you’ll notice is the  contrast.  A white background and black letters to highlight the name of the site, and “today’s inspiration”.  New inspirations are written every day, just a few paragraphs of something nice to think about to start off your day.  The words themselves are hidden and you need to click on a button to show the paragraphs.  This keeps the content on the page simple and keeps the words from distracting from everything else.

The rest of the page is aligned in a grid with links to many different courses you can take.  The page is simple and clean.  Each course has its title and a related image.  There are dozens of courses on the page.  That is one thing I think they could maybe do better.  There does tend to be a distracting number of courses on the page.  It might be better if they only had the newest courses and the most popular courses listed.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Week 4A: Aesthetics, Design, and Branding


Negative:


The first problem with this page is that there is far too much content on the home page.  There is also no way to distinguish which information is supposed to be the most important.  There are an abundance of buttons and links, but when you press on them, there is no continuity or repetition between the pages.  Some of the links bring you to completely different websites.  The site is not at all easy to use.  There isn’t even a home button to help you find your way back once you get lost.  The colors and massive amount of content make it confusing and not aesthetically pleasing in the slightest. 

If there were fewer links on the page, fewer websites linked to this site, and just less information in general, this page would work better.  The only information that is obtainable is in a random column in the center and could be made much more visually appealing.  Creating a theme that moves throughout the site, from page to page, will also help people be able to tell when they’ve gone to another page on the site, or to another site all together.  A home button could also be added for ease of use.



Like Jami Lin, this page has far too much content on it.  The placement of the links and proximity of the links in no way help decipher a hierarchy of content.  You cannot tell what is the most important and what you are supposed to click on.  The left side panel has an absurd amount of buttons on it and pictures appear to be thrown haphazardly around the place.  The vast number of links to other pages makes it difficult to use and look cluttered.  Everything looks the same, so it would be difficult to find what you’re actually looking for.  

If they had things organized in a more simplistic manor, it would be easier to look at one piece of information at once.  If they found a way to get rid of some of the buttons on the left hand side of the page, it would make the page look much less overwhelming.  Being more selective of the placement of pictures, and removing some of the links will help make the page look much more organized.



Positive:


I would go to this hair salon, just based off the design of their website.  There is the perfect amount of contrast.  Calming header contrasting with a bold video.  This site is very aesthetically pleasing, with a simple, sleek look and the perfect amount of content.  The few links at the top bring you to specific pages with concise, important information.  It makes you feel relaxed and at ease.  The way you want to feel at a hair salon.  This page was very easy to use, and very nice to look at.




The first thing you notice when you get on to the home page of Apple, is the great contrast.  White words against a black back ground.  They continue the contrast trend throughout with bold blacks and whites with bright colors mixed in.  All of the written content is aligned with the photographs, instead of the photographs being aligned with the words.  This gives us a clear hierarchy of content over sales pitch.  They make it clear what the product is.  They don’t need to sell it to us because we already know what it is.  They just provide us with a site that is easy to use so we can buy what we have come here for.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Week 3B: Social Media Presence


Forever21:


Facebook: Last used august 22nd, with about 3 posts a month.

Instagram: Last posted September 8th at around 8 am.  They had posted 5 posts in the past 24 hours.

YouTube: Last posted 2 weeks ago, with about 5-10 videos posted a month.

Pinterest: Last saved on September 8th.  They have 519k followers.

Twitter: Last posted august 30th.  They sometimes go weeks with out posting, then post a dozen in one day.

Analysis: Forever21 has a very strong social media presence, but they don’t post as often as I expected.  Out of the 5 they post less on Facebook and twitter than 3 of the other companies.  It is clear they have chosen Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube to be their most frequently used social media platforms.



Urban Outfitters:


Instagram: Last posted September 8th at 6:30 am with 4 posts in 24 hours.

Facebook: Last posted September 8th at 6:30 am with 4 posts in 24 hours.

Pinterest: The layout did not provide any time stamps.

Twitter: Last posted last posted September 8th at 8 am with 7 posts in 24 hours.

Snapchat: They did not have a current story.

Tumblr: The layout didn’t provide any time stamps.

YouTube: Last posted 2 weeks ago.  They post 5-10 videos a month.

Analysis: Out of the five companies I chose, urban outfitters uses the most social media platforms.  While some of them didn’t provide time stamps, the ones that did show that Urban Outfitters not only uses the most platforms but uses its platforms the most frequently.  I would say out of the 5 they have the strongest, most beneficial social media presence.



Skatie:


Facebook: Last posted March 4th.  They posted 1 to 2 a month until then.

Pinterest: Last saved 2 years ago with only 3 followers.

Instagram: Last posted September 8th, with posts daily.

Analysis:  I found Skatie’s social media use interesting.  The only social media platform they use frequently is Instagram.  They also do a lot of their advertising on Instagram.  That is how I found out about the company to begin with.  They do have a successful, strong presence on Instagram.  As a small company it seems like it might have paid off to be very good on one social media platform, instead of mediocre on many platforms.



Free People:


Instagram: Last posted September 8th at with 3 posts in 24 hours.

Facebook: Last posted September 8th with 3 posts in 24 hours, different content than Instagram.

Pinterest: Last saved 22 hours ago

Twitter: Last posted September 8th with 3 posts in 24 hours.  These posts had the same content as Facebook.

YouTube: Last posted 2 months ago with 2-3 videos posted a month

Analysis: Free people had a similar social media presence to forever21 and Urban Outfitters.  One thing I noticed about free people was that even though they posted the same amount, and at similar times, more of the content was different between social media platforms, instead of duplicating posts platform to platform.



Dollhouse Boutique


Facebook: Last posted September 6th with posts almost every day.

Instagram: Last posted September 5th with posts almost every day, the same content as Facebook.

Pinterest: last saved on September 7th.

Analysis: I was surprised how successfully such a small company was able to maintain such a consistent presence on social media.  While they only have 3 platforms that they use, each one posts almost every single day.



For this assignment I chose 5 different apparel companies to research.  My goal is to start a women’s apparel company so I chose some large well-known brands, as well as some smaller brands that would be more likely competitors.  Social media is a huge part of the fashion industry.  Being able to post images of designs, lines and inspiration so accessibly on the internet is a huge benefit for clothing companies today.

Out of the things I learned, what I found most interesting was the difference between the large companies and small companies.  The massive, well-known companies like Forever21, Urban Outfitters, and Free People have numerous social media platforms while the smaller companies used fewer.  The smaller the company the fewer social media platforms were utilized. 

As an independent designer, it gives me an idea of the future expectations of my social media presence for my future company.  It let me know what is effective.  Although Skatie only uses Instagram, they have a successful enough presence that random people, like me, still know about them.  They make their company known in a simple straightforward way.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Week 3A: Communication - Business & Consumer


I personally have never had an negative experience with a company that was at all effected by social media.  I am not an avid social media user, which could be why.  I did have difficulty communicating with CVS recently.  I had called them about a prescription to see if it was filled ad they told me it couldn’t be filled because it wasn’t covered by my insurance and that to have it filled would cost me $1000 dollars.  My doctors office had gotten a prior authorization and I knew it was covered but the pharmacist was insistent that my doctors were wrong.  They said it was not at all covered and there was “no way” my insurance would cover it.  I called my doctor and they told me the pharmacist was wrong.  I called CVS and got the same pharmacist and the same answer.  My doctor called, got a different pharmacist who said there was no problem, the first pharmacist had been wrong and they’d have the prescription filled for me in 2 hours.

I was a really stressful situation and I did end up making a post on Facebook.  A lot of my Facebook friends commented and said they had had similar experiences.  If CVS  was using Facebook to “listen” to their customers, even if they didn’t respond, they could have used the information we all posted to make sure situations like that don’t happen in the future.

I have, on the other hand, had a positive experience with a company on social media.  I had been looking for a new bathing suit and an advertisement for an online shop called Skatie showed up on my Instagram.  I clicked on the link to bring me to the shop and I was really impressed.  They made many of the bathing suits to order and had very clear information about the fit of the bathing suits.  I don’t know a single woman who has not had problems finding clothes, especially bathing suits, that fit properly so I was really excited.  But I still wasn’t sure exactly what size to choose.  They had contact information specifically for fit questions, and the options were through email, direct message on Instagram, or even texting.  I had an easy time getting in contact with them, I gave them my measurements, and they helped me pick sizes.  I bought a suit I was really happy with.

My goal is to start a similar company with made to order clothing for all types of women.  This was such an appealing way to interact with a brand to find exactly what I wanted.  I think using social media in the same way as Skatie would really benefit my future company.  It is especially hard to find clothes that fit online.  It would also be an easy way to make custom orders over the internet possible.  Having such a direct connection with customers in social media would make it easy to “listen” and intervene whenever possible to give the best possible service.  Positive feedback can be responded to so the customers know how much we appreciate their feedback.  Negative feedback can also be responded to make the guest happy.  In the restaurant industry they call it “guest recovery”.  Making sure they receive the service they’ll need to become a repeat customer.  Social media platforms are a perfect way to intervene and make sure the customer gets exactly what they need.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Week 2A: Social Media: Personal vs Business


As far as social media goes, there are many platforms that are intended for personal use.  Some are better for business, and a lot of them function well for both.  Tumblr, Pinterest and Snapchat are some of many social media platforms geared toward personal use.  They are all used to keep track of and share personal things on the internet.  Whether it is sharing day to day events or interests, or using them as a form of communication, they were started so people can interact with each other on a personal level.  They are all ways to share personal interests with other people and are platforms used less for advertising and people promoting businesses.

Some social media platforms that are used more for businesses would be LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  LinkedIn specifically is used the most for businesses.  It is used to connect businesses with individuals who may be looking for a job, or who may make a good addition to their team.  The other three platforms, interestingly enough, were started with personal use in mind and have transformed into platforms for both personal, as well as business purposes.

Facebook, twitter, and Instagram are all social media platforms that have transformed into very effective ways for businesses to gain information that will help their sales and marketing, as well as the marketing its self.  Facebook especially gives them the ability to make a page for your business to share with others.  Facebook and Instagram have become extremely popular places to post advertisements.  If you see an advertisement for something you like, you click on it and it brings your directly to the page you can purchase it from.

Instagram gives businesses the opportunity to promote themselves, creating interesting, artistic pages to promote their products in ways that can produce more followers and brand loyalty.  Twitter functions in similar ways, allowing businesses to use words instead of images to capture the interest of consumers.  These platforms are slightly different from Facebook, because businesses often interact with consumers on a more personal level.

It is fairly clear which social media platforms are most effective for marketing and advertising.  Part of the reason they work, is due to the fact that it allows businesses to connect with an abundance of consumers, while still interacting in more personal ways.  Today creating a following and a loyal customer base can be completely dependent on a businesses use of social media.