Monthly Archives: May 2011 | Page 2 | Force 5
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Monthly Archives: May 2011

May
11

Another Superman in Metropolis

Posted on May 11, 2011 by butch

Look, up in the sky!  Actually, it's not a bird or a plane - it's David Morgan, one of our principals here at Force 5.  David is away this week in Metropolis, Illinois, the home of DC Comics hero, Superman.

If you've ever met David Morgan, it won't take long for you to figure out that he has developed some pretty amazing super powers:  teacher, video producer, airport commissioner, and EMT.  You'll also learn quickly that he and his partner, Deb DeFreeuw are active and passionate advocates of animals.

This is King. He was found on top of a floating refrigerator.

Because of his passion for helping creatures that cannot help themselves, David recently added to his list of super powers by becoming certified  in pet rescue  through Noah's Wish, an organization that helps recover lost animals in natural disasters.  In the wake of the floods that are ripping through the Mississippi River corridor,  Noah's Wish has been called into action to build an animal rescue shelter in Metropolis for animals that have been displaced as a result of the disaster.

David is in Metropolis as I post this helping families and their lost pets become reunited.  Way to go Superman!  Pup, pup, and Away!

May
10

The Importance of Negative Keywords

Posted on May 10, 2011 by ddefreeuw

I was surfing yesterday, catching up on news. I noticed an article about a man who was grieving the loss of his wife years after her death. Having experienced the loss of a loved one taken too early and overwhelming grief, I decided to read the article.

The article went on to review the circumstances that lead to the woman’s death after having received a series of chiropractic adjustments to her neck and then suffering a stroke. While reading this very sad story, I happened to glance at the ads in the right hand column of the page. There were two Google ads, the first was “#1 Tool for Chiropractors (Free Video) How to get people to become patients in your office.”  Ok, so maybe there were some chiropractors reading this article as it mentions their field, but it doesn’t seem to be in the best taste to be listed next to this article.

Find a chiropractor

The second ad really threw me; it was an ad where you could search for a chiropractor. Really? I don’t think right now would be the time to catch folks interested in chiropractic care.

There is a lesson in keywords here and that would be to include negative keywords. As defined on Google's site: "Negative keywords - There's another type of keyword that works in a different way. Negative keywords help make sure that your ad doesn't show for searches that include that term. They work in unison with your normal keywords to target your ads just to the audience you want.

For example, add "free" as a negative keyword if you want to make sure your ad isn't shown to people looking for a free product. Negative keywords contain a dash in front of the keyword like -free." Words like “malalignments, lawsuits, and death" would have been good additions to the keywords attached to this ad and would have prevented the ad from showing up. In this case a negative can definitely be a positive!

So plan carefully and make sure your keywords get you in front of potential customers, not place you somewhere you shouldn’t be! We have some left brainers here to help you plan your next step with Google Adwords or anything else in the digital space, so give us a click! DiscoverForce5.com

May
09

Happy Birthday Coca-Cola

Posted on May 9, 2011 by butch

Happy Birthday Coca- Cola.  You're 125 years old and according to companies like Interbrand, and other brand valuation entities, you remain in the top 10 of all  brands, having built brand equity to over $70 B (yep, that's Billion)  You've dwarfed your closest competitor, Pepsi, by 500%.  You have again highlighted the importance of marketing, advertising, and customer experience as a crucial component for any business.  Well done.  

Despite huge success, the Coca-Cola saga has not always been "up and to the right," though.  The company's daring spawned a failure so gigantic that the saga of  "New Coke" is required reading in most business schools today.  Other than their delicious products (which I consume daily) I think Coke has added value to my life by fostering my understanding that colossal failures are often a part of colossal success. 

At Force 5 we spend a lot of time on brand developent, brand strategy and helping customers build their brand.  We've been learning a lot about what brand building requires and would love to share what we've been learning with you. Just give us call.

May
05

How-To: Create a Simple Slideshow Header in Drupal 7

Posted on May 5, 2011 by Christian

UPDATE: Since the posting of this article there has been dramatic improvements by the community and now this is no longer the best way to implement this feature. We now use the "Views Slideshow," found at: http://drupal.org/project/views_slideshow. We have used this method to create the various slideshows for the City of South Bend at www.SouthBendOn.com.


One of the more common design elements of modern webpage design is a large content area on the landing page of a website. Though there are some Drupal 7 themes that have this feature already (Marinelli comes to mind), what if you want to use a different base theme (like Zen)? In this How-To I will discuss how to create a simple slideshow that can be used in any theme.

The first thing that needs to be done is to ensure that your Drupal 7 environment is set up to support the slideshow. The following Drupal 7 modules need to be installed:

The WYSIWYG module (http://drupal.org/project/wysiwyg) also can be installed to make editing the content easier, but it is not necessary.

Theme ".info" and supporting files

In order to incorporate the slideshow into your theme you will need to reference some external resources in your theme.info file. You will need to add a stylesheet that defines the UI and the JavaScript libraries necessary to make it work. First obtain the following jQuery libraries and place them in the "js" directory of your theme (or other directory that holds the themes external JavaScript files):

  • jquery.cycle.all.min.js
  • jquery.easing.1.3.js

Once you have those files where they need to be, then create a new JavaScript file in the "js" directory. For the purpose of this article, we will name it utility.js. In that file place the following code:

jQuery(document).ready(function() {
jQuery('.slides').cycle({
fx: 'fade',
   speed:       500, 
            timeout:     6000, 
            pager:      '.slidenav', 
   pagerEvent: 'click', 
   pauseOnPagerHover: true,
pause:true
})
});

Once those files have been placed where they need to go, add the following to your themes ".info" file (assuming the files are in the "js" directory):

scripts[] = js/jquery.cycle.all.min.js
scripts[] = js/jquery.easing.1.3.js
scripts[] = js/utility.js

Now that you have the necessary JavaScript linked, you need to define the visual appearance and structure of the slideshow. The following is in the file slides.css that is located in my theme's css directory.

@charset "UTF-8";
/* CSS Document */

.slideshow-container {
height: 340px;
}

.slides {
width: 970px;
height: 340px;
overflow: hidden;
position: absolute;
background: white;
}

.slides .slide {
height: 340px;
}

.sdw-l, .sdw-r {
background-repeat: no-repeat;
width: 30px;
height: 485px;
position: absolute;
z-index: 99;
}

.sdw-r {
background-image: url(../images/sdw-r.png);
margin: -155px 0 0 978px;
}

.sdw-l {
background-image: url(../images/sdw-l.png);
margin: -155px 0 0 -30px;
}

.slides .slide .text {
float: left;
width: 450px;
padding: 10px 15px;
}

.slides .slide .text p {
line-height: 1.5em;
}

.slides .slide .text p a {
color: #4a64aa;
text-decoration: none;
}

.slides .slide .text p a:hover {
text-decoration: underline;
}

.slides .slide .photo {
overflow: hidden;
width: 480px;
height: 280px;
text-align: center;
vertical-align: middle;
float: right;
}

.slides .slide .photo img {
margin: 20px auto;
}

.slideshow-container .slidenav {
position: relative;
margin: 280px 55px 0 0;
z-index: 100;
float: right;
}

.slideshow-container .slidenav a {
display: block;
height: 30px;
width: 30px;
text-align: center;
margin: 0 8px;
float: left;
background-color: #e5e2df;
color: #a1988c;
text-decoration: none;
line-height: 30px;
}

.slideshow-container .slidenav a:hover {
background-color: #4a64aa;
color: white;
}

.slideshow-container .slidenav a.activeSlide {
color: #4a64aa;
}

.slideshow-container .slidenav a.activeSlide:hover {
color: white;
}

Of course the colors and other design related items will be changed to match the visual look and feel of the theme that you are creating. Once the CSS file is created and in the necessary directory, the theme needs to be informed of its existence. Simply add the following line to your themes ".info" file.

stylesheets[all][]        = css/slides.css

One last item needs to be added to the themes ".info" file. The region needs to be defined for the location of the slideshow. I have created a region named "slideshow". To add this add the following in the regions section of the .info file.

regions[slideshow]      = Slideshow

The final structural item that needs to be modified is the page.tpl.php template file. The template needs to be modified to render the slideshow content. Below is a snippet of the template that is necessary. Notice that the only thing necessary to display the slideshow contents in the  print render... call for the slideshow region.

Slide Show Content type

Once the structural elements are taken care of now you need to create a "Slide Show Content" content type so that the items can be easily added.

  1. In the "Content Types" section of the Drupal administrative interface create the type. In this type a 3 fields:
    • Title
    • Body Text
    • Slide Image
  2. In the "Manage Display" tab move both "Body Text" and "Slide Image" to be hidden. Also, the comments for this content type should be disabled.
  3. Once you have the content type, you can create a new slide using the "Add Content" links and populating the form fields.

Creating the Slideshow View

Much of the power of this approach comes from the View module. In order to correctly gather the slides that are to be displayed and then render them on the properly a new view needs to be created. In the administrative interface select Structure->Views and create a new view. I named mine "Front Page Slide Show Content". Do the following to create the view block:

  1. Create a "Block" display for the view
  2. Under Format, select "Unformatted list"
  3. Under Format -> Settings, select "None" for the Grouping Field, and enter "slide" for the Row Class
  4. Under Show->Settings check all "Content: Title", "Content: Body", and "Content: Slide Image" as inline fields
  5. In order for the correct XHTML to be generated the output of the fields needs to be added and then modified. User the Views admin UI to add the Title, Body, and Slide Image fields within the "FIELDS" section. Once you have done so make the following changes to the fields.
    • Content: Title=> Under "Rewrite Results," check the "Rewrite the output" box and use the following in the text:

      [title]

    • Content: Body=>Under "Rewrite Results," check the "Rewrite the output" box and use the following in the text:

      [body]

    • Content: Slide Image=>Under "Style Settings," check the box for "Wrap field in HTML," choose "DIV" for the HTML element. Check the "Create a CSS class" box and enter "photo" for the CSS class.
  6. Add "Content: Type = Slide Show Conent" to the View's filter criteria.
  7. Under Block Name enter a name that you will reference when you add the block to the page's structure
  8. Save the view

View Block Template File

Now that we have the view and the content type for the slideshow, we need to make sure that the block will render properly within the page. To do that I have a custom template file for this view's block. For this article the name of this file is views-view--slide-show-content.tpl.php. Below is the contents of the file:

Adding the Slideshow and wrapping up

The final step is adding the block to the page design. To do that, go to the Structure->Blocks section of the Administrative interface. From there add the View Block that you just created to the "Slideshow" region that you defined earlier. Now once you refresh your cache and look at your page you will see the slideshow.

We at Force 5 are always looking for ways to improve, so I welcome any comments or suggestions that you might have. Since Drupal 7 is so new and there is little documentation on many of the features I look forward to hearing the community's voice for suggestions. If you would like to hear more about Force 5 Drupal development, feel free to Contact us and we would be happy to discuss them with you. In the meantime feel free to read our blog or read other How-Tos

May
04

Table for two, please

Posted on May 4, 2011 by dmorgan

Have you made restaurant reservations online?

Come on, using a landline phone to make restaurant reservations is so 20th Century! These days, more and more consumers expect to engage with restaurants online and through mobile devices. Are you one of them? Restaurant operators who don’t build up their online presence and brand loyalty are missing an opportunity to generate higher sales. Even outlets that have not traditionally advertised are finding new business coming from social media efforts.

There’s a great little restaurant in Indianapolis that tweets almost every day what their specials are for the day, and sometimes give their followers a little spiff for mentioning the tweet.

More and more restaurants are looking into social media for marketing, as they find their consumers are looking for that outlet.

The new Social Media and Technology in the U.S. Foodservice Industry: Trends and Opportunities for an Emerging Market report by Packaged Facts explains that everything has changed in the food service industry. Don Monturori, publisher of Packaged Facts says, “We believe the restaurant industry is in the midst of being shaped by the convergence of the mobile, yet always connected, consumer; location-based and context-aware technological innovation, and mobile payments, which already demonstrate the potential to redefine how to cultivate restaurant guest loyalty, incentivize dining occasions, and better tailor marketing messages.” As proof of this new trend, consider these facts:

* Almost 1/3rd (31%) of consumers who frequent restaurants for eat-in or take-out meals use their computers to place orders.
* About 1/5th (21%) of consumers use mobile phones or other devices to place restaurant orders.

Facebook and Twitter are the leading social media outlets for restaurant operators to conquer. Packaged Facts analysts point out that food service operators should focus on location-based promotions this year as active Facebook users are ‘frequently on the go’

And these social media tools aren’t just being used by traditional restaurants. One of this year’s most interesting trends for urban markets is the growing number of food trucks that serve unique and ethnic fare. “We’ll be at the corner of Main and Hudson in 15 minutes!” Many lower-cost outlets (like our restaurant in Indy) are turning to Twitter to promote themselves.

As the restaurant industry battles to regain the losses suffered during the recession, most operators will be turning to lower-cost forms of promotions. For many, social media seems to fit the bill.

Where are you on the restaurant mobile scale? Have you made reservations or ordered take out on-line?

[Source: Facebook, Twitter and Smartphones Lead Social Media-Fueled Innovation within U.S. Foodservice. PackagedFacts.com. 8 Feb. 2011. Web. 24 Feb. 2011]

May
03

Information Overload

Posted on May 3, 2011 by ddefreeuw

Facing information overload

Information - Fast and Furious

I recently read an article from the Center for Media Research that had some very interesting statistics on digital consumption.

76.7% read email and respond evenings and weekends
43.2% answer texts or emails on date/social occasion
57.4 % never turn off phone
33.0% check email middle of the night
35.2% answer work emails while with children
46.9% unable to answer all email
41.4% miss important news
39.9% ignore family and friends
16.9% miss appointments
62.5% wish they could filter out the flood of data

Honestly, I was not at all surprised by the last statistic. The tidal wave of information can be overwhelming. This article also stated, “64.2% said that the information coming at them today had grown by more than 50% compared with last year.”

Do the statistics above resonate with you? How do you filter out what is useful? Managing the tide of information has become a necessary part of our daily lives.

Because consumers are actively managing their digital lifestyle, it is more important than ever that you understand your audience, where and how they get their digital information and then provide them with useful content so you don’t get filtered out. If your company is struggling to be heard, Force 5 can help you reach your audience.

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