Click With Brand Synergy

So you reckon a click-and-mortar strategy is for you? Well ask yourself this question: What do you expect your brand to gain by the move? For dot-coms, establishing consumer and market trust might be a key objective. For brick-and-mortar companies, locking out online competitors might be the objective.

Those objectives can’t be compared with each other. Nor can their achievement be easily ascertained or measured. But the goal of both entities is that they derive benefit from the new strategy. And one of several key areas of benefit lies in brand synergy.

Relationships With Customers and Partners

Brand diversity is reflected in your brand’s capacity to deploy all its communication channels at optimum points in each consumer’s life cycle — the ability to maintain the brand’s relationship with the customer, offline or online, in a timely, customer-sensitive, and intelligent manner.

That doesn’t mean overexposure, such as plastering a logo all over the place. It’s about developing a strategy that introduces the brand to the consumer meaningfully, in all situations, and in ways appropriate to each customer’s level of familiarity with and need for the brand.

This means achieving brand synergy, the compatible marriage between your brand’s identity and consumers’ preconceptions or understanding of it.

With click-and-mortar partners working on the task, cohesive brand handling can grow this synergy. Competent, cohesive brand handling induces the sum of the benefit to both entities to be greater than the benefit a brand enjoys alone (offline or online).

The Benefit

Here lies a click-and-mortar benefit. On the Net you chiefly use just one sense — sight — right? You can use your hearing, too, but the Net mostly communicates visually. This limitation underlies a clear benefit for an online brand assuming an offline partner or operating strategy.

The real-life store can appeal to all the senses. The Starbucks environment, for example, not only appeals to the eye with couches, lamps, and tables but also creates olfactory appeal and taste experiences. You know when you’re passing by a Starbucks cafi without looking at it. So the Starbucks brand appeals to all five senses.

The Challenge

And here’s the other side of the coin. What’s the value to the user of interacting with the brand in partnered offline/online environments? Cohesive brand handling is the customer’s minimum expectation. Consumers assume they’ll have their preconceptions about a brand satisfied. If they’re surprised, they need to be able to process the unexpected within the parameters established by your brand’s lexicon and personality. What’s a brand’s gain in suddenly becoming unrecognizable by defying expectation?

Will, therefore, a click-and-mortar setup make your brand easier to find and acquire from your customers’ perspectives? Faster to use? Cheaper? More convenient? More informative? Will it offer a larger selection? Become more relevant and customized?

One or more of these points must be apparent for there to be increased value for your brand in transitioning to a click-and-mortar existence.

Concentrate on the Objective

Your brand’s goal should be to add value to your customer’s relationship with the brand. And the only way to ensure that this happens is to identify the increased consumer values you want the partnership to achieve, then track their evolution during the transformation process.

Your brand-building efforts need innovation that enhances your customers’ relationships with the brand. And the click-and-mortar principle expands your brand’s opportunities for exposure, communication, and gain. But concentrate on objectives.

If you can, contact a marketing agency, such as SMA, to help you achieve your goals. Will your brand click with a click-and-mortar environment?

Filmmaking Tips

If you are new to filmmaking or are just looking for some more information on filmmaking before you take the leap and join the ranks of millions filmmakers, there are 9 key steps you’ll need to take to make your first film. This article will give you 9 filmmaking tips that are taught in film colleges around the world.

Concept

You’ll need a basic idea or concept before your movie ever takes production. This will include a plot, a storyline, characters and the location where your movie takes place. The best way to do this is write down your ideas on a piece of paper. Write down all the details, big and small. Then sort them out into topics and main ideas. This piece of paper will become your script and you can build off of that.

Script

After you have developed your concept, start putting your script together. Keep in mind that a script is not just dialogue. The script includes the location, what’s taking place and basically gives the overall mood of the movie. Script writing is the longest part of filmmaking, believe it or not. Don’t get frustrated if your script changes along the way, that’s normal. Even for major filmmakers.

Storyboards

This is the fun part of filmmaking. After you have finished the script, put the scenes on storyboards. This will allow you to visualize the movie. You may need to hire an illustrator for this, but it’ll be worth it.

Funding

Yes, you’ll need some funds to put your movie together. If this is your first stab at filmmaking, then you’ll probably just pool together your own money along with the people you are working with. However, if you expect a studio to fund your film then you’ll have to follow these three guidelines: have a professional presentation, have a unique script and make sure your film is marketable.

Location

Now that funding is out of the way, you can focus on the location of your movie. Brainstorm a list of possible locations then check the sites to see if you need a permit to shoot a movie there. Many sites will require permits so don’t be surprised at this.

Cast/Crew

At times this can be a challenging part of filmmaking. Once you have your site location set, you’ll need to hire your cast. Many times you can post an ad in the paper online directories. A great place to start is at colleges. Colleges usually have a drama club and you can hire college kids pretty cheap.

Equipment

Keep in mind this is not some big production like Star Wars alright? You don’t need all the high tech equipment that Hollywood uses. But at minimum you should have a decent camera, lights, sound equipment, props, costumes and set pieces. Don’t go overboard on this or you’ll break the bank.

Start Filming

This is where the rubber hits the road in filmmaking. A film can be made in as little as 6 weeks, or as long as 6 months. For your first film, you should have it ready within two months. That’s a good goal to shoot for.

Edit

You may have six hours of footage for a 90 minute film. Don’t panic. The editing process is where the film becomes a movie. Take your time on this. You might want to add visual effects to your movie – for this, check VFX LA. Make sure to review and edit all your scenes until the movie is to your liking.

How SEO Makes Your Web Copy Stronger

People say that web writing is a balance between writing copy that’s friendly for search engines and copy that’s friendly for people, and there’s some truth to that. But I’ve found that search engine optimization (SEO) actually strengthens my copy.

SEO is not black magic. It’s not about tricking the search engines into ranking your site higher when people search for a certain word. It’s about aligning the best practices of SEO with the principles of good communication.

Yes, there is a technical aspect to optimizing your website so people will find it when searching with tools like Google. True also that there are certain things that can be done with HTML code that web visitors never see. However, the real trick to SEO is to make your site as relevant as possible to the people you’re talking to.

Relevance: that’s what it’s all about.

Think like a search engine

Can content be relevant both to machines – the web crawlers that search engines use to index websites – and to your human web visitors simultaneously?

Absolutely.

In order to think like a search engine, you have to know what parts of your website the web crawlers sent to scan your pages look at. But you have to keep the overall goal of the search engines in mind, too.

The search engines, after all, have the same goal as you. To help users find relevant websites. In this case, hopefully, your website. A big part of creating a keyword list is trying to figure out which words are being searched for by the people you want to visit your website.

So really, good SEO copywriting is about getting into the mindset of your audience. And that happens to be rule number one for good copywriting of any kind. Think from the point of view of your audience.

Once you have the keyword list, you’ll want to use it in places where the web crawlers will find it. Like in headings, subheadings and image titles.

SEO makes online copy stronger

Will using the keywords in places that the search engine dictates make your copy weaker?

Not at all.

If your web copy is already strong, it will make your web copy stronger. It’s not an accident that the search engines are looking for keywords in places like the headings and bullets and links. It is, after all, logical, that the words that are relevant to your content should appear there.

The only way it could make your copy weaker is if you do things backwards and try to jam keywords into your text as an afterthought, giving it an unnatural feel.

When does it make sense to prioritize keywords over good web copy?

Never.

When you start focusing on SEO, rather than relevance, then you’ve lost the plot. Because if SEO tactics detract from the flow, sound or rhythm of your text, then the text is less readable. And if the text is less readable, then it’s less valuable to your target audience, and therefore less relevant. After all, who wants to read a text that’s written more for search engines than human beings?

The trick is to use the best practices of SEO in a way that makes your copy stronger, more important and more valuable to your target audience. Then, not only will you the right people find your content, but they’ll be pleased that they did. If you want to know more about SEO, click here.

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Women

Valentine’s Day – a holiday with a rich history of both Christian and pagan origins – is a day of romance in which loved ones give gifts with the sole purpose of showing how much they love each other. Valentine’s Day is also undeniably a holiday that businesses love – in 2009, the average U.S. consumer spent $102 dollars on Valentine’s Day related items according to an annual U.S. National Retail Federation survey.

Despite the money-making industry that seems to surround the holiday, Valentine’s Day remains a perfect day to express love and caring. With a little thought and a few helpful ideas, finding the perfect Valentine’s Day romantic gift for her has never been easier.

Personalize Traditional Gifts

The traditional gifts of cards, flowers, and candy may seem cliche, but can still be wonderful gifts. The trick to giving traditional gifts is to personalize them and show that thought, love, and energy really did go into picking out that particular gift. Cards are a staple of Valentine’s Day, with over one billion being sent each year. However, a homemade card or a personal poem handwritten in a traditional card help personalize this most traditional of gifts.

When choosing flowers, feel free to go beyond the traditional roses and instead choose her favorite flower. And instead of simply handing over a prepackaged bunch, scatter flowers throughout the house, have them delivered at work, or place in a box with another present hidden underneath. Both flowers and candies can be improved by including a list of things you love about her. Obtain some small pieces of card stock and write one thing – such as her compassion for others, her hair, or her sense of humor – on each piece. Then either hide under each piece of candy or tie to each flower with a ribbon.

Making Jewelry Romantic

Jewelry, while a traditional item, can also be a wonderful gift to show both love and also appreciation for her tastes. The first trick to picking out jewelry is to start at a good store. Mass merchandisers usually have mass-produced and uninspired pieces. Starting at a good store helps to guarantee that the piece is both fairly unique and of good quality.

The second important thing when picking out jewelry is to appreciate her tastes. Go beyond diamonds and find a stone color she particularly likes – such as deep purple, blue, or pink – or figure out what her birthstone is. Unique jewelry is also a good option. Rare stones or coral can be very reasonably priced and allow her to own something unique and special. If she is a fan of big, chunky jewelry, don’t purchase a little teardrop stone on a thin chain. Instead, find a piece that includes two or three heavier chains and eye-catching accents. If she is a fan of fine jewelry, buy a smaller, detailed piece. Matching sets of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets are another option.

The final thing to note when giving jewelry is the presentation. While a jeweler’s box is adequate, getting creative will always be appreciated. Find a cute stuffed animal and put the jewelry around it’s neck and then wrap. Or serve with dessert, with the dessert on one plate and the jewelry on another.

Non-Traditional Gifts

Spending time and energy on developing a non-traditional gift is also a fine idea and one that any woman will appreciate. One way to show a serious level of love is to make a nice dinner for her. Things to avoid include anything from the freezer section, prepackaged meals, or something that she doesn’t like. Finding a good recipe and spending the time to make the meal from scratch is what makes this a wonderful gift. If possible, have more than one course and make sure dessert is included.

Homemade “gift certificates” are a wonderful and inexpensive (or free) idea. Cut a few pieces of card stock into pieces about the size of a playing card. Then write an “IOU” on each one – such as making dinner one night, watching the kids so she can have a night away from home, back-rubs, a trip together to a museum or art gallery she has been wanting to see, or a home movie night with movies she wants to watch are all good options.

Other non-traditional gifts can include pampering items for her, including bath oils, a spa visit, or a manicure. Candles in a variety of scents are a good accent or additional to another small gift. If books or movies are given, make sure they are something she really wants and something she wouldn’t normally buy for herself.

Showing Love is the Most Important Part

While Valentine’s Day, like many other holidays, has turned out to very profitable for multiple companies, the real meaning of Valentine’s Day remains unchanged. Valentine’s Day gifts- from the traditional to non-traditional and from expensive to free- offer the perfect opportunity to show love and affection. No matter what the Valentine’s Day gift, showing love is the most important part of the holiday.

Seeing Your Brand Through a Kaleidoscope

A kaleidoscope is an eyepiece that you look into. On the other end are an opaque window and a compartment that has several pieces of colored glass, paper, beads, etc., in different shapes and sizes. In front of that is beveled, cut into a pie-shaped form, glass prism.

The objective of the kaleidoscope is to display an infinite variety of colorful geometric patterns; with each shifting of the colored pieces, the geometric pattern changes. Thus, as the kaleidoscope turns, geometric patterns flow from one delicate pattern to another. Though sometimes the geometric patterns appear similar in form, they always vary.

The metaphor of the kaleidoscope can be used to describe your personal brand identity and personal brand image. The pieces of colored glass or other objects represent your personal brand identity, which does not ever change; they should remain constant and congruent. Whereas, by turning the kaleidoscope to create pattern changes is more like your personal brand image, which can easily shift based on the perception of others.

Your personal brand identity is made up of who you are, what you stand up for and your authentic value that is the heart of your personal brand. Identity is everything you want others to know and experience about you consistently. Using a marketing agency to build a successful personal brand with genuine integrity; it is the cornerstone of your personal brand identity. Personal Branding DNA believes that integrity consists of substance over style – it is not about being an icon as some personal branding strategists would have you believe. Instead, it is about getting real with yourself and others. It is about developing a character that is adaptive to the world around you without selling out, engaging others through a world of shared meaning, and the ability to inspire genuine trust in others from who you are and your authentic value. It is having a guiding purpose and principles that give you self confidence to be true to yourself through honor and dignity.

As humans, our eyes and brain create a kaleidoscope of impressions: past and present; real and perceived; rational and emotional. Personal brand image is what is physically in front of others’ eyes and senses who experience you, and what their brain does with that information. Like a kaleidoscope, personal brand image can shift into new and different patterns from how others perceive you at any given moment. That is why it is crucial by using SEO services to architect your personal brand from the inside-out; why you must be able to clearly articulate what is genuinely unique about you and your authentic value. Since personal brands are created in a kaleidoscope mind, the best way to build trust in others in order to achieve brand appeal and acceptance is through:

  • Creating real and satisfying relationships focused on who you are, what you stand for and your authentic value rather than on the “outer facade” of relationships.
  • Treating your own personal brand ethically from your deepest core values and extending that out to others, radiating it outward to the world.
  • Building your personal brand image with deep integrity one day at a time. Remember, personal brands are born and die in the blink of an eye with today’s fickle audiences. You can’t afford to be mentally lazy or unaware of how you are impacting or influencing others day in and day out.
  • Championing, communicating, and reinforcing your personal brand identity with passion and enthusiasm.
  • Promoting collaboration with others who can help further support your personal brand message as well as choose the best way to build your personal brand on social media platforms.

To sum up: if you want to genuinely architect a successful personal brand, think about this: Can you separate the colored pieces from the part of the kaleidoscope that can shift into colorful patterns? The only way to separate the two is to shatter the glass prism that creates different patterns from the solid pieces. You and the perceptions others have of you are inseparable. Treat your personal brand identity and personal brand image as an integral part of who you are through your life’s purpose. Recognize that they are as much a part of you as your dreams and visions you want to shape and accomplish in the world. Your personal brand can bring you a kaleidoscope of unforgettable experiences when you remember who you are, what you stand for and your authentic value are what other’s experience about you than what you do or offer. It is recognizing that the real bottom line of any successful brand is the importance of trust; it is the humanity of your personal brand’s greatest potential. Be the kind of brand that others can trust, and you will be the personal brand they buy from and buy into, or hire you.

Who Owns Patient Data in Clinical Research?

There is a popular belief that there will be faster progress in the research for cancer if there is more participation by the patients. Sharing the date will most certainly help. But takes the credit for owning that data and what responsibilities and rights come from that?

For better medical practices, exchanging of data between the doctors and their patients is of utmost importance – and that data is essential for the medical progress and research.

Doctors, traditionally are collecting all the information for the patient’s health such as the medical history, prescribed drugs, tests from the laboratory, etc., and sometimes they can share that information with their doctor colleagues for additional advice.  So the medical records are the property of the physicians.

A Proposed New FDA Drug Approval Pathway: “Conditional”

The time that is taking from the discovery, then validation through approval and the use of the new treatments for cancer is taking too long. There are a lot of experimental treatments that are promising, and the increasing advances in computer technologies and Biostatistics, are bringing the question for “Conditional Approvals” issued by the FDA.

All the oncology advances were made in the first years when there weren’t any regulations. When there was an idea, the doctors put that idea to work almost immediately by adjusting and combining the treatments until they become standardized treatments. There were a lot of types of cancer cured with these kinds of treatments.

Unfortunately, those patients that have glioblastoma or pancreatic cancers, can’t afford this way of finding the treatment or the approval of new drugs.

Leading Retractions in the Cancer Research Literature

Retraction Watch founded in 2010 has filled and helped to thrive a substantial niche. Cancer literature has presented a lot of important corrections and retractions up to date.

Over the years we have seen a certain number of cases regarding retractions in the cancer research. 

On top of the list most certainly is Anil Potti from Duke University, whose work was focused on oncogenomics – with the use of genetic information to calibrate the chemotherapy has proved to be fake. Potti’s work, however, has triggered numerous lawsuits from Duke’s patients, which are now settled, and retraction on 11 papers, which were co-authored by him.

CollabRx and OncoDNA Partner in Molecular Diagnostics

San Francisco, Calif., April 4, 2013 – CollabRx, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLRX), is a company for data analytics and its main focus is on informing on making clinical decisions in molecular medicine, and OncoDNA, SA, a company from Belgium that is providing DNA NGS tests (next-generation sequencing) for clinical use in the field of cancer, announced their multi-year contract for purchasing CollabRx’s SaaS-based technology and other resources to be used in complementation with OncoDNA’s panels for cancer mutation.

These two companies are developing a medical solution and combined test, by comparing the results from OncoDNA’s panels for cancer mutation with the clinical knowledge from CollabRX.

 

 

Vegetables and a Cancer Prevention Diet

Avoid Cancer with Antioxidant Rich Anti-Cancer Vegetables

Veggies have shown powerful anti-cancer properties in the lab. Here’s a guide to the best vegetables to include in a cancer prevention diet.

Scientists say that vegetables can be one of the most important components of a cancer prevention diet and one of the best foods that fight cancer. Here are some of the best vegetables to eat to avoid cancer:

Broccoli and Cauliflower in an Anti-Cancer Diet

Three to four weekly servings of broccoli and cauliflower can protect the body from colon cancer, according to one study. Even a mere single serving each week reduces the risk of prostate, breast and ovarian cancers.

Eating Onions to Stop Cancer in its Tracks

Onions may actually stop cancer cells in their tracks, according to a study by Cornell University scientist Dr. Rui Hai Liu. The strongest flavored varieties, such as Northern Red, Western Yellow, and shallots, appear to have the strongest effect, especially against liver and colon cancer. The phenolic and flavonoid compounds in onions are what gives them this dramatic anti-cancer activity.

Antioxidant Rich Tomatoes and Cancer Prevention

Eating two to ten tomato sauce-based meals each week lowers the risk of certain cancers, including prostate cancer, by 25 to 50%. Studies at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health have both shown strong effects of tomatoes on preventing the development and spread of many different types of cancer. Lycopene is the magic ingredient in tomatoes that offers these amazing health benefits.

Reduce Cancer Risk with Cabbage and Sauerkraut

Both fresh cabbage and its pickled cousin sauerkraut contain the compounds glucosinolate and indole-3-carbinol (I3C), among other components, which have been shown to lower breast cancer risk, along with the risk of other types of cancers. Young women in adolescence and young adulthood can especially benefit from the anti-cancer activity of cabbage. Scientists at the University of New Mexico Michigan State University and the National Food and Nutrition Institute of Warsaw, Poland have been studying the anti-cancer properties of cabbage and sauerkraut. The recommended consumption of cabbage and sauerkraut to prevent cancer is three servings a week or more.

Broccoli Sprouts Help Fight Cancer

A diet rich in broccoli sprouts may help prevent stomach and bladder cancer, according to Japanese scientists at the University of Tsukuba. Broccoli sprouts contain sulforaphane and isothiocyanates (ITCs), powerful cancer prevention compounds.

Varying Veggies is Key to Cancer Prevention

Including specific vegetables in a cancer prevention diet is a good idea, but eating a lot of different types of veggies may be even more important. Women who eat four or more servings of various types of vegetables each day have a fifty percent lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who only eat two servings, according to one study. One reason for this may be that components from the different vegetables act together, multiplying the health effects.

There is also some evidence, including a study from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, that munching on raw veggies may be more beneficial than cooked ones since cooking seems to break down some of the powerful anti-cancer ingredients in vegetables. Nonetheless, for those who prefer their vegetables cooked, eating cooked vegetables is still better at preventing cancer than eating no vegetables at all.