May 262014
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On most websites you’ll see at least three ads on each page, usually at the top above content, alongside content you’re viewing, and at the bottom of the page. But have you ever clicked on one?

The average click-through-rate for banner ads in 2013 was 0.19%, meaning that only 19 clicks were recorded for every 10,000 times a banner appeared on a page. Based on these paltry figures, one may think digital advertising is a waste of time and money. But consider this: A typical cost-per-thousand impressions is five dollars, so those 10,000 banner views may only cost an advertiser $50.

Now ask yourself: Is it be worth spending $50 to get 19 new visitors to your website to learn more about your department or program? How does this cost compare with the expenses of hosting information sessions, printing information pamphlets, or conducting other marketing tactics you currently utilize?

Digital advertising can help complement your non-paid communications activities to grow your reach and re-engage individuals who have already visited your site.

In the BC2 Breakout Session, Greater Reach Through Online Advertising, we’ll examine several types of online advertising that are straightforward to execute and manage, produce measurable results, and can be easily scalable depending on your budget. We’ll focus on paid search, banner advertising, and video promotion, discuss how to get started, and consider how paid advertising can help you ensure your messages are being seen by the audiences you want to reach.

If you’re planning to attend and have specific questions or topics you would like me to address, please leave a comment in response to this post. I’m looking forward to meeting some of you at BC2 in a couple weeks!

By Matt Skinner, Marketing Manager, Demand Generation & eCommerce 

May 202014
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In a meeting the oinstagramNYCther day with a (ahem… older) colleague I was asked why anyone would ever want to do an InstaMeet. InstaMeets are events during which Instagram photographers go to the same location, take photographs, and post over the same time period. They represent a unique moment captured from many different perspectives – an intersection of the digital and the physical plane. Or, just a chance for a bunch of people who are photography enthusiast to meet each other and do something they love, together.

It got me thinking about what successful digital marketing is in a world with so much technology aimed at humans – who in essence crave the same things we’ve wanted for thousands of years: connection, communication and community.

We desired to be able to capture and record our thoughts – to connect with other at a later time and place. So, we invented writing (oh yah, and we wanted to tax people… also an age old human need).  Over millennia we went from cuneiform to messages delivered in an instant around the world.  We needed to communicate with each other across vast distances. So carrier pigeons evolved into cell phones and now we can speak any time, to almost anyone – instantaneously. We formed nomadic tribes to fulfill common goals and needs. Eventually these became the virtual communities of today, formed around every interest and passion under the sun. current technological tools answer needs we as a civilization identified thousands of years ago. In millennia, those needs haven’t changed. Understanding the essence of human nature has been and will always be at the heart of marketing.  As we look forward to the next big thing we must also look inward and understand who we are: as humans, as a civilization, as a community, and as a tribe.  InstaMeets work because they combine passion, connection, community and technology.

Finding the intersection of the human soul and that perfect communication tool – new, old or a combination of virtual and physical isn’t easy. It requires truly understanding your business needs, your audience / consumers, and your options. Sometimes it means turning away the bright and shiny to use a technology that seems outdated. Sometimes it means capital investment and taking a risk. It always requires research and soul searching.

Still, for as long as we’ve craved the same, simple things, humans are complex and there isn’t a single simple formula. But with diligence, research and insight, we as marketers can hunt and gather our way to solutions that make sense and truly feed our digital tribes. Oh, and sell stuff.

By Fawn Kazati, Director Content Strategy, Saatchi & Saatchi LA
Twitter: @fawnforce

Hear from Fawn and her colleague Kayla Green during their BC2 session on Bringing Brands to Life Through Digital Marketing. Learn  how you can leverage basic human insights to determine appropriate tools, and then build a narrative across your digital marketing ecosystem (website, mobile, apps, social, search, PR) that creates a meaningful connection between your business, your brand and your audience.

Apr 282014
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Tiffany Shlain

Tiffany Shlain

We live in a highly connected world linked together by status updates, texts, emails, tweets, and countless other messages. As communication professionals, we are expected to process this information every day, to navigate these connections as easily as a pro surfer rides a monster wave. But how much information can we “surf” before becoming overwhelmed? How do we as communicators manage the compulsion to connect but still carve out space to stay focused and productive?

Our closing keynote speaker Tiffany Shlain is tackling these very questions. A groundbreaking filmmaker, artist, and founder of the Webby Awards (as well as a Berkeley alum!), Tiffany explores what it means to be connected and how to navigate our changing world, from technology shabbats to tech etiquette. Her recent film Connected: An Autobiography about Love, Death & Technology is a timely look at the ways we are all connected that is both personal and universal.

The Yuen family phone.

The Yuen family phone.

Like many of us, I’m not immune to the allure of connectivity, the excitement of receiving that online notification, text message, or user comment. However, during my childhood my family and I were far from the technology forefront. We had a black and white television and rotary phone for most of the 1980’s. We didn’t get a VCR, microwave oven, or answering machine until 1992 (a banner year for us). My mother uses a manual typewriter to this day to write letters.

My world today could not be more different–I find myself now managing social media, writing content, and yes, even helping to organize BC2! I’m excited to listen to Tiffany’s talk as she returns to Berkeley for BC2, and I’m looking forward to making new connections with campus colleagues (special props to those who still have a typewriter).

Trailer for Tiffany Shlain’s Connected

Mar 112014
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Brand Training

Claire, Ram and Hulda – singing from the brand prayerbook.

If you don’t exercise it, you lose it. This month, we are taking the next step in helping communicators across campus exercise their brand muscle. We are conducting our first ever full-day brand workshop. Unlike other workshops in the past, this one has been developed into a daylong course with alternate sessions of theory and hands-on application. All thanks to Kathleen Valerio (she runs CalPact), Diane Presler (our engaging trainer from Academy X), Hulda Nelson and Laurie Frasier (our kicka** brand design team) and yours truly. With exciting case studies and projects like the launch of a new School, we expect participants to leave at the end of the day with their brand muscle totally exercised.  Who needs endorphins when you have brandorphins!

The first two workshops are planned for March 18 and May 20.  Register at the UC Learning Center on (Search for “Berkeley Brand Design Guidelines”)

Feb 282014
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branded leafletIt’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. As part of the brand patrol (it’s like the neighborhood patrol, only we’re color coordinated!), my beat is to cover neighboring cafés where campus groups put up posters and flyers (no, really). On my visits, I usually come across at least one or two pieces designed with the correct logo, font, graphic elements, sometimes even the right tone of voice. That gives me a feeling of accomplishment, a sense that the labors of the last twelve months are finally bearing fruit (we launched the brand training workshops in Feb 2013), a tentative hope that (holding my breath) the tipping point may well be upon us. People seem to agree. We continue to get email and social media praise from our community (you guys rock!) and have even won accolades nationally. Our branding case study won the Silver award at CASE (national) and the Gold award at CASE (western region). While all this acclaim is welcome, the biggest thrill I get is when I walk into a meeting and see the right branded PowerPoint template on the screen. Of course, those who know me understand that I would take a café over a meeting room any day. A recent visit to the Free Speech Movement cafe unearthed this simple gem pictured alongside. Time to count my blessings!

Dec 042013
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 Hello UC Berkeley! This is Janet Noe and Anthony Yuen–your co-chairs for the 2014 Berkeley Communications Conference (BC2)–with an update on next year’s BC2.

Our conference committee is hard at work planning another great BC2. We reviewed your feedback from last year’s event and found overwhelming interest in four areas:
  • Internal Communications
  • Communication Strategies in Higher Education
  • Professional Development
  • Networking and Knowledge Sharing

What do these four topics have in common? They help us to be more effective communicators, and they serve as the foundation of next year’s BC2 theme: Connect to Success.

Connect to Success will enable campus communicators to 1) reach further in their work and 2) strengthen internal communications within their own units and across campus. Through a full day of speakers, sessions, and networking opportunities, you will connect with colleagues, learn what’s going on at Berkeley, and discover new ideas to apply in your work.

Mark your calendars now for Thursday, June 12 at Clark Kerr Conference Center. We’ll be sending a save the date shortly, along with registration information in spring 2014.
Janet Noe
Anthony Yuen
 Posted by at 3:28 pm
Jun 122013
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Note for those who have been living on Mars the past few years: Pandora is an online streaming radio that creates channels based on the groups or songs you like. It is extremely addictive.

LIKE OR DELETEPandora has us all figured out. What we like, what we once liked, what we will never ever like, even if it was served up hot and steaming in the middle of an ice storm. Here is Pandora’s Like Sleep Delete (LSD) formula:

Like: If you hear a song you really like (and would be happy to hear over and over), click the thumbs up icon.

SLEEPSleep: If you hear a song you used to like but have now grown tired of hearing over and over, click the sleep (I’m tired of this track) option.

Delete: If you hear a song that reminds you of the fat kid who used to bully you in middle school, click the thumbs down icon. (If only you could do that in the real world…)

What a perfect formula for life:

Like something? Keep doing it. (You won’t go blind.)

Like something but have grown tired of it? Take a break for a while. (Tell your partner you have a headache.)

Don’t like something? Just don’t do it. (Unless you could lose your job.)

Seriously though, this LSD formula has found application everywhere because it is rooted in human psychology.

fly-through-shotTake my iPhone mail app of the moment, Mailbox. I know, I know, I keep serving up apps. Guess I just “like” them. Anyway, mailbox lets you answer urgent emails immediately (Like), send emails away to lists or to return tomorrow/next week/in 3 months (Sleep) and of course, get rid of / archive the emails that come from your old high school classmates (Delete).

So what do you think of the LSD philosophy? Do you think you could apply it to aspects of your life? If you did, what would you select for the Sleep category (apart from my blog posts, of course)?

May 312013
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You’ve heard it said hundreds of times; “a picture is worth a 1000 words.”  This is no surprise as more than 50% of our brains are devoted to visual process, taking in our surroundings real time, and responding to visual stimuli.  Most of us find watching a movie or looking at photographs to be cognitive candy compared to reading a book or a long report.  Knowing what our audiences prefer, why do we spend so much time finely crafting written copy and long prose, and so little time developing visual messages?

It is time to step away from your keyboard, let go of that mouse, and get back to basics with a pen and a piece of paper, and start sketching…



“I can’t draw,” I hear you say, and neither can I.  However, we can all draw lines, arrows, rectangles, circles, and stick figure people.  These are the only skills you need to operate a pen and work out some ideas for your next communication piece.  Start your new project with a sketch. You’ll be surprised how using both hemispheres of your brain will invigorate your thinking. Use sketching to develop visual components for your storytelling. Here are some examples:

sketch 2 - types of sketches


So here’s my prescription for you as you start a new communications project:



  1. Think visually – what images come to mind, how can you explain things more simply with a picture, what message do you want your audience members to read and retain?
  2. Start with a sketch – brainstorm, play with ideas, pick a sketch type that works well for your project
  3. Communicate pictorially – use your favorite computer tools to create professional images of your sketches to tell your story
  4. Increase cognition and retention – it is easier for our brains to read, and retain information that is provided visually.  Use images to be more memorable and as a way to convey complex ideas.

Have fun! Less is more when you sketch.

May 222013
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I wasn’t always like this. I was a prudent spender—“Ha!” says my wife, peering over my shoulder—until the day I was seduced (now she’s holding her breath) by a new iPhone app. The irony? The app is an expense tracker… but its interface is so drop-dead gorgeous (luckily my wife has returned to her book) that I can’t resist buying something just to have an excuse to interact with it.

Here is what I like about the app, called Next:

  1. It only costs $1.99 (already entered that expense!).
  2. The design is devilishly simple—just an array of icons.
    Click on the one that resembles your expense—a cup of coffee
    (my Achilles’ heel)—and enter the amount spent.
  3. The analytics are also simple. One swipe to the right reveals your total expense by category for the week, month or year. One swipe to the left reveals the details of each expense by day.

next-app3That’s it. Dead simple. And, wow, so effective.

In fact, I have begun to quiz my wife and kids every night about their
day-to-day expenses, just so I can return time and time again to this app.
I think they may be calling me names behind my back:
“Meet my dad, Mr. Scrooge.”

Sigh, the power of good design.

Now to apply the same design thinking to the main university website… ah, now there’s a worthy challenge!

May 162013
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guykAre the people you like the ones you see all the time? Maybe there’s something else going on. Maybe the fact that you see them often is the reason you’ve come to like them.

Close proximity and frequent contact mean you interact with them more, and your relationship can more easily progress from acquaintance to friend because of casual and spontaneous encounters. In other words, presence makes the heart grow fonder.

Unfortunately, large companies, virtual organizations, and digital communication work against physical proximity. Electronic/virtual/digital interaction is good for maintaining relationships, but pressing flesh is better for creating relationships. This is the main reason to get out of your chair and jump into the analog world.

Companies like Zappos, the online shoe company, have figured out ways to fight isolation. For example, Zappos employees work in an open, few-walls environment that they personalize to the hilt. Zappos also turned the employee entrances and exits at its Las Vegas building into emergency-only exits, so people bump into each other at the main entrance.

Zappos even digitized closeness for its far-flung workforce. After Zappos employees enter their name and password in the computer system, the software presents them with a picture of a randomly selected colleague. Employees then take a multiple-choice test to name the person. After they make a selection, the system displays the person’s profile and bio.

The Brafman brothers, in their book Click: The Magic of Instant Connections, sum up the principle this way: the single most important factor in determining whether or not you connect with another person is neither personality nor mutual interests—it is simple proximity. So get up and EBWA (enchant by wandering around).

Excerpted from my book, Enchantment, The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions