Last week, two people asked me: “what's Fabric's sweet spot?” I love that question! It's easy to answer: We excel at innovation, digital strategy, and web product development. It's simple. We put together great teams to design useful digital products and cool online brands.
We're the people you call when you have an idea for a digital brand or product - but you're not sure how to get it to market. We look for passionate people with smart ideas. We love start-ups and underdogs. Over the past 8 years, we've built successful video sites, social networks, digital products, and applications for big corporations and small companies.
Can we work with your team? Absolutely. Everyone at Fabric has spent thousands of hours working closely with agencies, entrepreneurs, VC's, and senior management at leading consumer brands in the US and Europe. We collaborate. We're open (source). We know we can get more done - together.
What's your big idea?
It's been a rocket start to the year! Where to start…
Most important: New Fabric people: James Gregg joined our Product Group in LA and Elizabeth Lim joined us as Project Manager and task master extraordinaire. It's great to see the team growing!
We won the development work for Kia Optima Superbowl Interactive campaign which launched the week before Superbowl. The project was on a 5 week delivery time-line. This was a puzzle game with 5 releases in 5 days. Phew. Our development team in Las Vegas pulled it off, but it was a very stressful build. Many late nights. Ideally, not to be repeated ;o)
We recently finished a project for Disney and launched Figling a new consumer web start-up with loads of potential. Our teams in LA and Las Vegas are excited to be working on projects for Toyota and Yakult. Our Product Group in LA is working with Dubspot to develop and expand their online school.
Our Marketing Group helped get Dogasaur past 250,000 Facebook Fans and we're now gearing up for another IKEA campaign and a fresh Summer campaign for a consumer brand (can't talk about it yet).
We'd love to hear from you - give us a call!
It's been four long years since the last world cup took place in Germany, when Italy beat France for the prestigious cup! This Friday the referee’s whistle will mark the beginning of the first world cup of this decade, hosted for the first time in the African continent. The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be in its 19th edition and it’s scheduled to take place between 11 June and 11 July 2010 in South Africa. Soccer mania is seen everywhere: outdoor advertising, print, radio, mobile and online, with media spends this year higher than any other year.
Some of the biggest soccer stars today like: Messi, Torres, Ronaldo, Kaka, Beckham and many others will take part on the world's most-watched sporting event. According to the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ / Infront Sports & Media, billions of people watched the World cup, and a good chuck of it did so in 2006 via online, from which we can only speculate that those numbers will rise tremendously this year. Here are the 2006 numbers: FIFAWorldCup.com became the most successful sports event website in history with 4.2 billion page views from June 9 - July 9 — more than double the traffic recorded during the 2002 event. More than 125 million video streams, and more than 73 million page views on the mobile web portal after FIFAWorldCup.com went mobile for the first time. So, this clearly demonstrates that the online medium has grown quite a bit and that there is a huge market that can be prove to be high lucrative to tap into.
New and existing brands that support FIFA are beginning to spend more time and money in online marketing and have come up with many different ways to capture the loyal soccer fans attention to grab a piece of the pie. It’s all about making a good and long lasting impression, capturing the most eye balls and highest participation possible. Smart branding for an event of this magnitude and scale is key!
But before taking a look at the participating brands involved in this whole marketing game, let’s see how the hosting nation is branding itself to impress the world.
In preparation to this worldwide event, South Africa spent billions of dollars to brand itself the best way possible. Five new stadiums were built for the tournament and five existing venues have been upgraded. In addition to the stadiums being built and upgraded, South Africa has also improved its current public transport infrastructure within the various cities, with state of the art transportation systems and projects. Hotels, restaurants, parks and many other hospitality establishments have also spent millions preparing for this big event to be ready to accommodate visitors to full capacity.
South Africa has also implemented safety and security measures for local and international tourists attending the largest event in the world. Overall, the country has invested almost $10 billion, in four years leading this event, which they hope to be a great success and view the whole thing as an investment in the long run. That’s a lot of money for a developing nation struggling with so many internal problems like health and crime. Let’s just hope that what happened to Greece at the Olympics doesn’t replicate here a few years later!
South Africa has put a lot on the line in the name of branding itself to the world the hard way, but are they investing money in social media channels the same way World Cup sponsors have?
Let’s now take a look at how well some brands are doing branding themselves particularly in the online side of the business.
Official FIFA sponsors and sports/soccer centric brands have invested a great deal of money in social media for this World Cup. All of the official World Cup sponsors (and many non-official sponsors too) have been busy working on the newest application that can connect fans with a global social media audience via Facebook and their mobile phones, the most engaging viral marketing campaign and the most fun and simple ways to engage audiences and get them to participate.
Here is a list of brands that are present at this edition of the World Cup (some of them long-standing sponsors): McDonald’s, Powerade, Continental, Sony Ericsson, Coca-Cola, Adidas, Visa, Budweiser, Emirates, Nike, Puma, Umbro, and many others. However, not all of these made the cut on my short list of brands worth mentioning that have done a great job branding themselves at this year’s World Cup with solid online marketing campaigns and should capitalize from social media. These top player brands include: Sony Ericsson, Visa, Adidas, Coca-Cola and Budweiser.
Sony Ericsson - One of the long-term sponsors of the World Cup.
Power of Twitter - With Twittercup, Sony has proven to keep it as simple as possible, with a smart Twitter campaign that tells us social media and sports are a natural fit. The Twittercup collects and counts fan tweets, creating a competition among attending nations. The good is that since its launch in December 2009, the Twittercup has already amassed 43,000 tweets, the bad is that I cannot seem to easily find this on Twitter only the Sony site.
Visa – They have replicated a social application format used during the Olympics that proved to be highly successful called: social media match planner.
Adidas – A World Cup sponsor heavy weight in so many levels, Adidas has been a sponsor of the game since 1954.
TV Soccer Celebrity Ads – Adidas is relying heavily on a big budget TV ads with soccer celebrities like: Kaka, Michael Ballack, Messi, Villa and Zidane called: Fast vs Fast featuring their F50 adizero boots and trying to spark social media conversation on Facebook. At almost 80,000 views thus far, the video count is quite low for a big player in the game known for killer creative ads.
Nevertheless, Adidas has a huge advantage for being a close and strategic partner of the cup with the match ball for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, manufactured by them and provides with boots and wear to many of the players and teams, giving them perhaps the most direct exposure and appeal to a fan.
Coca-Cola – Another brand heavy weight and present at the World Cup since 1974.
Funny UGC YouTube Video Contest – Coca-Cola has taken inspiration from Roger Milla’s 1990 corner flag dance to encourage users to upload their own unique celebrations on to YouTube, the winner of get to go to the World Cup. UGC funnies have proven to be very successful and the simplest the better, so Coke scores high here. Additionally, Coca-Cola is perhaps the largest brand on Facebook with 5.5 million fans and a huge following on Twitter, where the contest is nicely supported.
Budweiser – A well-known brand with a long standing history of success on branding and a sponsored of the World Cup since 1986.
YouTube Reality Show: Budweiser United – Budweiser held a global audition via YouTube to find 32 fans from respective World Cup countries who will live together in South Africa “Real World” style. Once the Cup kicks off Budweiser will create a YouTube reality show documenting the fans as they play out their rivalries en masse. As their team is eliminated so the house member will be kicked out. The two final fans will go to the World Cup final and the winner will present the Budweiser man of the match trophy to the best player. Facebook will play a supporting a strong supporting role.
This one can prove to be the most creative social media campaign that promises to have a lot of legs, since it uses the two strongest channels in social media to replicate a reality show that was very compelling and successful among fans altogether, and may take reality shows to a new level and platform.
What do you think?
Who is faring the best in Social Media?
How well has South Africa done preparing for this colossal event? Have they neglected social media?
Share your thoughts!
So, Fabric recently finished work on a new web application, PolicyMap.com, and I can't stop playing with it. It's not even a game; it maps geographic data in a layered, easy-to-use map interface. Our main focus was on UX/UI for both the application itself as well as the wrapper site the application resides on.
Just enter an address and start researching the demographics - income, school test scores, crime data, etc, etc. Anyone who owns a home, is thinking of buying a home, knows someone who owns a home, knows someone who is thinking of buying a home, or you've just plain been inside a home… you'll probably immediately see the value of this application.
I don't know why I can't stop. It started with looking up all the statistics of my own neighborhood. I clicked on almost every possible data layer. How much money are my neighbors making? How much money should I be making to stay juuuuuust above average? Should I worry about my car getting jacked? What if someone decides I should have kids? Will they grow up intellectually stunted because my particular school system values snack foods over music education? I've probably spent over an hour just researching my particular block. And believe me, I know exactly - precisely - which statistics to spit at you to make my neighborhood seem like the place you should be living.
But, wait! What if you're already living in a great neighborhood?! I started looking up my friends neighborhoods. Dammit! Their block has less old people living on it! I've memorized the exact set of data precisely calibrated to send every close friend I have into a wracking fit of sobbing. It's awesome.
Also, my girlfriend makes me look up the neighborhoods I really, really should be living in…
We got our act together (sort of) and launched our new site. Yes, we have been busy with clients. Yes, we have hired great people. And, it is true, we are changing everything. Regardless, there shall be no more excuses. Bang! We are alive.
We’ll slip you a few pills before New Years. No, really, we will.
30 Days is on the road again – this time we have a big surprise for you. A highly respected ad agency in NYC just hired us to do a cool project for the City. A truly great Art Director just joined us in Los Angeles.
Oh, we just finished a project for Tampax. Yep. You heard it here first.
We want to build great products that change the world (even if it's just for your world). Our main challenge is that today there are so many areas of innovation and so many opportunities to choose from that focus can be a problem. Where do we spend our energy? Who do we work with? What kind of products do we build?
To help answer this, we look carefully at three things:
We've already seen some big shifts in behavior over the past five years. Think about:
We also know that software is one of the key disruptive drivers of change in the world and, since web/mobile software is our passion, we pay close attention to technology innovation from hardware to software.
To sharpen our focus, we have identified a few key “investment” areas for Fabric:
Today, we think that the big challenges and the big opportunities remain in economy (jobs), health, and education.
This is why we're looking to work on projects that:
We are looking for passionate people who are building products on these macros. Despite the economic problems world-wide, we believe the opportunities to build amazing products - to make a difference - are actually expanding. It's not 1999. It's 2011. The good news? You have 10 more years of massive disruption coming your way. Are you going to be part of the past or the future?
We are growing fast and looking for a User Experience Lead for our Los Angeles based team. You’ll be part of a small team working on web/mobile products and interactive projects. The User Experience Designer will be involved in all areas of the interactive development process. Your responsibilities will include working directly with clients on brainstorming, ideation, research, creating wireframes, producing complete screens, writing UX specifications, and leading our visual designers through execution. This is a full-time position starting Feb 1st 2011.
More about you:
Important experience you have:
If you’re looking for a challenge and have endless passion to bring every day – we might be the place for you!
Recently, I had a chance to speak with an influential Hispanic player in the digital space, and one who has made a difference in making his voice heard and who has been able to recruit a solid fan base from the bottom up.
In an exclusive interview with Matt Reyes the founder of Twitteros, we will get a chance to learn more about his role as a successful Latino influencer in the online world and how the Hispanic market has grown and become a key player in the marketplace. According to eMarketer there are currently over 26 million Hispanics using the Internet every day, and that number is growing just as fast as the total number of people within this minority, and by the end of 2012, it is estimated that there will be nearly 30 million Hispanics on the Web.
Have you ever heard of Twitteros?
According to Mat Reyes, the term Twitteros is a Spanish adjective that means, “Twitter user”.
Matt is the founder of Twitteros, a social media community hub for Latinos that Twitter, based on the Ning platform that launched in late 2008. The community hosts profiles, music, photos, blogs, forums, and other features.
As he explains: “The whole idea of Twitteros is to connect all Latinos that Twitter. We have so much to say and so much to learn from each other, and this group will only connect us even more!”
In my 1:1 chat with Matt Reyes, he was very open to share with us more about Twitteros and his role as an influencer in the market, so influential that the 2010 US Census partnered with him and his social network to encourage Hispanics to be counted and share the importance of taking part in the act.
Who is Matt Reyes?
I am well-versed and active in bottom-up media, organizations, and theory, I believe in the marketing philosophies of Douglas Rushkoff and Seth Godin. As a follower of these principles, I have helped organizations ranging from major brands to cultural arts institutions define their purpose, create authentic word of mouth, and become innovative.
How big do you think is the Hispanic influence online these days?
It's growing each and every day. We are still yet to be on par with the general market, but influence is much greater among younger communities.
Do you consider yourself part of the generation Y and a web 2.0 junkie with the creation of Twitteros?
Yes, I definitely consider myself a millennial and consider those who join Twitteros millennial-minded.
Do you consider yourself a tech junky?
Yes, of course.
How did the whole idea of creating Twitteros come up?
Basically, I modeled Twitteros after Twitter Moms with the goal of uniting Latino Twitter users and showing their diverse interests. Twitteros is the network for digitally influential Latinos. (His profile reads on Twitter Moms: “I am a fan of Twitter Moms…even though I'm a dude!” From this, we can infer that his approach of creating a community like this moms' hub for Latinos to connect, seems to have certainly worked.
Why a parrot?
A parrot humorously replaces the bird that is famous on Twitter. Matt further explains: “I wanted a character that is Latino and thought the parrot would be a pretty funny take on the Twitter bird!”
How long has it been since you began your online community and how far have you gotten from where you started–traffic, members etc.?
Twitteros hit its 1-year anniversary this past December and we've grown to over 600 strong, influential members (subscriber) who are well-connected on the Internet. We've surpassed 100,000 page views since we began.
How is your audience broken down in terms of geography, US versus Latin-American based members?
The site is mostly Latinos living in the US right now. However, there was a big jump of Chileans who joined after the earthquake. We are also gaining traction in other parts of Latin America.
Are you considering of migrating your community to any other platform—Face book?
For the time being, Twitteros is based solely on Twitter and allows users to show their extended presence to their blog/websites. There is a Facebook page, but that is mostly for those who want to keep up with the blog posts that users post daily.
Are you still a one man show or do you have bloggers who write for Twitteros?
Fortunately, the members help keep the website vibrant and full of content, especially when important issues come up.
What's your influence with this year's census and Latinos?
Twitteros is currently an Official Partner with ‘Voto Latino’ to reach out to digitally influential Latinos to get a complete, accurate count in the 2010 Census.
Have brands also reached out to you to help them get a WOM in the Hispanic community using Twitteros as the platform for it?
Yes, we've had some support from @southwestair and @tmobile. We did a great campaign with T-Mobile during the Latin Grammys.
Where do you see Twitteros a year from now?
A year from now, I see Twitteros connecting even more Latinos with their varied interests both in the US and in Latin America. 60% of tweets are in a language other than English.
What do you like most about social media and what do you foresee in the future of digital space?
Social media is only as good as the apps and open-source development that come from it. Content is nice (and key), but the tools are where the magic happens.
With the direction Mobile technology is gone in recent year, are you thinking of integrating your community to mobile in the near future?
We are already connected. If you visit Twitteros on an iPhone, you can see the iPhone version of the site. (But, still no phone or Android application for Twitteros though).
Matt Reyes is one of those people who had a vision to connect Latinos online and his hard work and perseverance has paid off, his influence in the digital space among Latinos has certainly resonated in this community. This is a growing community who is very interested in following the latest trends in technology and innovation, shopping online and connecting with people online. Like Matt, there are many other influential young Latinos who have made their mark in the space, by creating an ecosystem that is necessary and useful for people among a specific community to connect and share their ideas and passions with each other.
What's better than a basket full of kittens? One puppy. That's right; just one. Not a litter. No, that's too much love and awesomeness for anyone to contain. Just one cute, adorable, fuzzy puppy.
*cough* cats suck *cough*
Fabric recently finished designing and developing a new beta site for Dogasaur, a social site aimed at helping dog lovers improve their dogs' lives.
We started with a few simple goals: create a site that placed the best, most pertinent information on dog products, services and health at dog lovers fingertips; give dog owners a place to rate and review these things; and develop a home for canine experts to get their information out and available.
But, we quickly found in our discovery phase that ratings and reviews just weren't enough. Dogasaur needed a place for dog lovers to express themselves, to add their own personality (and their dogs' personalities) to their profiles. And, not only just dog lovers but the businesses serving them. We discussed options with the client and out new profile layouts were born.
We've had a ton of fun creating Dogasaur with our client and we're not finished yet. On the horizon: bigger and better tools for businesses to reach (and help) the Dogasaur audience; videos, pictures and dog breed information; more robust interaction tools with dog shelters, rescues and charity organizations; and other social tools to engage our user base.
Come on - you think you can handle it? You want to be our new PHP / SQL Developer – Full time. Why don't you submit your resume right now. Let's see what you can do.
This is an onsite position. No outsourcing. No telecommuting.
Interactive agency seeks a developer with PHP and SQL experience to participate in team based and independent development of new and existing projects. Recent CS graduate a plus.
Some end user documentation and technical support required
This is a career advancement opportunity for the right candidate.
Compensation: $40K+ DOE
* Job location is Los Angeles
Screw the recession. We're hiring. Here's the job posting:
Fabric Interactive is looking for a passionate internet marketer with two-three years of experience with social media, interactive, search, and/or advertising. This a unique opportunity to play a leading role in developing strategies and programs to drive measurable marketing results for our clients.
You must be a social media fanatic with high energy and deep curiosity about the interactive field. You’ll need to have great analytical skills and be a superb team player. We're looking for someone who understands that this is not a regular pit-stop gig before you go on to big agencies. We want an entrepreneurial mind and independent thinker with a desire to take this opportunity and run with it.
• Develop marketing services business unit
• Increase marketing services revenue and improve profitability
• Develop product launch marketing programs
• Position company as a leader in social media marketing services in Los Angeles
• Analyze existing marketing services for Fabric clients
• Develop and propose new marketing programs
• Develop online marketing strategy for clients
• Work with clients to identify the most appropriate blogs and social media
• Establish relationship with key bloggers in industry verticals
• Monitor social networks for specific clients and verticals
• Leverage social networks to build affinity with product or brand
• Leverage video sharing sites to advance a client’s message
• Conduct online research to identify Web sites and online influencers for outreach
• Conduct one-to-one outreach to site editors, writers, and other influencers
• Develop and manage online strategic partnerships for client projects
• Concept and manage paid placement opportunities, including sponsorships and search engine and banner advertising (organic and paid search engine marketing)
• Proactively introduce new ideas to improve Fabric’s offerings
• Improve effectiveness of marketing services cross all clients
• Maximize service growth from existing marketing services client base
• Propose and execute Fabric marketing program to attract new business
• Build social media marketing team
• Minimum of two years of experience in a similar role at an interactive, public relations, or advertising agency; or equivalent transferable experience
• Strong understanding and past/active use of search engines, discussion boards, blogs, video sharing sites, etc.
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills (strong copy/editorial writer a plus)
• Able to build strong relationships with clients
• The ability to define solutions that will generate measurable results for clients
• Ability to develop solutions that integrate performance metrics and analysis
• High standards for quality and professional integrity
Come on. Let's do this!
Oh, we admit it, we've done our fair share of this:
Now, we're on a mission to stop the non-sense.
Will you join us?
Every day, we answer questions about how we work - our process. While our process has been adopted from our work with start ups, it's a process that has been proven to work with all kinds of digital projects - from small websites to major apps built for global brands.
At Fabric, we use a process that mirrors the “Lean Product Development” methodology. There are several core concepts at the center of this methodology that frames everything we do:
So, how is this approach different than what we've seen used at most agencies?
(An important note: I'm not saying that they don't perform research or hold focus groups during early stages of product development. I'm saying that most agencies we know spend too much time and too much of your money working in their shop on tons of features that they do not know users want or will use. After 12 weeks, they launch the app or the website with 90% of the budget spent and then realize that users don't use most of the features they built).
What we do is quite different. Fabric sets aside the (often long) feature list in RFP's from clients and identifies the specific assumptions and the core hypothesis that the project is supposed to test. After we define exactly what we want to learn, we enter into a short (as short as possible) loop:
Build > Measure > Learn (return to build)
For each loop, we build the minimum of what we have to build: wireframes, designs, HTML, of dynamic product/forms - to TEST with customers. Only when we have data - either direct customer feedback or metrics do we move forward into the next loop.
Every process, every task, every bit of code we do is entirely focused on learning. We should never design or code anything that does not allow us to learn something. This means we have to always have to clearly define what we want to learn before we build.
While most digital agencies will push you into this linear workflow. (Hey, we used to do that too.)
Phase 1: Define
Phase 2: User Experience
Phase 3: Design
Phase 4: Develop
Phase 5: Test/QA
Phase 6: Deploy
Fabric's teams will go through these steps in fast motion. We compress work into numerous cycles with intent to learn in each cycle. Each cycle of learning should be days not weeks.
Why do we do this?
Because we've found that it is the best way to build outstanding products, websites, and apps that customers will actually use and LOVE.
What's your opinion on this process? Do you think this is the right track for your company?
Creative agencies such as advertising and design firms must deliver high-quality sites and apps on aggressive schedules for big brand clients. Unfortunately, agency teams often have limited technical expertise and few engineering resources. Agencies are driven by creative. They have amazing creative, art, and design teams. However, they seldom have deep technology experience and they often lack depth in software development. Driven primarily by creative marketing people, agencies seldom have creative technologists on staff and they struggle with technical documentation, process, and software development discipline.
This is why Fabric are the preferred development partner for agencies when they need to deliver social sites and apps for major brands. We add layers of expertise, skills, and proven execution ability to agencies in need. We've done it for Carmichael Lynch, David & Goliath, and even for interactive agencies such as Rocket XL.
We help agencies with technical expertise, writing functional specifications and UX documentation. We offer integrated development teams and our battle-tested process to deliver large scale social sites, complex API integrations and data aggregation solutions. Custom CMS builds or complete transition or integration of CMS solutions such as Silverstripe, Wordpress, and OneSite.
But most of all, the main reasons agencies hire Fabric is to make sure that important projects are delivered with top quality, on-time, and on-budget. Agencies smile. Clients are happy. That's what you want, right?
People are freaking out. The bad companies and clowns are done. Perfect. This is the time to be smart and innovative. Here's some of what the people @ Fabric will do this year:
Good people and positive vibe. No whining. Let's do this. Come join our tribe!
Recently, we started looking for a marketer and social media fanatic to join our team. I was already receiving e-mails from people looking for a job and last week, I wrote this e-mail to someone who was interested in working at Fabric. I'll share it here:
To be honest, we don't really care about resumes or deep experience. What matters: VERY curious. Passion. High energy. Very self-sufficient. Great analytical skills. Excellent team player. And, most importantly, doing!
If you want to work in interactive and social media - you need to maintain a blog, use tons of social tools daily (twitter, digg, etc.), be a bit nuts about Facebook, iPhone, applications, and other social networks. Dig deep into search and interactive field. It helps if you know PPC and some SEO. Research fast and move fast. Don't talk. Just do it. Also, it would be a good idea to have 100's of bookmarks of sites that matter in social. Read 10 blogs from industry leaders every week. Read www.techcrunch.com and www.adweek.com and all that stuff. Daily. Rinse and repeat until you feel you get it. If you don't get it - ask. Don't pretend that you do. It will just bite you later.
To work for a small agency like Fabric, you need to hit the ground running. Ask smart questions. And be highly critical of everything you come across. Question media. Question everything. But most of all, keep pushing and doing.
I've interviewed loads of people before. They all say they are “interested” and “want to learn.” 80% of the time - it's all interview BS. They don't do anything, they don't maintain their own online shit, and they don't take initiative - so we don't hire them.
I just wanted to give it to you straight. If you think you can handle it, let's meet. If you feel you're not there yet, tell me now and come back when you got your stuff together.
Feel free to share this email with anyone you like.
So, there you have it. Think you're perfect for Fabric? Show us what you did last month. Then, let's talk.
Are you excited about next year? We are! We have a simple plan: Do more amazing projects with you!
I know many of you had a rough year. This recession has been a real bastard. But you know what? It's going to get better. Much better! If you're a talented experience designer, developer, or marketer and want to make a big splash in 2010 - come see us now. Let's get ready!
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