Author: admin

Yelp as a Weapon

Businesses run in fear….or don’t worry about it.
Consumers don’t worry about it or aim it like a sword.

What is the magic of the review post and what is reasonable? Of course this answer is highly dependent on the individual or organization.

I think the advent of review sites from Yelp, Angie’s List, Open Table and the like, have been a great tool for shoppers. I certainly utilize them regularly and Dream Warrior customers have found us through the same process.

As raters though, I wonder if we should (as I admit to this) Yelp when Angry — or Yelp under the influence for that matter (YUI?). Feedback is important although as I read the reviews of others, I tend to focus more on the patterns and more detailed reviews as opposed to those that may be a one-off or emotion based.

Businesses are often the recipients of a revenge reviews or weaponized comments. Why do customers do this? Your customers will have to make that decision for themselves but for a business, there is a lesson to learn. Even if the comments may be what you deem an ‘unfair’ review, something brought the consumer to that level of frustration to take the time to make a review and let their opinion be heard. Those are the anomalies to remove from your process – fair or not.

How should you reply to reviews? I tend to concur with Yelp’s advice … rarely publicly; a ‘thank-you’ to great reviews and a ‘can I make it better next time’ response to reviews that call for improvement.

As to how Yelp filters their reviews, the jury may still be out. While Yelp advises us on their goal, it doesn’t always seem like that to me. But this can be resolved from your end.

Minimize the potential for negative reviews in your business practices/rules.

I know it’s a pain but you have to do it

I count myself among the many who groan at automatic password changes, passwords that aren’t easy to memorize…and just about any security measure that makes things less ‘handy’. I do it because I have to do it…and probably because I tell others they have to do it.

But the recent hacking at Target, is reinforcement. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-target-encrypted-pin-breach-20131227,0,1295751.story#axzz2pJ8FvT3e

The fact is…we (and you) now are obligated as web providers, employers, clients and folks who manage other’s data. The simple things do matter and as much as we want to pass them by..don’t do it.

Here are a few simple musts — I’m sure our tech team will have many to add:

Make your password complex – and don’t be obvious
Don’t give everyone access to your network -have separate ones where possible. Change that password often
Don’t join just any network
Don’t upload files that you are not sure of to your network, website or internal file system
Don’t turn-off the auto-logoff on your computer/site.
DON’T open the emails you don’t know – even if you are curious.

Let common sense prevail and remember…it might be a pain but it has to happen.

Love on San Pedro and other things I saw

I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Cornerstone Theater Company present “Love on San Pedro” last night at the Los Angeles Mission. It was funny, intense and educational……thought-provoking. (My apologies for leaving a bit early). The acting and story were very well done I find myself both anticipatory and anxious about how it ended. If you have time and want to learn more about issues on Skid Row and beyond please go see it: http://cornerstonetheater.org

As a member of the LAMP BOD, I was proud to know that our members helped and participated in the show. Three cheers.

While we are leaving, we saw some other things that are images I can’t (and should not) shake. I often travel to that area of town during the day for business and to visit LAMP. But this was my first visit at night in some time.

I was amazed at the strength of the residents of Skid Row for their determination and won’t give up attitude.
I didn’t realize how many people, tents and shopping carts there were.
I was speechless at how as we traveled the distance of only one block the environment transformed from residents trying to keep warm under their tarps to 20-somethings carrying designer bags in-between the stores.

Have we turned such a blind eye to other human beings? I don’t’ think so. But, I do wonder if we often try to avoid those images and experiences because the gravity and cultural messages are disturbing and perhaps overwhelming. We might wonder if there’s anything we can do to help…or if there is something within our own wheelhouse we can contribute. I think so.

If you are able to help, please consider helping LAMP at http://lampcommunity.org

You don’t need fancy Clackers!

Borrowed from our inspiration, Gil Cates’ use of a gong to announce successes and celebrations. The DWG team now ‘clacks’.

After shopping for an appropriate gong, I thought we might need to be more original when I came across two what we have been calling Clackers that we bought on our last China teaching trip. (It’s sort of a tambourine with balls on strings – so when you spin it – it drums).

Initially, we used it to make our team meetings more fun and to announce new projects or web site launches. It has evolved in a way that makes me smile. The guidelines for when to clack has diluted, it is now a team activity. People will clack when they have a celebration or a milestone and the entire team perks up their ears.

You don’t need a Clacker to Clack

A few months back, we had a meeting and no one brought a clacker….so we all just said “clacker, clacker, clacker”. We laughed and that is now part of our team ritual.

It’s important to celebrate the big moments for the organization….but it’s also important to celebrate the moments that are important to team members.

…clacker, clacker, clacker….

LaMae in LA Times

LaMae Weber is chief executive officer at San Fernando Valley-based Dream Warrior Group, a software development company. She said that people interested in breaking into the field or making themselves more attractive to employers must have expertise in a variety of areas. “You really need to have experience in more than one discipline,” she said. “You need different skill sets. Someone who may have just worked on search engine optimization one day could be asked to take on a Web design project the next day and do some graphic arts project the day after that.” Read more

DWG adds Art Director Linda Ortiz as Chief Creative Officer

Dream Warrior is excited to announce that award winning creative director and integrated marketing maven, Linda Ortiz, has joined our team and will be bringing her expertise to help you reach your marketing goals. Linda has vast experience in international branding, digital marketing and creative design having lead the creative campaigns for many Fortune 500 companies including the Disney Channel, ABC Television, Universal Pictures, Lion’s Gate Films, and Mattel.

Linda is experienced in the disciplines of graphic design, website development, brand analysis and strategy, brand positioning and development, messaging and communications, digital marketing, social media, public relations, media relations, internet advertising, and print production.

In addition, Linda currently heads the marketing and publicity efforts for the Los Angeles Associates of Save the Children, a global non-profit organization with 75 years of success delivering programs to 120 countries helping children and their families live sustainably better lives.

LAMP Community

LaMae Weber Joins Board of Directors

It’s been some time since I had the pleasure to be of personal service to members of our community (since my time as ED of Family Services Alliance of Southeast Idaho). While my work often allows me to help by working with non-profits, I now have the honor of being a bit more ‘hands-on’.

I’m sure I’ll be speaking a lot about LAMP and the amazing work they do on Skid Row and beyond. But….what attracted me was the Housing First model of the most needy and most underserved in Los Angeles including those with mental illness.

Thank you for having me LAMP – I look forward to being of service.

Binge TV Watching – How it can/should impact your web site?

Recently, I saw a discussion (CNN as I recall) regarding the changing habits of TV viewers and primarily how netflix has impacted those habits. (As an aside, Netflix shows us that major stumbles can be turned around.)

The discussion surrounded the recognition that many folks are now watching whole TV series in one sitting – i.e. binge TV. I am one of those viewers. They were using the ‘House of Cards’ as an example because Netflix launced the entire season on the same day.

But I do think there was an element lacking from this discussion. I don’t sit on the couch or lounge and watch 12 hours of TV. While I might find that a nice break, I don’t do that and don’t believe it’s typical. In reality, I am usually on my computer working and my iPad is running through the season next to me. My attention to each of the activities varies greatly – I often am rewinding because I realize I’ve missed 45 minutes.

But what do my and others viewing habits have to do with your web site? Same song – different verse.

It’s all about competition for the eyeballs. Can your web site stand up to a great TV series or movies online? How do you compete for the visitors eyeballs? What attracts their attention might be about design, information, the 3 second impact….but it also might be about when they are browsing?

Consider this….does it matter when someone is browsing your site?

Might someone during the workday be more apt to search sites without volume or flashy images that capture your eyes and others?
Might a Saturday afternoon movie watch need to get right to the information because their attention span is shorter?
Might someone eating dinner, using the iPad and talking with the family be looking for different content?

Might this depend on your business? Yup. These are things I think about every day — (even as I am web surfing).

Cow-path website navigation

We’ve all heard the experts and read the articles about the best way to set up your web’s information design. Graphics, detailed menus, right navigation, left navigation, heat maps, intuitive, topical, functional – STOP STOP STOP.

I propose Cow-Path navigation design. Behnam Ataee,, CTO of Dream Warrior Group, Inc. shows his expertise every day when designing and implementing the information design on web sites from The Arts to E-Commerce. He consults with clients about their goals, researches and then uses his knowledge of user behavior to design the best possible initial site navigation.

But is that enough? I say “It’s the ideal and necessary start but we can’t stop there. This is where observation and analytics come in to the picture. Now that we have a logical and amazing looking navigation, we need to see what happens. Because (and I know this is a shock), people don’t always act logically. As marketers and developers, we need to see what is happening – figure out why and if we can and adopt the navigation schema to behavior.

Certainly, we still want to design a site that funnels folks to the desired end… But they may have a better way to get there. Or, it may not be better but it was they want… give them what they want.

As I was discussing this with our new friend and client, John Olchak from The The San Diego Repertory Theatre, he likened it to landscape designers who don’t put in the concrete sidewalks until they see where people are making their own paths. Smart. I likened this back to my college days at UWSP. Outside the Science and Natural Resources building there were signs saying ‘Don’t make cow-paths!” because the student body was forever cutting corners and tearing up the grass (I confess to nothing).

So, with Web site navigation I say “Let’s embrace the cow-paths”. Check out your analytics how are people getting to your desired goal/conversion? Can we make that navigation easier and more enticing for others? So, don’t ever pour concrete on your web site. Leave the navigation open to change to match the cow-path or add a second path. Keep it simple, clean and give the visitors what they want.
Now… are your visitors not converting or choosing to make a path to your goal page? That’s another blog and conversation about goals, page content and ease of conversion. We’ll talk soon.

Mooo