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What’s Booming in Austin?

What’s Booming in Austin?

Posted on May 30, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Earlier this year, U.S. News ranked Austin, Texas the best place to live in the United States. The city is growing faster now than ever, and people are wondering what is drawing such a large crowd to Austin. Along with it being the Live Music Capital of the world, Austin’s job market is thriving and businesses are flourishing. U.S. News analyzed the cost of living, job market, quality of life and desirability to determine rankings which resulted in Austin being the most desirable place to live in 2017.

There are multiple free shows in Austin just about every night. With companies like Do512 and 365ThingsAustin, you can sort through everything going on in Austin on any particular day and make after-work plans just like that.

Although nightlife in ATX is booming, that’s not the only reason people are flocking to Austin. The tech industry is offering more jobs in Austin than any other industry. Tech startups are popping up everywhere, and companies need to fill roles like data scientists, web designers, and UX designers more and more each day.

What’s next? Austin is expected to have a population of about three million by 2030, currently sitting at just over two million. With the number of people moving to Austin steadily increasing, homebuilders are having a tough time keeping up with the demand—hence the skyrocketing living expenses. So whether you’re in the job market or simply looking for a cool, hip place to relocate, now is the time to get here!

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The Difference Between AR and VR

The Difference Between AR and VR

Posted on May 25, 2017 by Alyssa Zucker

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality blur the line between reality and fantasy. VR transports our perception into another realm, and AR introduces elements of illusion into the lens of our everyday scenery. Whichever technology you choose to alter your reality, this concept is gaining attention in the digital world. VR goggles went from an idea in a lab to a Christmas present in an incredibly short time period. AR has come a long way as well—it went from being a simple concept to the star of the hit iPhone app “Pokemon Go”; however, even these seemingly new forms of technology are beginning to be replaced by new advancements.

Virtual Reality

When a new and innovative product hits the market, it’s typically targeted at high-end spenders and technology-hungry consumers. Virtual reality has just made itself available to the common consumer with the introduction of Google Cardboard. This contemporary contraption allows you to turn your smartphone into a VR headset. While it may seem like a minuscule development in the VR/AR grand scheme, the ability to give the average consumer a sense of virtual reality at a low cost is really a bold step forward. For example: compare Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, and Samsung Gear VR. These headsets all require the use of a smartphone and have price tags that range from $15-$99 but are still priced on the lower end compared to the headsets that die-hard gamers go for.

PS lovers, of course, have the option to stick to their ways and purchase the PlayStation VR headset. Branding itself as a PlayStation accessory rather than a VR competitor, this console introduces a new outlook of VR to big time gamers. PlayStation VR offers PS fanatics the chance to play their favorite games virtually for $399. Bought by Facebook, the Oculus Rift has surmounted the competition with the ability to plug into a computer and display 3D images on all screens by tracking your head movements. This next-level Oculus Rift VR experience that comes with the convenient aspect of mobility stands at the price of $599. Next, the HTC Vive is among the VR top picks with approximately 70 sensors, 360-degree coverage, the option to place sensors around your home for the most effective game play, and functions to reduce motion sickness. This top-notch VR headset runs with the price tag of $799. In the world of gaming, big name companies are moving quickly to find the next big thing in virtual reality.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality and mixed reality have slight differences, but together they are moving up on the must-watch list. Rather than being limited to the world within a game, AR and MR allow features within the game to be displayed on your kitchen table, or on your bathroom wall. At a whopping $3,000, the Microsoft HoloLens is the top trending product in the realm of AR. For a slightly lesser $599, the FoveO uses eye-tracking sensors to form a new way of connecting to the console.

Just like with the introduction of “Pokemon Go”, augmented reality is working toward a casual transition into your everyday life. Snapchat filters are the most commonly used forms of AR, and most of us don’t even realize it. Along with the filters, the new introduction of the Snapchat Spectacles, or Snapchat glasses, allows your eyes to become your Snapchat lens for $129, thus the colloquial future of augmented reality.

There are a lot of ideas for the future with augmented reality, most of which we’re hoping to see once Apple joins the game. Presently, the merging of smartphones and AR seems to be the biggest trend in this idea of distorted perception. In the near future more ideas will become reality; along with Apple, the auto industry is not too far behind. With digital screens displaying vital information and self-driving cars on the horizon, things will be shifting very quickly. Whether it’s virtual, augmented or mixed reality, the reality of it all is that the industry is constantly updating and adapting—follow our Facebook page to keep up!

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Rebranding—Sharing Our Experience

Rebranding—Sharing Our Experience

Posted on May 24, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Scaling a business can happen intentionally, or otherwise, unintentionally. Either way, you’re going to have to manage pretty big changes. For us, this means expanding our services, refreshing our entire brand, revamping our website, moving into a bigger office and welcoming new members to our team. Needless to say, we’ve been busy! Throughout our growth and rebranding experience, we’ve really taken a step back to evaluate our core values and focus on why we do what we do. At the end of the day, what we find to be most rewarding is building relationships and sharing the joy of flourishing in doing what we love. Our team finds great value in truly getting to know our clients’ stories on a personal level and authentically producing premium deliverables so that their businesses can succeed.

Branding

While we provide everything from light refreshes to complete overhauls for our clients’ brands, we also need to update our own brand, from time to time. Our old logo will always have a special place here at HMG. However, after nearly 14 years of only subtle tweaking, it was time to give our logo and brand the revamp they deserve. Our main objective for the logo redesign was to create a clean and appealing mark, which we plan to leave on the next 14 years.

Typography

We incorporated lightly-modified typography that draws classic and timeless aspects from Futura, but with a more contemporary feel—similar to Avenir. Following the necessary planning and modifications, we feel that our new typographic treatment will be here to stay for the long haul.

Color palette

From the beginning of our rebranding process, we made the choice to use our original HMG blue as a starting point. From there, we decided that the updated color palette should be simple, yet dynamic enough for integration across all brand assets. The new color palette has already started to appear on a few pieces of internal collateral, as well as on the winning entry in the 2017 Pixelwood Derby.

Icon

For our icon—we aimed to produce something that could stand alone and be recognized as ours. To achieve this, we crafted an abstracted composition that, upon closer inspection, reveals “HMG” in the angles. This was also created entirely with simple 90-degree angles.

Social Media

Every business has a story. We leverage social media to chronicle our company culture, the talent of each person on our team, and also some of the less extravagant bits of our day-to-day story. We value the personality and character of each member of our team and have found Instagram to be a great tool for showcasing the talent and creativity that flows throughout the office. We also make use of the real-time engagement that social media offers. Watching our peers succeed in the Austin community has been invigorating, and being able to interact and congratulate them on their success brings us all closer.

Through Facebook and Twitter, we’ve seen great interest in our blog and the informative content we post on hot topics within the tech industry. Readers benefit from our blogs which further explain certain areas of the industry, offer deeper insight into specific services and explain how they can get their head around ROI and many other topics. The majority of our posts are geared toward helping marketers better understand the digital world and the current trends that shape it.

What’s next?

Our vision for revamping our website is to create a more seamless user experience. Users should be able to quickly navigate to information on our services, and the information should be direct and easily absorbed. The ideal result of this would be that current and prospective clients come away with a clear understanding of who we are, what we do and how we think. Smoothing and polishing a user’s journey is essential for not only demonstrating your own understanding but also the value placed on each user’s time. For this reason, it also should never be unclear how a user would get in contact.

Now that we have laid the foundation for our updated brand, you can expect to see much more in the coming months. We have started planning our new website which should bring together all of our hard work and revamped branding elements. Let us know if you like what you see!

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Pixelwood Derby WIN!

Pixelwood Derby WIN!

Posted on May 19, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Yesterday was the fourth annual Pixelwood Derby hosted by Sitegoals, an Austin-based creative agency. In the last four years, the classic pinewood derby event has grown drastically, and this year, 29 Austin companies came out to compete including YETI, Favor, Alamo Drafthouse, Capital Factory, Rocksauce Studios, Workhorse and Samba TV.

Last year, our very own Britney Steers brought home the GOLD! She was good, but we knew we had to step up our game because it started to get pretty competitive. This year, Cartha Stewart swept all rounds and we came home with the first-place trophy for speed! Constructing this ever so aerodynamic pinewood derby car was anything but easy. Now that we’ve been unbeatable for two years in a row, the competition is getting hot. We’ve already started scheming for next year and we can’t wait to see what everyone is going to bring to the table.

Each year, the Pixelwood Derby benefits a non-profit in which it donates all proceeds. So far, the Pixelwood Derby has donated proceeds to the Thinkery, The SAFE Alliance and this year proceeds are going to STEMed Labs. STEMed Labs is a local non-profit dedicated to improving science, technology, engineering and math programs for students grades K-12. The goal of the organization is to leverage project resources to increase students’ interest in STEM and challenge them with real-world problems that prepare them to be purpose-driven innovators. For more information click here.

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How We Work With Clients

How We Work With Clients

Posted on May 16, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Finding the right agency can be a difficult and stressful process, usually due to several factors simultaneously in motion. You may need help developing a branding strategy before it’s time to begin the web project, or you may need to coordinate ongoing marketing efforts, such as PPC or retargeting, within the scope of a much larger project that is already underway. It can also be tough to choose an agency that fully understands and harmonize your story, brand and culture consistently through every single project. However, the right fit is usually self-evident, meaning that you’ll know when you’ve found the right one.

Here at HMG, we pride ourselves on the authenticity of both our creative process and work itself. Staying true to our core values, our team of experts collaborate daily to maximize creativity and apply diverse perspectives to each client and their story. First and foremost, our top priority is to cultivate long-lasting partnerships with every one of our clients. Maintaining transparent communication is key to developing rapport and managing expectations throughout the course of each project. We also consider ourselves to be part of each client’s team, committing ourselves to the development of unique, high-quality deliverables that position them for success.

As a full-service marketing agency, our professional bandwidth allows us to cater to marketing needs across the board, from brand assessment and strategy, to web development and implementation of interactive marketing initiatives. Whether you need one of our services or five of our services plus ongoing maintenance, we tailor each project to align with your specific needs, brand and culture. During the kickoff meeting, we will dive into your values, your target audience and your customer journeys. Then we will incorporate our findings into your web project, digital marketing strategy, or whatever else you may need.

And now for the fun part—budgeting! Establishing a clear understanding of your budget upfront allows us to remain transparent when communicating realistic expectations for how a project will align with its existing budget. We generally make two budgeting methods available: fixed-rate bids and ongoing retainers.

Large-scale projects which clearly define a set of deliverables, such as a web development project, typically work best with a flat, fixed rate, which can be easily made into a monthly investment. Fixed-rate billing also works well when bundling services together, into a custom package. However, quite often, a client will also require ongoing marketing services in addition to a larger fixed-rate project, which would necessitate a retainer.

A retainer is a pre-purchased block of hours. Retainers are usually implemented when our services are required on an as-needed basis. With a retainer, you have more flexibility for how the hours are spent and on which projects or services they are allocated—whether that be PPC, retargeting, web maintenance, or ongoing creative services such as print collateral.

In this digital age, technology is rapidly changing and the need to keep up with its dynamic evolution is greater than ever. So let’s connect and chat about how we can support your marketing efforts!

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The Art of Dashboarding

The Art of Dashboarding

Posted on May 11, 2017 by Alyssa Zucker

Dashboarding embodies the realms of both art and science. With the ability to present data in a clear and aesthetically pleasing way, dashboards bridge the gap between form and function. It is essentially a tool that aggregates all vital resources needed to make informed decisions and take action. Having previously focused on the potent dashboard of google analytics, creating your own custom dashboard is a powerful way to display useful data, and more.

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