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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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Client Disrupts Entire Spa Industry

Client Disrupts Entire Spa Industry

Posted on May 04, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Technology has disrupted many industries in its rapid evolution over the past 50 years. Keeping up to speed with tech trends, much less staying ahead of the game, can be a real challenge. As a result of the demanding digital age we now live in, the vast majority of industries have integrated technology into their systems. With this in mind, the team at The Spa Mart knew to approach their new spa distribution venture with a strong emphasis on technology.  

That’s where HMG Creative came in. We were contacted by the development team, and immediately understood their vision for a top-notch eCommerce and online education website that would better serve spa professionals. We took their idea and molded it into a fresh, bold brand to encompass the values and traditions of the spa industry.

After completing The Spa Mart’s branding, we shifted gears into a six-month web development project that takes advantage of Magento 2.0, the successor to the widely popular eCommerce platform of the same name. We’ve also incorporated a system called Odoo, which is an inventory control manager that will allow The Spa Mart to better manage orders and control their back office system. Our client’s main goals were to build and nourish relationships with their customers, help their customers grow their own businesses and provide premium customer service. With the website functioning as the nucleus of their company, we integrated different customer journeys to provide optimal user experience for each customer depending on individual needs—whether they seek to purchase products or search for an online course.

The web-development project consisted of site hierarchy, user experience design, visual design and content strategy. Currently in the optimization and customization phase, the ability to continuously manage and optimize the site is a primary focus as we perfect the site’s flow. As they say—a high-quality, growth driven website is nothing without proper marketing. Taking this to heart, we are also currently in the process of developing a tailored digital marketing strategy to include powerful digital media management, such as pay-per-click advertising and retargeting.

The Spa Mart has been an incredible client, and our team here at HMG is grateful to be able to work with such amazing folks. We share the passion for building relationships and helping others grow their own businesses, so here’s to flourishing in doing what we love!

The Spa Mart’s site is currently active, fully responsive and hosted at HMG Creative.

If you would like more information on our services, leave us a comment or click here.

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4 Benefits of a Creative Workspace

4 Benefits of a Creative Workspace

Posted on May 02, 2017 by Alyssa Zucker

Creative space is much more than simply decorating your desk with toys and distractions (like Michael Scott from The Office). We spend a large portion of our lives working, so creating a work environment that promotes collaborative work, natural light, optional standing, and an aesthetically pleasing layout encourages us to enjoy the work we do—which tends to produce better work. On top of enticement to come into work, a creative workspace provides many physical, emotional, and professional benefits.

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Knock Your Block Off

Knock Your Block Off

Posted on Apr 27, 2017 by Ian Wilson

Few things are more frightening to a creative than the blank page used to begin every project. It can be unnerving, and you may lock up. Then after jotting down a handful of ideas, you face a new challenge. This time your subconscious is trying to break your stride by sowing the seeds of fear, self-doubt, and temptation.

As I’ve long maintained: Creativity is kinetic. In other words, keep your pencil moving or you’ll end up stuck in the mud. If you do (and you will) find yourself at a standstill, being able to recognize what’s happening can help you to break yourself out of that unproductive mindset, which is the first step to getting back on track. For this reason, I’ve compiled a short list of a few common obstacles you’ll likely face.

  • Stop waiting for the winners

Think of your mind as a jar full of jelly beans, where the blue beans are the brilliant ideas you’re after. If you’re only allowing the blue beans to leave the jar, then your overall yield will suffer. A better plan would be to first pour everything out, then follow that up by sorting the great from mediocre. Getting the subpar ideas out of your head also has its benefits, because it frees up mental resources, clearing the way for fresh ideas to move in.

  • Don’t puppy-love your ideas

We get it, you’re clever. However, your role at this point is to catch as many of the ideas spilling out of you as you can. Just because you think you’ve hit pay dirt is no reason to jump the gun and begin refining. If you feel this way about a recent idea, chances are that you’re harboring a bias toward an idea that it is probably too cute or grandiose to make the final cut anyway. It may be that it only sparkles in contrast to the string of lackluster ideas that led up to it. Plus, creativity usually happens in bursts, so it would be a titanic mistake to stop upon reaching the tip of the iceberg.

  • Stick to the plan

Strategy is the anchor for your campaign. It’s purpose is to ensure that your work aligns with all other work in order to maintain a cohesive and uniform message. The further you try to stretch the leash that tethers you to your strategy, the more work your audience will have to do to make sense of what you are trying to get across. If you make them do too much work, they’ll likely give up and move on.

  • Safety third

Creativity occupies the shared space on the venn diagram between a problem’s solution and novelty. Just as you stick to the strategy, you must also find new ways to approach it. This is the time to take some risks and see what happens. Think of it as shoplifting from the candy store in your mind. When your ideas begin to feel robotic and manufactured, try pushing them to a frightening extreme. Then walk them back to find the breaking point.

  • Physical needs take mental energy

Whether you’re hungry, restless, tired or just plain hungover, your body is trying to get your attention. Working through these distractions can be tough, and your work will likely suffer due to divided focus. Conversely, the endorphin boost from taking a walk, or getting up every so often to stretch, can be great for productivity. Physical activity also doesn’t need to be exercise, it can be as simple as arranging your lunch in an eye-appealing way or giving yourself time to get enough sleep. Find out what works for you, and incorporate it into your process.

Ultimately the solution to getting stuck is always to get back to work. You could wax intellectual about process, or stall for time setting up your environment, but it’s never going to give you the same satisfaction as real progress. Instead, do what the pros do—roll up your sleeves and do the work. Taking a page from one of the United Kingdom’s most renowned prime ministers:

“When you’re going through hell, keep going.”—Winston Churchill

Now, don’t you have some work to do?

 

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Today’s Special: Acronym Soup!

Today’s Special: Acronym Soup!

Posted on Apr 20, 2017 by Ian Wilson

In this modern world of information being generated, processed, validated; flying this way and that; not to mention adhering to character limits–abbreviations help us to condense important concepts for quick communication. Two popular, and often confused, methods for abbreviating an idea are acronyms and initialisms. Both use the initial letter of each word in a phrase, with the key difference being that acronyms form a word that can be spoken, while the letters are individually pronounced for initialisms (think NASA versus the NSA).

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