Author: CDG Interactive

TasteOfSavings_BlogCDG is proud to announce the debut of our third iAd campaign for car insurance giant GEICO. To follow up on the success of our Wheel of Wisdom and Secret Savings Society iAds, we developed The Taste of Savings, a whimsical and lighthearted spin on the idea of “car insurance as delicious beverage.”

“The Taste of Savings” ties into the company’s new television/Internet ad campaign, in which people on-the-street are asked to take a Car Insurance Taste Test.

In the iAd, we expand on the taste test idea by inviting users to create their own Taste of Savings. Once they launch the GEICO iAd, users go through a four-step process to create their delicious blend. These engaging, game-like interfaces allow users to to collect the Value Berries, blend them up in the Sav-o-matic, fill up bottles of GEICO on an assembly line, and finally, create their own personalized label.

The iAd also provides a multitude of ways for users to further interact with GEICO—by watching the Taste Test ads, downloading ringtones and Taste of Savings wallpapers, or getting a quote at geico.com.

“The success of our previous iAds set the bar very high,” says Matthew Snyder, CDG’s creative director, “We worked hard to create an engaging and fun concept that embraces the interactivity available through the iAd platform. We couldn’t be happier with the results.”

The iAd began running earlier this week. You can see The Taste of Savings, and all other GEICO iAds by downloading the iAd Gallery App and searching for GEICO. Have Fun!

If you need a mobile advertising solution for your company, contact CDG.

Apparently there's a newish and troubling trend of employers asking job candidates to share their Facebook passwords. Savvy job hunters (and smart online citizens) are diligent about setting their privacy settings and controlling what information is public, and which stays private.  Some employers want to see what they are missing. Here's why it's an incredibly bad idea to open this particular can of digital worms.

Why Employers Shouldn’t Ask

First of all, it’s a violation of Facebook’s terms of service to collect other users’ information without Facebook’s permission (which they have already explicitly stated that you don’t have). 

More important, if a job seeker has done his or her due diligence about keeping certain information private, they've probably done it for a reason—if only because they don't want to share their wedding photos or weekend plans with the masses.

If you, as a prospective employer pry into that secured space, then you might inadvertently discover that a candidate is a member of a protected class (based on religion, sexual orientation, race, disability, etc.). Any hiring decision you make based on that information can make you liable to legal action. And even if you know that information had no bearing in your decision, the job candidate might not believe you and take action anyway.

Why Candidates Shouldn’t Tell

Technically, it’s a violation of Facebook’s terms of service to share your password, but we all know that's not the real issue.

If employers ask for your social media login once, they're implicity telling you that they don't trust your "public" self and feel that they should have intimate knowledge of your private affairs. In very specialized cases, say, if you are seeking security clearance from the government, then that level of scrutiny is appropriate and necessary. But in most cases, you should be awfully troubled by an employer who needs that level of access to your private life.

If you think about it, a company that expects you to share your Facebook password is likely not the kind of company you'd want to work with. Do yourself a favor and politely end the interview after the question has been asked.

Why CDG Will Never Ask (and will be really disappointed if you did tell)

At CDG, we will never ask for your private passwords. And sharing them shows an appalling lack of understanding of password security. (Frankly, we’d wonder what other information you’d be comfortable sharing with others.)  Are we going to check your public social media profiles? You bet we are. Because we would much rather see you demonstrate a good understanding of privacy settings—and good judgement about what kind of information to share publically—than ask for your personal information. 

 

Clean_currentsCDG has a history of providing interactive solutions across a broad spectrum of dynamic industries. Few industries today are more dynamic than the energy sector.  With the advent of deregulation energy companies—and their consumers—face the challenge of understanding how energy consumption is changing, evaluating options, and exercising responsible choices. Mike Koch, CDG's Director of Business Development and owner of Firefly Farms takes a look at what’s on the horizon for the energy industry and discusses how interactive media can help bring the picture into focus.

I am a small business owner, interactive marketing professional, capitalist, and committed environmental protectionist.

Over the last few months, these sometimes conflicting passions have led me to educate myself on an industry that touches our lives and wallets virtually every moment of every day: energy consumption. 

One of the big questions consumers are asking themselves is: “How can I ensure what I consume is locally and sustainably produced?”  Witness the resurgence in our local food markets.

Framing that question around energy consumption, I started to wonder how many of us as consumers even wonder where we derive the electric current that literally powers our lives.  (Is it generated from oil? coal? wind? nuclear reactors? natural gas? Where is it generated?  What is its impact on our environment?) How many of us don’t bother to ask the questions, and simply take for granted that the lights will go on and the devices will recharge?

Educating Consumers Online

The energy industry is a heady, politically-contentious sphere where long-held monopolies fight for survival and consumer behavior is hard to change.  As one of many Maryland business owners who recently testified in the Maryland State Legislature regarding proposed Marcellus Shale Drillinga.k.a. “fracking”I’ve witnessed this contention first-hand.

However, in many states these energy markets are actively being restructured to increase competition and consumer choice.  With active deregulation at work, residential and business alike need to understand our options and how to exercise the power of choice.

Continue reading "Looking at Energy: Choice, Responsibility & Connection" »

Phillips-galleryBeing based in Washington, DC, we at CDG are literally surrounded by world-class muesums. (In fact, if we hurled a rock off of our balcony, we could probably hit the Phillips Collection—not that we would want to, of course.) Plus, we count the wonderful Muscarelle Museum in Williamsburg as a client. We’ve begun to think more and more about the online presence that museums provide to their audience, from online collections to logistical help to mobile apps. This post explores the realities and possibilities of the digital museum experience in the first entry of a new blog series.

So, there is this big idea brewing among the minds and talents who curate and run museums across the country. It’s about re-conceptualizing the function or role of museum websites in order to enhance the user’s online experience.

Up to now, the typical museum website has basically been used as a virtual replacement for the brick and mortar building it represents (as well as a logistical guide for potential visitors). That approach made sense back when museums were first venturing online.

But we are living in a culture where Internet and mobile technologies are evolving rapidly (read: daily!) and people’s expectations of an “online experience” are different than they were five years ago—or even two years ago.

Museums should start thinking about ways to re-position their websites to serve new functions in order to meet the demands of a mobile-savvy and social media-captivated audience. After all, visiting a museum website is not like physically being at the museum. Why should it try to be?

We wanted to start thinking about how museums can start to create a new type of user experience. And we came up with three guiding words: enable, enlighten, and engage.

  • Enable: For every person that can visit a museum, there are literally millions more who can access it through technology, mobile or otherwise. Rather than merely replicate their collections online—although that’s a good start—museums could view their websites as a way to experience their collections and content in new and expansive ways. Using social media, museums can also proactively enable their audience members to not only experience content, but to share it with others. By allowing the visitor to comment, tag, or pin information, the museum will reach a much wider (social) network.
  • Enlighten: Museums, and the people who curate them, are regarded as experts in their fields.  But the majority of visitors (online and offline) to museums are not experts—most are unfamiliar with the academic language of art, history, science, etc. Most museums have educational programs or components, so why not extend that online? There’s no reason that museum websites can’t interactively educate users directly on their sites. By exploring innovations in online education, museums could attract a younger, more diverse audience that could eventually translate into more actual visits to the physical museum.
  • Engage: Museums have one incredible asset when it comes to the digital space--content. They should take advantage of the possibilities inherent in digital technology and innovate on the ways users experience content. Videos, podcasts, streaming collections and apps are only a few of the tools that museums could use to create a truly unique online experience for users.

These are initial thoughts about expanding the online museum experience.

[Edit 9.20.12]: The next post in this series reviews the interactive Smithsonian exhibit "The Art of Video Games" and how it leverages viewer participation through social media and other channels. In a future post we'll also take a field trip to the Phillips Collection to give their mobile app a try, and see how it adds to the museum experience.

In the meantime, if your museum is looking for a digital solution, contact CDG.

Afb-site-redesign-accessibility-2012

Yesterday the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) launched the new afb.org, designed and developed by CDG Interactive.  This redesign of AFB’s flagship website marks the organization’s latest collaboration with CDG; over the past seven years, we’ve provided multiple interactive solutions for AFB’s wide and diverse audience.

In redesigning its site, AFB wanted to capitalize on technology and mark-up advancements that allowed for greater aesthetic and functional flexibility—while still maintaining a 100% accessible site. In addition, AFB needed an information architecture strong enough to support its immense and growing amount of online resources and information. It was a challenge that CDG approached with enthusiasm.

“Working with AFB gives us the opportunity to really explore what’s possible in a fully accessible environment,” said Matthew Snyder, CDG’s creative director, “We’ve always embraced the idea that accessibility can—and should—coexist with a highly compelling online experience.”

Collaborating closely with AFB’s team, CDG streamlined afb.org’s IA and provided a comprehensive search optimization strategy for the new site. We then created a design that supported AFB’s image as a dynamic and vibrant organization. Both the IA and the design were subjected to several rounds of user testing, in order to validate assumptions and refine the final result. CDG then coded the site’s HTML templates and handed off the markup to AFB’s developers for implementation into the AFB content management system.

The newly launched website provides an online presence that reinforces AFB’s position as the nation’s premiere organization for people with vision loss. We’re proud to continue to support AFB and its mission.

If you want to make your online environments more accessible and more effective, contact CDG.

 

Firefly_logoCDG Interactive congratulates long-time client FireFly Farms for its selection as one of only 75 small businesses to be named a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Blue Ribbon Award Winner

The Chamber notes that the Blue Ribbon awards program “honors companies that demonstrate excellent business practices in several areas, including strategy, employee development, community involvement, and customer service.”

“We are thrilled and honored to be named a Blue Ribbon Award Winner,” said FireFly Farms president Mike Koch. “From the day we founded FireFly, commitment to our community has been one of our core values. We are happy to be recognized, and feel privileged to share the spotlight with the wonderful community of Garrett County, MD.”

Located in the beautiful Allegheny Plateau in Garrett County, Md., FireFly Farms produces award-winning artisan goat cheeses using agriculturally sustainable, locally sourced fresh goat’s milk and time-honored, traditional methods of goat cheese making.  The premium offerings are available at its Creamery & Market in Accident, Md. as well as selected Whole Foods, Giant and other locations throughout Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and the DC area.

All Blue Ribbon award winners will be honored during the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Summit May 21-23 in Washington, D.C.

The 75 winners are also eligible for the Community Excellence Award, decided by online public voting in March. 

CDG Interactive has provided branding, website design, copywriting and strategic marketing services to FireFly Farms since its inception in 2000. Contact Us to find out how we can help you.

CDG is looking for some new talent - specifically a new senior designer and a user experience architect/designer. Know someone or want to apply? Send your resume and links to [email protected].

Senior Designer

CDG Interactive is looking for Senior Designer to join our award-winning creative team. We’re looking for someone with a strong creative perspective, a drive to innovate, and the ability to work collaboratively with clients and co-workers. 5+ years of graphic design experience and formal design training is required. 

As senior designer, you’ll be responsible for conceiving, designing, and executing innovative visual environments for landing pages, banners, email campaigns, interactive demos, microsites, mobile website and full website builds. You’ll need the flexibility and imagination to develop a range of concepts and designs for projects, and the ability to exercise creativity within constraints (i.e., respect client brand guidelines, technical requirements, etc.) .

Also required: right-brain/left-brain balance, as you’ll work with creative, marketing and technical types to ensure your design is transformed into an effective interactive execution.

Skills:

  • Black-belt mastery of Photoshop, Illustrator & related programs.
  • Orange-belt understanding of Dreamweaver to create presentation postings. Understanding of Flash, After Effects, and Video production is a plus.
  • A sense of humor as big as—or preferably larger than—your ego.
  • An overall understanding of web production and the capabilities within digital channels.
  • The curiosity to learn, discover, and grow as a digital designer.

 

User Experience Architect/Designer

CDG Interactive is also searching for a seasoned User Experience Architect/Designer to round out our award-winning creative team. The ideal candidate will possess confidence and ingenuity developed over 5-10 years in the interactive industry. We expect you to challenge conventional wisdom and help us develop brilliant interactive environments that delight the end user.

Initiative, enthusiasm, and experience working with large corporate clients/organizations are a must. A background in design or experience in a creative environment is a plus.

Skills:

  • Think creatively to transform the caterpillar of functionality into the butterfly of amazingly usable graphic interfaces.
  • Possess in-depth knowledge of user experience rules and best practices-and have the guts to break them when you need to.
  • Quickly understand a range of client organizations and their business and organizational challenges. Our clients are like snowflakes. Respect their uniqueness.
  • Collaborate enthusiastically and effectively with clients and the creative team. (Passion is great. Arrogance, not so much.)
  • Be a believer in CDG and what we're trying to do. Help us create interactive environments that break ground, blaze trails, and achieve great things.

About CDG:

CDG is recognized as an industry leader in the creation, implementation, and marketing of interactive environments that enable our clients to grow their business. Our innovation efforts are focused on achieving our clients' goals through user-centered design. In all aspects of its work, CDG seeks to help our clients deliver high value to end-users.

Working at CDG, you’ll find we’re serious about what we do, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Perks and benefits include: generous vacation leave, health insurance (with flexible spending account), Metro-accessible office, casual dress code, free soda and snacks, and the best-looking co-workers in the DC-Metro area. Interested? Send your resume and a link to your online portfolio to [email protected].

To all of our clients, partners and friends, thank you for another great year.

Highlights of 2011 include the launch of new sites for CQ Roll Call, GastroKids.org and the US-Ireland Alliance, a second iAd mobile campaign for GEICO featuring the Gecko's Secret Savings Society (and winning a Platinum Award for the first one), and the continued growth of Zeus, our custom-built content management system.

From all of us at CDG Interactive, we hope your holidays are delicious and your New Year is sweet.

(And speaking of delicious, check out the entries to our third-annual cookie smackdown competition, above.)

Cq-rollcall-homepage

Just as the 2012 election cycle got hotter than a fried butterstick in Iowa, CDG launched a new and improved site for CQ Roll Call.

CQ Roll Call is the premier provider of non-partisan legislative and electoral news and analysis, as well as legislative tracking and advocacy tools. The new site features a streamlined structure that gives users a comprehensive, yet concise picture of what CQ Roll Call has to offer.

But it’s not only end-users who enjoy a better experience on the site—so do the editors and producers at CQ Roll Call. The new site was implemented in Zeus, CDG’s content management system. Zeus’ powerful functionality and intuitive interface makes it easy for CQ Roll Call to add, edit, and manage the site content.

Also, Zeus allows CQ Roll Call to track the users who request free trials of their products—information that had previously gone un-captured. With its new Zeus-powered site, CQ Roll Call can track conversions precisely and communicate more effectively with its current and potential subscribers.

“The new website is a great showcase for our products and services,” says Andrea Birdsong, Director of Interactive Marketing at CQ Roll Call, “And because we can better manage our content and track our conversions, we can serve our subscribers more effectively.”

So, Beltway insiders and intrepid politicos, visit the new CQRollCall.com and see if it gets your vote of approval.

Looking to improve your website? Contact CDG Interactive.

Two new social media privacy issues came up this week, one at Facebook and one at LinkedIn. Interestingly, both just showed up without any fanfare. No big announcements, no blog posts . . . nothing. When will they learn?

We're pretty sure that if the platforms simply explained what how they were changing their privacy settings and why, the users might just shrug and go on.

Even better, if they explained the potential benefits to users and allowed them to opt-in voluntarily (rather than doing it for them), people might even welcome the changes.

But discovering that

  1. There are new privacy settings that you haven't heard of;
  2. You've been opted into them without your knowlegde; and
  3. Plenty of people now have access to your personal information--and hey, your photo may even turn up in an advertisement

Well, let's just call that an epic fail on behalf of two of the most dominant social media networks.

Fortunately, we're here to help. Here's how to update your LinkedIn and Facebook privacy settings to deal with the new issues:

Continue reading "There They Go Again: Time to Update Your LinkedIn & Facebook Privacy Settings" »

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