Tag Archive for: landscape

Advanced Business Card Designs

The design industry is an ever changing ecosystem of innovative and creative ideas. In an environment that is so constantly in flux its essential to stand out. At Elemental Studios we understand that first impressions are critical and the need to make an impact as soon as you meet a new potential client is extremely important. The first thing we tend to provide a new interested clients is our business cards, so why hand then something everyone else has? Just as the graphic design industry evolves so does the printing industry. Today you can find printing techniques that were unavailable prior or just extremely expensive.

Our design team is seasoned in creating options that incorporate the latest in printing techniques, such as Clear (Acrylic) Business Cards:  (Some images provided by www.plasmadesign.co.uk)





Or how about these metal cards: (Some images provided by www.plasmadesign.co.uk)




Other incredible new printing options include wooden cards, leather cards, turf cards (Actual TURF!) and various other unique materials. Call our studio today and speak with a design coordinator to find out what options would be best for your business and start creating and impact today.




There are various facets of good design, one of the most critical of them is the use of color and how it effects the end user.


4 Mistakes to Avoid When Your Business Gets Bashed Online

When your company’s products or services get attacked on a social network or a customer review site, don’t go with your first instinct. Instead of lashing out or ignoring it completely, take a measured response and avoid these common mistakes.

By Tom Kaneshige   ||  Mon, February 03, 2014
When a company gets a bad customer review on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter or any other social network, emotions can run high, because real damage to its reputation and sales can result. The business owner usually has a knee-jerk reaction and responds in kind by attacking the offending customer with an emotionally charged online response.Some businesses might take the opposite approach and choose the other extreme — no response at all. By simply ignoring the bad review, a company hopes it will dissipate into the Internet ether, whereas a response might ignite a social media storm and cripple the company publicly.But both the emotionally charged response and the ignore-it-at-all-costs response are big mistakes, says CEO Jay Shek at Locality, a search engine for local businesses that taps into ratings and review information from Yelp.The better response is a measured one where you reach out to the upset customer offline and try to fix the situation. The result of this effort, good or bad, can be relayed online. The goal is to show readers of the bad review that your company is proactive when it comes to improving products and services.Shek has seen his share of responses to bad reviews and has come up with four common mistakes companies make. There are exceptions, of course, that call for special responses. For instance, if competitors or critics pretending to be customers are writing bad reviews, as in a recent case concerning Yelp reviewers, then legal action may be required. Generally speaking, though, Shek’s list of common mistakes apply to most situations.

Mistake 1: Countering With Fake Positive Reviews

Some companies will try to flood the social site with positive reviews, in hopes of blunting the sting of a critical one. A quick Google search on fake reviews will uncover a cottage industry of marketing firms specializing in producing them. But by doing so, a company runs the risk of getting caught and being publicly shamed.

Odds of getting caught are increasing, too. Review sites such as Yelp are getting better at sniffing out fake reviews. Web filters help identify fake reviews coming from the same accounts. Consumers, too, can often spot fake reviews by the way they’re written: They are typically overly positive, not a lot of detail about the business, a generic feel.

Last October, Samsung was fined $340,000 for hiring writers and two marketing firms to post fake reviews in Taiwanese forums, both positive ones for Samsung products and critical ones for competitors’ products.

Mistake 2: Overreacting Publicly

Smaller retailers tend to overreact emotionally to a critical review, whereas a larger company’s marketing pros are usually more seasoned and level-headed. Yelp is awash with small business owners ranting against customer criticism, but it only makes them look small, petty and, of course, unprofessional.

“It’s natural to react emotionally, but you can’t let that come through,” Shek says. “Reacting negatively reflects even worse on your business than the initial negative review.”

With a single, opinionated critical review — as in, “the lasagna was terrible” — you might not want to react at all, because there’s not much to do anyway. With other critical reviews, a response should at the very least acknowledge the customer’s frustration, as well as ways to fix the situation.

Mistake 3: Being Too Passive

As noted earlier, some companies will ignore negative customer reviews. But online reviews are the new customer surveys and comment cards. They’re a form of feedback from your customers. Companies pay thousands of dollars for this kind of research. “Now customers are giving you this for free,” Shek says. “You shouldn’t ignore it just because you think it’s unjust or exaggerated.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to respond to every critical review. However, you should constantly check for patterns. For instance, if many customers are agreeing that the lasagna is terrible, then the you might want to make changes to the recipe.

Mistake 4: Making a Quick Fix

When reacting to a critical review, the initial outreach should be done offline, because online comments can get snippy. An offline conversation with the critical reviewer affords a chance to really understand the issue and work to resolve it.

This is much better than a blanket fix, such as immediately giving any critical reviewer a 30 percent discount on their next purchase. “You don’t want to train consumers to complain in order to get discounts and free stuff,” Shek says.

Once a resolution has been worked out, you can post the results online. “Whether or not you’ve made the customer happy, the fact that you were open and honest about the problem and tried to address it increases your reputation online.”

A lot of times the critical reviewer will be appreciative of your efforts and, in turn, post a positive comment. That’s how a bad review can be made into a great marketing message.


10 ways modern enterprise performance management is changing businesses

By , Saturday, 28 Dec ’13 , 04:00pm  ||  http://thenextweb.com



“This data is 90 days old, but that’s okay.”

When was the last time you heard a C-level executive say that? My guess is it’s been a while, because these days, if you don’t have real-time access to the data that drives your business, it’s all but impossible to arrive at meaningful results that help you grow and compete.

Unfortunately, this problem is all too common in enterprises today, where enterprise performance management (EPM) platforms fail to produce actionable insights from current and relevant data. On top of that, most EPM implementations remain complex and difficult to manage requiring power users that serve as data gatekeepers. Not exactly a recipe for success.

But EPM is changing, and as a result, it’s changing the way enterprises operate around the world. So here are 10 ways that a new approach to enterprise performance management is changing the game for businesses globally.

1. Cloud-first is the new normal

IDC Research  predicts cloud technology spending will grow by 25 percent in 2014, reaching over $100B. Along with further adoption comes further specialization – and cloud services are increasingly becoming differentiated as vendors seek to provide more infrastructure capabilities.

Better infrastructure for the public cloud begets more capable and scalable enterprise apps, with Amazon, Google and others offering more tools for companies to run on the cloud. EPM solutions that offer improved cloud capabilities will be the ones leading growth for businesses in the New Year.

2. Mobility cannot be ignored

Workforces are now global and remotely connected all the time, so it’s not surprising that tablet and smartphone growth is predicted to continue into next year. Mobile is now the de facto platform on which business people and consumers are devouring data, and unlike in previous years, they are now acting on the data as well.

EPM tools now need to be able to provide reports on the fly – on any device. Technologies that aren’t designed to be device-agnostic will lose market share in the coming year.

3. Big data turns to focus on actionability

Big data is a key consideration for any EPM system – and today data crunching capabilities alone aren’t enough to move the needle. Decision-makers are now looking for easier-to-manage apps that provide more granular, actionable insights in real time.

Expect cloud apps with the ability to sift through disparate data streams to become widespread in the finance department.

4. Collaboration has emerged from its awkward adolescence

Several years ago, collaborative technologies in the enterprise were new and a little clumsy. But that’s history. Platforms that don’t include collaborative features are becoming extinct.

Innovative technologies such as Yammer and Box that enable employees to collaborate and share information have become critical business functions, not just the latest shiny object. IDC also expects that by 2016, 60 percent of the Fortune 500 will have social-enabled innovation management solutions in place.

This also has implications for EPM: Solutions that enable collaboration across the organization fit into today’s enterprises, while those that don’t literally have no place to go.

5. CFOs have become more influential

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on how CFOs have a bigger say than ever in determining where and how companies place their bets. Citing new research from Gartner, the Journal notes how CFOs now have 40 percent more influence over IT investments than they did two years ago.

So while CFOs have a leading role to play in transforming organizations, many are still struggling to identify best practices for implementing EPM solutions that can help them make the most of their growing influence.

6. In-context analytics drive decision-making

We are moving from an age in which log analysis was enough, to a business analysis perspective that is predicated on what’s happening right now. The importance of context and real-time data is now mission-critical for EPM.

In the coming year, the role context plays in making smart use of data will start getting the recognition it deserves.

7. Machine-generated data is now part of the package

With more data attached to every system, machine-generated and unstructured data represents a wealth of information that EPM solutions need to take into consideration. RFIDs, sensor data and more will become more important.

8. Enterprise technology innovation will start to drive consumer technology innovation

The enterprise is becoming a new source of innovation. While in past the consumerization of IT drove enterprise trends, next year the enterprise will start to take the lead.

The intersection of cloud, mobile and social at enterprise scale is helping to create highly available and user-friendly experiences in the workplace.  Enterprise applications that aren’t designed with these considerations in mind will not be adopted.

9. Competition will drive rapid technology adoption

It’s dawning on CFOs that their systems are outdated, and budgeting platforms that still require up to four months to complete a budget are no longer sufficient. On average, companies that employ rolling forecasts save between five and 25 days each year in their budgeting process, according to research by the American Productivity & Quality Center.

CFOs are beginning to understand that the current environment is “eat or be eaten,” and if they don’t adopt new technologies to reduce the time they spend planning, they will become irrelevant.

10. Agility always wins

In today’s evolving market, there is no silver bullet to success – in any industry. But what does work is to continually be looking to the future, and considering the next move.

Forward-thinking CFOs will be looking for EPM solutions that think like they do – well ahead of the now – and if the variables change, they want a solution that can pivot quickly and adjust to the new conditions. For the only constant is change itself – and even that needs to be planned for.