Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.


Afterlife proves lucrative

According to a new article posted on the Motley Fool website, a Californian inventor has filed for an application to patent his new product: a tombstone that comes equipped with video.

In an effort to commemorate one's life, it will soon be possible, along with your other estate planning chores, to create a video that can be viewed posthumously on your head stone, via a computer and LCD screen fitted inside the stone.

Can you envision selling this feature? "In addition to the completion of your will, sir, how would you like to continue your legacy of wit and charm through posthumous video?" or "Why bore those you love with the usual reverent cemetery silence..." or "Tell your family and friends what you really think of them, without the guilt."

The moral of this story would have to be: anything can be marketed and sold. Anything. I am personally creeped out by this tombstone feature, and am contemplating all the jokes that will manifest on the stages of many a comedy club.



Copyright Infringement or Just Good Fun?

Virtually everyone living above ground has seen it or heard of it.

Jibjab's hilarious parody of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" is a jab at Kerry, Bush and the US in general. Since being widely distributed over the net, and receiving coverage on CNN on more than one occasion, Jibjab's flash animation has its creators facing threats of a copyright lawsuit by the rights holders.

I don't know if the offending cartoon represents a legal infringement, but the threats seem to counter the very spirit of the folk movement from which Guthrie emerged. It's also a great example of how one would go about initiating an effective viral marketing campaign.

It's plain funny, and parody of this nature is a welcome addition to the current politics of our bestest neighbor.

Go Jibjab!

visit their site here:


Follow up to my "why blogs are great" posting...

This is a succinct little article about why blogs are an important tool for your business. It's explanation is simple, direct, and convincing – even for "old dogs."



Let me out of this information vehicle!

After a lengthy conversation with a client about his upcoming direct mail campaign, I began to think about all the ways in which we can (and should) communicate with our clients and prospects. The options are endless: direct mail, e-mail updates, e-newsletters, blogs, virtual articles, web forums, and so forth. Trying to coordinate marketing and communications campaigns can send your head spinning. For me, trying to come up with the next article de jour is sometimes overwhelming.

We are saturated with information, exhausted by the possibilities. And furthermore, most of the uninvited information we receive isn’t even pertinent to us or our business.

With an agenda to stay ahead of the competition, many business owners and decision makers (and perhaps you're one) jump into the vast sea of information pandering, spending thousands of dollars a year on marketing and communications campaigns that utilize “the very latest.”

So much attention is given to timing, finely tuned copy, slick packaging, sales goals, demographics, and so on, that the most important factor is lost: RELEVANCE. We can get so caught up in the methodology we overlook the client / prospect and forget to provide good information.

Providing good information takes time and patience. It requires an attention to the needs of the client / prospect and a disconnection from company ego. Sounds simple, right? It's harder than it seems. So many companies throw away money and time on what turns into "spam" or "junk mail" in the end.

So what's the solution? How do you get around the fact that most people are jaded by solicitations of any kind, passive or overt?

First off, do an investigation. Make contact with current clients and find out what problems they are currently experiencing; what solutions they would like to see; how they would describe their current business climate. Create a rapport if one does not already exist.

Take some time to scan through information collected in client files and make note of continuing themes with respect to client needs and preferences. You may think that the next topic for your web article brilliant, but is it something that would appeal to your clients, based on your sleuthing?

Scan the web for information relating to your target market. Research any new developments or trends that may be affecting them – email those you know with "hot" topics and show your interest in their success. Find the common denominator from that trend and what your business offers and write about it. Develop your next direct mail package from the information you've gathered and post your newfound insights on your blog, or in an article.

The more time you take to investigate and cultivate knowledge, the more successful your marketing and communications campaigns will be.

Conduct a survey to help you figure out your next article topic.

Come to think of it...I should do the same.

What is your preferred format for receiving information:
1) letter / mail
2) email update
3) blog
4) web articles
5) other ________ (what?)

Until next time, good luck!


To blog or not to blog

After the hype has settled a bit, businesses are now seeing "blogging" or Web-logging as a viable tool to reach their target audience and create a personal, interactive environment for their current clients. Although some speculation has been given to the longevity of this marketing vehicle, it has gained enormous popularity with businesses and professionals due to its cheap, efficient, and trendy reputation.

We decided to create our Ricksticks blog to help keep an open dialogue with friends, colleagues, and clients regarding current marketing trends. In addition, it has given us more of an opportunity to update content and keep the personality of our website fresh without changing the site's architecture.

But there are many good reasons for developing a company blog. Here are some other reasons I believe blogs are useful for businesses:

• They create a "friendly" atmosphere for clients and prospects
• Blogs provide an open space to share knowledge and ideas, thus increasing your profile and reputation
• Blogs are "grassroots" in a time when people are tired of "in-your-face" advertising
• Blogs are search engine friendly, as they are content rich
• Blogs are ever-changing, which gives clients and prospects a reason to keep coming back (and why it's so important to provide client-centric information)
• They are low maintenance – it's easy to update the content
Can you think of other advantages? Does you company use a blog for another reason, not mentioned in this list?

Here are a few links about business blogging, if you're considering starting your own.

Another hot topic, for those of you who think traditional blogging passé, is re-blogging. According to, re-blogging is the process of filtering and re-publishing content from other blogs using selected feeds, or, plainly said, funneling text from various sites into one weblog. I'll get in to the topic of re-blogging very soon, so check back in the next week.

In the meantime, happy blogging!


Welcome to our new blog!

Thanks for dropping in... look for plenty of marketing insights in the near future!