We are the digital agency
crafting brand experiences
for the modern audience.
We are Fame Foundry.

See our work. Read the Fame Foundry magazine.

We love our clients.

Fame Foundry seeks out bold brands that wish to engage their public in sincere, evocative ways.

WorkWeb DesignSportsEvents

Platforms for racing in the 21st century.

Fame Foundry puts the racing experience in front of millions of fans, steering motorsports to the modern age.

“Fame Foundry created something never seen before, allowing members to interact in new ways and providing them a central location to call their own. It also provides more value to our sponsors than we have ever had before.”

—Ryan Newman

Technology on the track.

Providing more than just web software, our management systems enhance and reinforce a variety of services by different racing organizations which work to evolve the speed, efficiency, and safety measures, aiding their process from lab to checkered flag.

WorkWeb DesignRetail

Setting the pace across 44 states.

With over 1100 locations, thousands of products, and millions of transactions, Shoe Show creates a substantial retail footprint in shoe sales.

The sole of superior choice.

With over 1100 locations, thousands of products, and millions of transactions, Shoe Show creates a substantial retail footprint in shoe sales.

WorkWeb DesignRetail

The contemporary online pharmacy.

Medichest sets a new standard, bringing the boutique experience to the drug store.

Integrated & Automated Marketing System

All the extensive opportunities for public engagement are made easily definable and effortlessly automated.

Scheduled promotions, sales, and campaigns, all precisely targeted for specific demographics within the whole of the Medichest audience.

WorkWeb DesignSocial

Home Design & Decor Magazine offers readers superior content on designer home trends on any device.

  • By selectively curating the very best from their individual markets, each localized catalog comes to exhibit the trending, pertinent visual flavors specific to each region.

  • Beside the swaths of inspirational home photography spreads, Home Design & Decor provides exhaustive articles and advice by proven professionals in home design.

  • The art of home ingenuity always dances between the timeless and the experimental. The very best in these intersecting principles offer consistent sources of modern innovation.

WorkWeb DesignSocial

  • Post a need on behalf of yourself, a family member or your community group, whether you need volunteers or funds to support your cause.

  • Search by location, expertise and date, and connect with people in your very own community who need your time and talents.

  • Start your own Neighborhood or Group Page and create a virtual hub where you can connect and converse about the things that matter most to you.

December 2016
By Kimberly Barnes

Going the Distance: Four Ways to Build a Better Customer Loyalty Program for Your Brand

Loyalty programs are no longer a novelty. That means that yesterday’s strategies won’t work moving forward, so look for ways to rise above the noise, setting yourself apart from the cloying drone of countless other cookie-cutter programs.
Read the article

Going the Distance: Four Ways to Build a Better Customer Loyalty Program for Your Brand

article-thedistance-lg It’s easy enough for a customer to join your loyalty program, especially when you’re offering an incentive such as discounts. All your customer has to do is give out some basic information, and voila! They’re in the fold, a brand new loyalty member with your company. From there, it’s happily ever after. You offer the perks; they stand solidly by you, bringing you their continued business. Simple. Or is it? In reality, just how many of those customers are act ively participating in your loyalty program? Do you know? Sure, loyalty program memberships are on the rise according to market research company eMarketer, having jumped 25 percent in the space of just two years. However, that figure may be a bit misleading. The truth is that, while loyalty program sign-ups may be more numerous, active participation in such programs is actually in decline. At the time of the study, the average US household had memberships in 29 loyalty programs; yet consumers were only active in 12 of those. That’s just 41 percent. And even that meager figure represents a drop of 2 percentage points per year over each of the preceding four years, according to a study by loyalty-marketing research company COLLOQUY.

When discounts just aren’t enough

So what’s a brand to do? How can you make your loyalty program worth your customer’s while—as well as your own? After all, gaining a new loyalty member doesn’t mean much if your customer isn’t actively participating in your program. Consider this: Does your customer loyalty program offer members anything different from what your competitors are offering? Chances are your program includes discounts. That’s a given. And what customer doesn’t appreciate a good discount? But when every other company out there is providing this staple benefit in comparable amounts, it becomes less and less likely that customers will remain loyal to any one particular brand. Frankly, it’s all too easy for customers to get lost in a sea of loyalty member discounts. They’re everywhere. In fact, just under half of internet users perceive that all rewards programs are alike, according to a 2015 eMarketer survey. The key to success, then, is to differentiate your business from the crowd. If you can offer your customers something unique and valuable beyond the usual discount, chances are they’ll be more likely to stick with your brand. Here’s some inspiration from companies who get it.

Virgin: Reward more purchases with more benefits.

That’s not to say you need to get rid of discounts entirely. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Customers still love a good discount. The goal is to be creative in terms of the loyalty perks you offer. Take the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, for example. As part of its loyalty program, the airline allows members to earn miles and tier points. Members are inducted at the Club Red tier, from which they can move up to Club Silver and then Club Gold. Here, it’s not just a discount. It’s status. And people respond to feeling important, elite. Still, even where the rewards themselves are concerned, Virgin is motivating loyalty customers with some pretty attractive offers. At the Club Red tier, members earn flight miles and receive discounts on rental cars, airport parking, hotels and holiday flights. But as members rise in tiers, they get even more. At the Club Silver tier, members earn 50 percent more points on flights, access to expedited check-in, and priority standby seating. And once they reach the top, Club Gold members receive double miles, priority boarding and access to exclusive clubhouses where they can get a drink or a massage before their flight. Now that’s some serious incentive to keep coming back for more. Discounts are still part of the equation – but they are designed with innovation and personal value in mind, elevating them to more than just savings.

Amazon Prime: Pay upfront and become a VIP.

What if your customers only had to pay a one-time upfront fee to get a year’s worth of substantial benefits? It may not sound like the smartest business idea at first glance. But take a closer look. Amazon Prime users pay a nominal $99 a year to gain free, two-day shipping on millions of products with no minimum purchase. And that’s just one benefit of going Prime. It’s true that Amazon loses $1-2 billion a year on Prime. This comes as no surprise given the incredible value the program offers. But get this: Amazon makes up for its losses in markedly higher transaction frequency. Specifically, Prime members spend an average of $1,500 a year on Amazon.com, compared with $625 spent by non-Prime users, a ccording to a 2015 report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Patagonia: Cater to customer values.

Sometimes, the draw for consumers isn’t saving money or getting a great deal. The eco-friendly outdoor clothing company Patagonia figured this out back in 2011, when it partnered with eBay to launch its Common Threads Initiative: a program that allows customers to resell their used Patagonia clothing via the company’s website. Why is this program important to customers? And how does it benefit Patagonia? The company’s brand embraces environmental and social responsibility, so it was only fitting that they create a platform for essentially recycling old clothing rather than merely throwing it away. The Common Threads Initiative helps Patagonia build a memorable brand and fierce loyalty by offering its customers a cause that aligns with deep personal values. OK, so their customers get to make a little money, too. Everybody wins.

American Airlines: Gamify your loyalty program.

If you’re going to offer your customers a loyalty program, why not make it f un? After all, engagement is key to building a strong relationship with your customer. And what better way to achieve that goal than making a game of it. American Airlines had this very thing in mind when it created its AAdvantage Passport Challenge following its merger with USAirways. The goal: find a new way to engage customers as big changes were underway. Using a custom Facebook application, American Airlines created a virtual passport to increase brand awareness while offering members a chance to earn bonus points. Customers earned these rewards through a variety of game-like activities, from answering trivia questions to tracking travel through a personalized dashboard. In the end, participants earned more than 70 percent more stamps than expected – and the airline saw a ROI of more than 500 percent. The takeaway: people like games.

Stand out from the crowd.

Your approach to your customer loyalty program should align with your overall marketing approach. Effective branding is about standing out, not blending it. Being memorable is key. To this end, keep in mind that loyalty programs are no longer a novelty. That means that yesterday’s strategies won’t work moving forward, so look for ways to rise above the noise, setting yourself apart from the cloying drone of countless other cookie-cutter programs.

August 2017
Noted By Joe Bauldoff

Interruptions To The Advertising Market

The distance between creating a brand and delivering on that brand promise experience-by-experience is closing…and closing fast.
Read the Forbes article

June 2017
Noted By Joe Bauldoff

Instagram and the Cult of the Attention Web: How the Free Internet is Eating Itself

Once upon a time companies and services were geared toward enticing you out of your money. Today, the goal of many is to entice you out of your time. Which, in turn, is leveraged as collateral to attract money from advertisers.
Read the Medium article

346 New year's resolutions for your website: Give your customers a voice

Does your brand have a faithful following? If so, today's resolution will help you use that following to your best advantage.

September 2014
By Jeremy Girard

The New Ice Age: Lessons Learned from the ALS Challenge for Achieving Viral Marketing Success

We all know there’s no formula for making viral magic. But the ice bucket challenge craze that has swept social media in recent weeks does offer valuable insights into key elements for building massive marketing momentum.
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The New Ice Age: Lessons Learned from the ALS Challenge for Achieving Viral Marketing Success

water-bucket If you have been online in the past few weeks, you have undoubtedly come across the viral phenomenon that is the “Ice Bucket Challenge”. Videos of people dumping buckets of ice-cold water on themselves, recording the video and posting to social media, and then nominating others to do the same, has taken the Internet by storm. Anyone who refuses to accept the challenge is asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice, and the viral sensation as a whole has also raised significant awareness for ALS, which is often called Lou Gehrig’s disease. Fire up your social media site of choice and you are bound to see video after video of your friends and contacts dousing themselves in ice-cold H20. Even if you are not a big social media user, you have likely seen information on this freezing cold phenomenon as news outlets have gleefully reported on, and posted videos of, celebrities from the worlds of sports, entertainment, business, and more participating in the fun. A recent video even had actor Vin Diesel nominate Russian president Vladimir Putin to take the challenge! It seems as if everyone has happily dumped a bucket of water on their head for charity and good fun. The success of this campaign, which has raised millions of dollars, as well as that aforementioned awareness, for the ALS Association, is an interesting case study in the concept of “viral marketing”. In this article, we will take a look at what this Ice Bucket Challenge can teach us about this type of potentially powerful marketing.

You never know what will go viral.

The concept of the Ice Bucket Challenge is pretty simple. You film yourself doing something silly (and somewhat uncomfortable) and you challenge others you know to do the same. Pretty straightforward – so what makes this such a craze? What does this campaign have that so many other campaigns that were hoping to “go viral” were missing? The truth may actually just be dumb luck, because the reality is that you never know what will find an audience and go viral. Many organizations that try to initiate a viral campaign try many different ideas hoping that they will strike gold with one. They do this because they know that even one viral sensation can be all they need to meet their goals, whether that goal is to raise awareness for a cause like the ALA Association is doing, or to just draw massive attention to a business or a product, similar to what Burger King did many years ago (and what they are trying to do again) with their Subservient Chicken campaign. Viral marketing is really a roll of the dice, but there are some things that can tip the odds in your favor. We can see some of these things at play here in the Ice Bucket Challenge, including the presence of celebrities.

Celebrities sell.

The Ice Bucket challenge has now been taken by celebrities including Bill Gates, Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jimmy Fallon, Oprah Winfrey, and Charlie Sheen (who mixed it up by dumping cold hard cash on his head instead of cold water – although he promised to donate all that cash to the ALS Association). The participation of celebrities, who then in turn nominate other celebrities, is absolutely one of the reasons why this Ice Bucket Challenge has blown up the way that it has. Their participation is what has driven news outlets to cover the videos, which prompts others to share those videos on social media. This in turn introduces the campaign to more people, who then do the challenge as well and nominate others. This is the very definition of “going viral”, and these celebs are helping to fuel that success! Compare the Ice Bucket Challenge to another “video for a good cause” from some years back – the Pink Glove Dance. Created by Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, this video of medical staff dancing to raise awareness for breast cancer has been watched almost 14 million times on YouTube. That is amazing by any standard. If you asked any company if they would take 14 million views for one of their online videos and the answer, I am sure, would be a resounding “YES!”. Still, as popular as that video was, it pales in comparison to the reach that this Ice Bucket Challenge has found, largely because of that aforementioned celebrity involvement. So if celebrities can make your viral campaign, how do you go about getting them involved? Well, that’s the trick, you really can’t get them involved, it just has to happen! This is an important factor to realize, because if you are looking at the success of a viral campaign like the Ice Bucket Challenge and thinking, “How can we do something similar”, you need to realize that there is a “lightning in a bottle” aspect to what is happening here. You could do something identical and not find that audience that pushes it to this level. Yes, celebrities can make your viral campaign, but counting on them to participate is not a sound marketing strategy!

There is value in the ridiculous

One of the other factors that has contributed to the success of this campaign is the sheer ridiculousness of the act of dumping cold water on yourself. The Internet loves spectacle and the Ice Bucket Challenge delivers on that count! A successful viral campaign is often over the top and ridiculous. If you are considering trying you hand at a viral campaign, think outside the box and be willing to get a little crazy. When it comes to viral marketing, conservative rarely succeeds.

There is value in helping others.

Another factor helping fuel the success of the Ice Bucket challenge is that all of this silliness is for a great cause. While a viral campaign to promote a company or product may take off, one that is designed to help others has something that those others do not – good will. Doing good for others makes people feel good too. That is a powerful force that you can take advantage of if your viral campaign is for a good cause. With the Ice Bucket Challenge, many of the people who took the challenge also decided to donate to the cause. This combination of silliness and charity is something that has helped make this campaign what is has become.

Make it easy to participate.

Many viral campaigns require other people to get involved. The Ice Bucket Challenge has succeeded because so many people, celebs and normal folk alike, have recorded a video and posted it for the world to see. The key to this audience participation is making it easy to do! Take the example of the Pink Glove Dance again. After that initial video went viral, many other organizations recorded their own Pink Glove Dance videos, but none of them ever came close to matching the success of the original. One of the reasons is because there was not the massive flood of videos that we see happening with the Ice Bucket Challenge. This is absolutely because to the level of effort required to produce one of those dance videos, which includes a cast of dancers, music, editing, etc. Compare that to the Ice Bucket video, which only requires a cell phone camera and a bucket of ice water! By making it easy to join in the fun, the Ice Bucket Challenge has become the viral sensation that we see online now. If the success of your campaign requires others to get involved, make sure that the barrier to them doing so is as small as possible!

In summary

Viral marketing campaigns can raise incredible awareness for your organization, but there is never a guarantee that a campaign will achieve any kind of success, much less the massive reach that we are seeing with the Ice Bucket Challenge. Being willing to take a chance on a potentially viral idea is great and I encourage you to explore those ideas, but you also need to make sure that your entire online strategy does not center on a viral campaign. A well-rounded strategy that may include a viral campaign as one of the pieces, but which also embraces other initiatives as well (search engine ads, email marketing, content marketing/blogging, etc.) is how you will want to proceed. That way, if the viral campaign explodes, then you have the exposure you wanted, but if it fizzles, at least you have other initiatives working towards your online success.
February 2012
By Kenneth Vuncannon

Building a Thriving Community Ecosystem: The Five Essential Elements

Forget Facebook. If you want to own your market, build your own community ecosystem.
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Building a Thriving Community Ecosystem: The Five Essential Elements

What is an ecosystem?

In nature, an ecosystem is defined as “a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.” In today’s culture of the Web, an online ecosystem is essentially the same thing – the organic result of the interactions that occur between the members of a community and the environment that they live in. It cannot be defined in and of itself but only as the sum of its thousand moving parts. For brands that exist in today’s culture of the Web, there is no higher echelon of marketing than establishing your own community ecosystem. Why? Well, it’s one thing to interact with your customers and fans in an ecosystem that someone else has built (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.). However, because you didn’t build the ecosystem, you’re limited to one-off interactions that are structured according to the framework defined by the architects of that community (140 characters, anyone?). On the other hand, however, when you’re the one that builds the sandbox, it’s your party. Your website becomes the place where members of your tribe choose to hang out, to debate, to share and to be inspired by their peers – who, incidentally, are other members of your tribe. Most importantly, their identity as a member of this community is inextricably linked to your brand. It’s a marketer’s wildest dream come true. The process of building a thriving ecosystem is no small feat. Here are the five essential elements that you must have if you want to create a real, organic online community that simultaneously exists for and is a product of your tribe:

Earth: The foundation

earth Before you can build an ecosystem, you have to lay the foundation. But where do you begin? In our series on understanding and marketing to tribes, we established that tribes form around a shared passion for a specific idea, lifestyle or movement. Therefore, for your ecosystem to thrive, there must be a common thread that draws people in and binds them to the community and its members so that they identify themselves as part of your tribe. Your goal is not to build the next Facebook. People don’t need just another broad-based social network where they can set up a profile and post their thoughts. That already exists in any number of places where they already do those things. What people are yearning for is to be among and connect with other people who share their passions. When you build a community around that passion, they’ll come there knowing it’s a place where they can satisfy that need to belong, where they’ll be among others who speak the same language and where they’re free to obsess over something with like-minded people who won’t mind if they talk ad nauseum about that one particular thing that really stokes their fire. So how do you find that common thread? Think about your customers. What do they love? What excites them? What challenges do they face day in and day out? What do they worry about? How can you tap into those things? The answer to those questions is the foundation for your ecosystem. By identifying the common passion that unites your tribe, you can begin to build a community where great interactions will thrive. Even if your brand only ever lives at the periphery of those interactions, that’s okay. Remember, too, that among those who populate your ecosystem there will be individuals who are already your customer, might someday be your customer or may never be your customer, and that’s okay, too. The fact that you exist at the root of all of it will yield greater rewards than you could ever imagine.

Air: Sharing

air The ability to interact with other members in meaningful ways is as critical to the life of an ecosystem as the air we breathe; in its absence, the community suffocates. An ecosystem is not a blog with comments. While commenters may well respond to one another on occasion, these interactions are limited in scope to the content to which they are attached. There’s nowhere else for these commenters to go to keep the conversation going or to talk about a different subject entirely. An ecosystem is not a message board where people come to get help or resolve a problem. Once that problem is solved, they move on and never come back; they don’t identify themselves with or feel any lasting ties to the community. An ecosystem is a place where people can share the things matter to them in ways that are meaningful to them. It starts with being able to establish a profile – one that’s more than simply a name and a photo. You need to give people the ability to define who they are in the context of that community and its foundation. Then they need outlets to share their own ideas, photos and videos and to interact with others around that shared content. It’s this level of highly personalized sharing that forges deep, persistent bonds among members of a community. NASCAR driver Ryan Newman’s Fan Club site is built around keeping its members engaged and active by giving them many different ways to share and interact. They can post their own videos, build photo albums, join the conversation on community message boards and even chat with other members in real time. Again, keep in mind that all the sharing that takes place in your ecosystem may have very little to do with your products or services. And that’s exactly what you want because a community that will thrive over the long haul is one that exists to serve its members, not your brand and your business. As long as you’re the one providing the arena where these exchanges are taking place, you’ll benefit immeasurably from constant exposure and engagement.

Water: Leadership

water Good tribe leadership is the water that helps a fledgling ecosystem grow and keeps an established ecosystem strong and thriving. The task of providing good leadership is actually more challenging than it may at first seem. In the traditional world of marketing, everything was centered around presenting a carefully cultivated message and never allowing the customer to see any cracks in the perfectly polished veneer of a brand’s image. But that approach doesn’t work in the world of the online ecosystem. You must be comfortable walking among the members of your community and interacting with them on a human level. You must be willing to drop the corporate mask and be authentic. Think of your role as the leader of your community as being the host of a party. It’s not your job to dominate every conversation or to restrict what your friends are and are not allowed to talk about. It is your job to provide good fodder for discussion, to fill in the gaps when you sense a lull in the conversation and to help everyone feel at home and included.

Fire: Rewards

fire The members of your ecosystem that make the wittiest comments, spark the healthiest debates or share the most interesting content are the ones that keep the community vibrant. So how do you motivate them to keep doing what they do best? In today’s fame-obsessed culture, everyone wants their 15 minutes of notoriety, and everyone wants to feel like a celebrity in their own circles. People are driven by the opportunity to be elevated to a position of higher esteem among their peers. Therefore, if you want to stoke the fires of participation in your ecosystem, recognition is the name of the game. Give the members of your community ways to participate that are all about them, and then reward them for that participation. Distinctions such as “photo of the day” or “most viewed video” reward the creator by putting him or her in the spotlight. Call them out from the crowd, and you'll feed their craving for more recognition. The key to establishing an effective reward system is knowing what motivates the members of your community. For example, because racing fans thrive on competition, the Ryan Newman Fan Club community is built around a points system. Members who start discussions or who post photos and videos can earn points – or votes – from other members that put them in the running for a spot on the fan club’s leaderboard. Points are tallied throughout the racing season, with prizes awarded to the top performer each month as well as the top overall points earner for the season.

Aether: The essence

aether Aristotle defined aether as the quintessence – the immutable substance that makes up the heavens and stars. When it comes to online ecosystems, the aether is the intangible element – the sine qua non – that makes being a member of your community something to be desired. Think about the most popular nightclub in town. Why do people go there? It’s not just to listen to music. It’s not just to drink a martini. It’s not just to hang out with their friends. They could do all of those things in any number of places. There’s something in the atmosphere – an indefinable quality – that propels them to go to that one club rather than any of the dozens of others in the same vicinity. Perhaps it’s that when they go there, they’re surrounded by people just like them. Or perhaps they’re surrounded by people that they aspire to be like. Maybe it’s the bragging rights that come with being “seen” in the place that everyone’s buzzing about. Your ecosystem needs the same thing. There has to be some sense of status or value attached to being able to claim membership in your tribe. This is the one element of your ecosystem that you have the least control over. You simply can’t manufacture the essence, nor can you make a proclamation that this is what makes your community special. In fact, the essence can only emerge when it’s allowed to develop organically. When you see members of your community sharing inside jokes, developing their own language, even making plans to meet up offline – that’s when you’ll know you have the essence. The best thing you can do when you recognize it is to subtly encourage those members or activities that you see happening around it so that it continues to flourish.

It’s your sandbox.

The prospect of building your own community ecosystem is certainly daunting. There’s much at stake and many unknowns that you must contend with. In sharp contrast to the world of traditional marketing, there’s a distinct lack of control. An ecosystem can only thrive when allowed to develop and grow naturally and on its own timeline. As soon as you start to restrict or interfere too much, it will wither on the vine. Entering the realm of ecosystem building requires a leap of faith. However, just as building the trust that your customers have in your brand is paramount to the growth of your business, putting trust in your customers is essential to the growth of your ecosystem. If you can relinquish the need for control and truly let the members of your community take ownership of it, you’ll be amazed at the results that unfold. Interactions will become vibrant and nuanced, natural leaders will emerge and the community will truly take on a life of its own. And in today’s marketplace, there is no more powerful force for business growth than a large and engaged community that’s homed around your brand.