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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.

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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.

June 2021
Noted By Joe Bauldoff

The Making and Maintenance of our Open Source Infrastructure

In this video, Nadia Eghbal, author of “Working in Public”, discusses the potential of open source developer communities, and looks for ways to reframe the significance of software stewardship in light of how the march of time constantly and inevitably works to pull these valuable resources back into entropy and obsolescence. Presented by the Long Now Foundation.
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712 Marketing Minute Rewind: Why your customers are like Gary Busey

What exactly can the notoriously eccentric actor teach us about relating to consumers in the Digital Age? We’ll reveal how Gary Busey can help you transform your customer service experience as our review of the top episodes of the past quarter...

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.
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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.

June 2016
By Jeremy Girard

Small Changes, Big Impact: 5 Things You Can (and Should!) Do Today to Boost Your Website’s Performance

There’s no time like the present to implement these quick fixes and reap the rewards for months to come.
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Small Changes, Big Impact: 5 Things You Can (and Should!) Do Today to Boost Your Website’s Performance

artice-smallchanges-lg Every spring it happens like clockwork: the temperatures get warmer, the days get longer and everything in nature becomes more vibrant and colorful. Along with these changes in the great outdoors comes the irresistible urge to clean house and embrace a fresh start. Why not keep that motivational momentum going and apply it to your business – and, more specifically, to your website – as well? After all, there’s no time like the present to sweep away the old and outdated and bring in fresh new ideas and technologies. But you don’t necessarily need to dive head-first into a full redesign and all of the time and expense that entails to reap measurable results. Instead, here are five small steps you can – and should! – take today to ensure that your site is up-to-date, relevant and doing all it can to bring you new customers and grow the community around your brand:

1. Reposition your contact form.

For most website owners – especially those in service-based businesses such as law, accounting, consulting, real estate, etc. – the key “win” for their site is when it motivates a visitor to request more information or schedule a meeting. Contact forms are a ubiquitous website staple intended to provide a convenient – and highly measurable – avenue to initiate communication between an interested prospect and a company. However, perhaps because they are so commonplace, all too often these forms are given little strategic thought, resulting in a cookie-cutter name/email address/phone number format that yields more bogus spam submissions than legitimate new business opportunities. However, there is one simple change you can make that has been shown to get better results: reposition your standard “Contact us” form as an “Ask our experts” feature. By doing so, you shift the focus of the form to providing your visitors with an opportunity to submit a question that is specific to their needs and concerns. Rather than feeling like they are opening themselves up to an endless barrage of solicitation calls and emails, your visitors will sense that they are initiating a dialogue with an expert who will help them solve their particular problem. Make sure to respond to all inquiries within 24 hours, provide helpful advice that is free of charge and tailored to your prospect’s situation, and leave the door open to continue the conversation in a future meeting or phone call. By doing so, you will establish an important foundation of trust and confidence with your potential new client that will make them more inclined to engage your professional services. expert I have personally seen the submission rates on these types of forms increase dramatically. On one site where this small change was implemented, form submissions jumped from one or two per week to one or two per day – all legitimate business opportunities that were sparked simply by repositioning the focus of the form.

2. Productize your offering.

Another challenge that professional services organizations face in creating a website that works as an effective customer conversion engine is that they do not sell a specific product but rather a suite of services that can be customized to each client’s specific needs. This makes it terribly hard to market to visitors who come to their site and simply want to know “What exactly does this company sell, and how much does it cost?”. Because there are so many variables to the company’s offerings, there is not a quick and easy answer to these questions. If this challenge sounds familiar to you, one approach you can try is to “productize” what you have to offer. Create a bundle of services with a fixed price, and market that package on your site in a simple, straightforward manner that makes your offering easy to understand and helps visitors feel like doing business with your company is as simple as buying a product off the shelf at a store. package This is exactly what my company did with some of the technology consulting services that we offer. Instead of only listing the array of services we provide, we also created a product that representing a very specific offering. This made it so much easier to answer the “What do you sell?” question, and it gave us something tangible to promote in our marketing campaigns. In reality, this approach in no way limited the range of services we are able to offer our clients; rather, it merely served as a vehicle to open doors to new opportunities and made it easier to start conversations with new customers for whom we could ultimately provide a custom-tailored solution. Examine the services that you offer, and work with your marketing team to create an appealing package that you can market – understanding all the while that this “product” is really just a means for you to connect with customers and begin the sales process with something tangible that they can easily understand.

3. Lose your home page carousel.

One simple change that I have seen many websites make in the past year or so is to remove animated image carousels from their home pages. These carousels have long been a popular fixture of website design, but the reality is that they can sometimes do more harm than good. Home page carousels typically feature giant, screen-spanning images which carry with them heavy download requirements both for the images and for the scripts that power the animation sequences, thereby creating a potential stumbling block in performance for users on mobile devices or with slower connections. Additionally, studies have shown that click-through rates on animated carousels are extremely low, and they drop significantly from the first slide to the subsequent ones. This is why many companies are replacing rotating carousels with a singular static message instead. This one change can greatly reduce a page’s download size (when my company did this on our home page, its file size decreased by 75 percent) while having little to no effect on actual user engagement or click-through. In fact, because the page now loads more quickly, many sites actually see an uptick in user engagement because fewer people are abandoning a site due to poor performance. image Do you have a carousel on your website? If so, do you know whether or not it is working well for you? Your marketing team may be able to do some A/B testing between a version of your site with this animation feature and one without it to see which performs better. Since carousels do work well for some sites (like news organizations or sites with lots of frequently updated content), having this data can help you determine whether or not it’s time to ditch the carousel.

4. Update your image(s).

Stock photography is something of a necessary evil of website design, as more often than not, companies don’t have the budget to execute a full-fledged custom professional photo shoot. However, not all stock images are created equal. Stock photos that are overused or that look so obviously staged that they scream of their “stockiness” can cheapen a site’s design and leave visitors with a negative overall impression of the site. Replacing those images can make a big difference in a site’s visual appeal. If your site’s imagery is stale, you can make some simple image swaps to freshen it up. If you are going to change out old stock images for new stock images, make sure to seek out photos that feel fresh and that are not terribly overused (most stock photo sites will tell you how many times an image has been downloaded). An even better option is to try to add some unique imagery to your site. This could be photographs that you hire a professional to take or – in keeping with one of this year’s hottest trends – custom illustrations that you commission from an artist. illustration If your budget is tight, incorporating even just one or two such one-of-a-kind images in key spots on your site can really boost its visual impact. For instance, if you lose that aforementioned carousel on the home page and replace it with one truly compelling static image and message, it can make a really powerful first impression on your visitors.

5. Publish less.

Most experts agree that publishing original, value-add content on your site on a regular basis is key to optimizing its success – both from a sales and marketing standpoint and as an advantage in the never-ending battle of SEO. While I agree with this approach in principal, for many companies, the drive to publish regularly has resulted in putting out mediocre content simply to meet an inflexible standard of frequency. This is often an entirely counterproductive effort, as content that lacks in quality, original thought or value for the reader reflects poorly on the organization and its perceived level of expertise. Publishing original content to your site on a regular basis is still a best practice, but that content must offer value for it to succeed. Let’s say a visitor comes to your site and is impressed to find that you publish new articles weekly or monthly; however, once they click through the headline to see what they can glean from your writing, if what they find is mediocre at best, what motivation do they have to return to your site again in the future, let alone entrust you with their hard-earned dollars? If, on the other hand, you publish new content less frequently, but everything you produce is of the highest quality, then that same visitor will know that the time they spend on your site will always be worth their while, and they will look forward to the next time you post something new. Re-examine your current content marketing strategy, and ask yourself whether you are focused on quality or frequency. If it’s the latter, commit instead to writing less but to improving the quality of what you offer on your site. While this change may not have an immediate impact, it will absolutely yield long-term results that your visitors will appreciate and respond positively to.

In closing

Eventually, your website will need a redesign, but in the meantime you can make small, strategic, surgical changes that will pay immediate dividends in your site’s success. This approach of implementing gradual but regular modifications will also benefit you when it does come time for that full redesign. By making intelligent improvements over time, you will ultimately be closer to your end goal, leaving less to accomplish with the redesign and thereby paving the way for a smoother and less costly project.
March 2013
By Jason Ferster

Is Your Content Classic?

Content is king, but not all content is created equal. Make sure yours will stand the test of time.
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Is Your Content Classic?


Epiphanies and pop music

Epiphanies – those magic Aha! moments that change our thinking – often occur at the most unexpected times.

I had an Aha! moment of my own recently as I sat in my favorite diner, eating nachos and reading a challenge from Fame Foundry's Tara Hornor to return to tried-and-true marketing tactics. As a writer, I was naturally prompted to think about that challenge in terms of how it pertains content development.

In today’s Information Age, the best way to build trust with and win over new customers is to go above and beyond in giving them value, and content is one of the most effective tools we have to deliver that value. Indeed, content is king, but in the push to fill every corner of the Web with our "thought leadership," videos, photos, posts and tweets, we've created such a vast cacophony of information that it’s simply impossible to take it all in. So – it begs the question – how can your singular voice rise above the din to be heard by your clients and prospects?

Suddenly, my thoughts were disrupted by heavenly tones descending from the speaker above my table and into my psyche. It was Roy Orbison singing "Only the Lonely."  In that moment, I had an epiphany.

More than 50 years after he recorded it, Orbison's pop-music masterpiece – his form of content – is still loved by masses. He and so many great artists like him poured themselves into a few dozen songs, a handful of which have become classics that continue to be discovered and adored by new audiences decades later.

What if the content we produce as marketers had that kind of staying power?

Here are six key strategies that can help you create classic content that resonates with readers and stands the test of time.

Keep calm and carry on.

There's a lot of pressure these days to produce content at breakneck speeds for an increasingly diverse array of mediums. If you cringe when a hot new social media network emerges because you dread having to master and manage yet another touchpoint, you are not alone.

So give yourself permission to hit pause on the content-o-mattic. Take a breather, set aside the “How much?” for a moment and reflect on the “How?”.

There's no denying the value of producing content. We're going to keep doing it. But let's think about how we can do it better. How we can make more of our content classic?

Know your stuff.

There's an old saying among writers: "The best writers are prolific readers."

The idea here is that consuming a steady diet of the thoughts and talents of others will inspire and enhance your own. Essentially, you're standing on the shoulders of others as you reach for even greater ideas and insights.

We can easily apply this principle to our marketing content. It's important to have a broad understanding of the greater conversations that are taking place in your industry as well as a keen awareness of the primary players and messages that are buzzing about your own market niche.

Keeping up with what others are saying is often a great source of inspiration for new perspectives that haven't yet been considered. Alternatively, you can also avoid rehashing subject matter that has been entirely overdone so that you don’t waste your time developing yawn-inducing content that seems unoriginal and redundant.

Balance timeliness with the timeless.

Providing commentary on current trends is a proven content strategy because it shows that you have a finger on the pulse of your market.

The problem with this type of hot-topic content is that it can have a short shelf-life. So to stretch the value of this content, find a way to tie trends to timeless principles. Demonstrate to your readers where these “of-the-moment” opportunities fit into the bigger picture. This kind of insight can still be valuable weeks, months or maybe even years after the market has moved on from the news that inspired it.

Call in the experts.

It takes time to get input from experts, but the payoff in credibility is huge.

Your company probably has a good many subject matter experts (SMEs) already on the payroll who can provide valuable insights for prospects and customers – and can do so from the perspective of your company.

Identify the SMEs in your company, and invite them to lunch to chat about the pieces you're working on that relate to their specialties, and if possible, give them credit as contributors.

And don’t forget to venture outside of your organization to seek the input of other resources, such as university professors, journalists or consultants. These individuals are usually happy to have an outlet to share their expertise and advice on the subject matter that they’re most passionate about.

Focus on substance and style.

Making your content classic is as much about style as it is substance. Roy Orbison built a hip, sophisticated look with his shades and suits that complemented his brand of smooth songwriting.

When it comes to your written content, following the basic principles of good writing will help your content resonate with the greatest number of people and for the longest period of time possible.

First, write well. If you don't have writing talent on staff, pay someone. If you have a decent writer, pay an editor to give you feedback and guard the voice of your brand.

Second, avoid hype, clichés and stereotypes. Don't simply squawk about your products and services. Making unsubstantiated, too-good-to-be-true claims is a sure-fire way to kill your credibility. And nothing says "lazy and unoriginal" like expressing concepts using the same examples and references as everyone else.

Speaking of which, illustrations and examples are important to helping your readers understand complex concepts, but don't use ones that may be irrelevant in six months. For example, a story that draws parallels to the philosophies of Martin Luther King will be relevant long after one that references whichever celebutante is making tabloid headlines today.

Third, don't use obscure references that the majority of your audience won't understand. The effect you create by doing so is very off-putting to readers, like being in the room when someone makes an inside joke and you don't get it. You feel out of the loop at best or left out intentionally at worst. The exception here is if you’re writing for a niche audience that you know will get the reference (for example, jokes about what Klingons eat in an article written for a Star Trek blog), as this can show your audience that you’re really one of them.

Finally, proofread. Sure the culture of the Web has made casual writing the norm, but punctuation errors, misspellings and poor word choice will diminish the perception of expertise and professionalism you want to convey. A tweet with a typo is no big deal, but a white paper riddled with misspelled words is quite a different matter. Never publish content that hasn't been proofread by someone else. Better yet, keep an editor on retainer for that purpose.

Be a Buffet.

Inevitably, when it comes to content marketing, there are demons to battle, such as writing to advance your SEO objectives at the expense of reader experience or producing "fluff" pieces that deliver little real value just to keep the insatiable content machine fed.

We can learn a valuable lesson here from the world of investment, where there's a lot of energy wasted on getting in early and growing by building buzz. However, this kind of Bernie Madoff behavior will eventually catch up with you and undermine your relationship with your readers.

Instead, you’ll always be better served by taking the Warren Buffet approach: focusing on the big picture, building on what you know and refusing to sacrifice long-term gains for a quick payoff.

So when you find yourself facing the temptation to take shortcuts or chase trends, remember which approach has been proven to be the most influential over the long term. After all, which of these men will be remembered as a fly-by-night shyster and which a luminary?

November 2010
By The Architect

The Myth of Multitasking

Although multitasking might seem to be a critical survival skill for today’s 24/7 world of business, it is actually a productivity killer.
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The Myth of Multitasking

multitasking_article Everything in our get-it-done yesterday culture seems to demand a mastery of multitasking. In the age of the smartphone, you’re never without access to a phone, e-mail, social media networks and news headlines. At any given moment, you might have half a dozen or more windows open on your computer competing for your time and attention. A few minutes waiting at a red light becomes an opportunity to check voicemail and return a missed call from a client while simultaneously reviewing the agenda for your next meeting.

But no matter how much you think being able to maintain a constant juggling act of tasks is going to help you get ahead, in truth, it might very well be what’s holding you back.

Success is not about how many things you can do at once; it's about consistently turning out your best quality work as efficiently as possible. In fact, multitasking is actually a very inefficient time management strategy that can seriously compromise your performance.


Although our society might be wired for multitasking, our brains are not.

Although our society might be wired for multitasking, our brains are not. Trying to work on several things at once compromises your brain's ability to function at maximum capacity. Each time you shift your focus from one task to another, you risk losing information from your short-term memory. In the end, you might end up putting in more hours, not less, and producing lower quality work.

Multitasking is fine for simple, low-brain-power chores like checking your e-mail while waiting in line at the grocery store or walking the dog while talking to your mother on the phone. But for complex work-related duties, you should be focused squarely on the task at-hand, not trying to perform a mental balancing act at all times.

If you really want to boost your productivity, start by organizing your day into blocks of time where you focus on accomplishing one specific job from beginning to end.

Learn to excel at single-tasking and get more done in less time.

If you are working on projects that span more than one day, break them into clearly defined phases and set milestones for yourself. Each time you set one project aside and move on to the next, take just a minute to leave yourself a brief note about where you left off and what your next step should be. This will help jog your memory the next time you resume work on that job, and you can get rolling right away.

By learning to excel at single-tasking, you'll reap very real rewards: getting more done in less time, with quality and attention to detail that speaks for itself.