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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.

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.

775 Boost email open rates by 152 percent

Use your customers’ behavior to your advantage.

095 - Calling into question the wisdom of FAQs

Here's a question that's not asked frequently enough: are your FAQs killing your conversions? Find out why they might be in tod

774 Feelings are viral

Feelings are the key to fueling likes, comments and shares.

773 Don’t be so impressed by impressions

Ad impressions are a frequently cited metric in the world of online advertising. But do they really matter?

April 2014
By Carey Arvin

TOMS Roasting Co. vs. Vogue’s Kimye Cover: A Cautionary Tale in Brand Evolution

Three commandments for disaster-proofing your next big idea.
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TOMS Roasting Co. vs. Vogue’s Kimye Cover: A Cautionary Tale in Brand Evolution

Trends come and go. New technologies emerge. Consumer tastes, preferences and habits shift. As a result, brands must evolve or die. But with change comes risk. Will your next big idea be the next big thing or just a big black eye? After all, the history of marketing is riddled with spectacular failures and flops. Sony Betamax. New Coke. The Gap retro logo redesign debacle of 2010. In just the past few weeks two major brands – TOMS and Vogue – have taken major evolutionary leaps with very disparate results. Let’s examine their stories and the valuable lessons they offer to us all in how to maximize our brands’ possibilities for growth while avoiding potentially disastrous pitfalls.

TOMS takes on coffee.

On March 11, TOMS founder and CEO Blake Mycoskie took the stage at South by Southwest to announce its latest venture: TOMS Roasting Co., an ambitious new brand offshoot that encompasses a chain of coffee bars, a wholesale roasting business and an online subscription-based coffee club. Following the “one for one” business model that TOMS first pioneered with its shoes (donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold), their coffee likewise comes served with a plan for doing social good. In this case, the “give” (in TOMS-speak) is water. For every bag of beans and cup of joe sold, TOMS will provide clean water to a person in one of the communities in Rwanda, Malawai, Guatemala, Honduras or Peru where TOMS sources its beans. The goal is to make “one for one” giving as much of a deeply ingrained part of their customers’ daily routines as their morning coffee. Reaction to this new venture has been overwhelmingly positive, with celebrities and average Joes alike singing the company’s praises on social media. Actress Olivia Wilde (@oliviawilde) tweeted, “Caffeine with a cause? Don’t mind if I do. I’m helping @TOMS’ mission to provide clean water.” Twitter_reaction1 Twitter user @hopevandy said, “TOMS is now selling coffee. My life is now complete.” It’s hard to ask for a more enthusiastic endorsement than that. Twitter_reaction2 While only time will tell if TOMS Roasting Co. is truly a sustainable business venture, it’s certainly emerged onto the scene with a well-caffeinated jolt.

Vogue bows to pop culture.

Jennifer Lawrence. Jessica Chastain. Kate Winslet. Sandra Bullock. Michelle Obama. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Which of these things is not like the other? On March 21, Vogue magazine proudly unveiled the cover of its April 2014 issue, featuring none other than tabloid power-duo Kim Kardashian and Kanye West (or as they’re known in pop culture circles by their portmanteau, “Kimye"). Immediately, the backlash was swift and vehement, with fans decrying that their Fashion Bible of Record had seemingly fallen prey to the most plebeian fate of catering to the lowest common denominator. Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar tweeted, “Well…I guess I’m canceling my Vogue subscription. Who’s with me???” – a message that has since been retweeted nearly 10,000 times and favored by almost 14,000 users. Vogue_SMG Another fan responded on Facebook, proclaiming the cover “The official death of Vogue” (a comment which has since received more than 1,500 likes). Vogue_death And while this one cover won’t likely be the singular undoing of this century-old prestige brand, it’s certainly a glaring misstep – one that’s likely to haunt its reputation for some time to come. So how can you ensure that your next big idea follows in the successful footsteps of TOMS Roasting Co. and doesn’t result in a disaster of Kimye-sized proportions? Follow these three commandments of brand evolution:

The three commandments of brand evolution

1. To thine own self be true.

On the surface, coffee does not seem like the next logical evolutionary step for a brand best known as a shoe company. After all, no one expects Nike to step up to the plate and start roasting beans anytime soon. However, shoes are not the core of the TOMS brand. It’s their mission: one for one. Toms_mission And by branching out into coffee, TOMS has created an opportunity for its fans to live that mission every day, not only when they need a new pair of shoes. As Mycoskie explained during an interview with TODAY, “I’ve been saying in the office, ‘Let’s start our day by improving someone else’s.’” By contrast, according to their own mission statement, “the foundation of Vogue’s leadership and authority is the brand’s unique role as a cultural barometer for a global audience. Vogue places fashion in the context of culture and the world we live in — how we dress, live and socialize; what we eat, listen to and watch; who leads and inspires us. Vogue immerses itself in fashion, always leading readers to what will happen next. Thought-provoking, relevant and always influential, Vogue defines the culture of fashion.” Juxtaposed against that is Kim Kardashian. She became a household name as a result of an illicit tape. She’s cemented her celebrity status with a basic cable TV reality show and an omnipresent claim on the tabloid headlines. She designs a clothing line sold in Sears. Which part of that is cohesive with a brand that wants to be “a cultural barometer for a global audience”? Vogue built its name as a brand of high-end aspiration. It’s not supposed to be a clothing catalog; it’s meant to be escapist fantasy. Kim and Kanye are as mass and mainstream as it gets. And Vogue’s readers (and perhaps now former subscribers) saw right through this stunt for what it is: a desperate, grasping, Hail Mary attempt to cling to relevancy in a world where print media outlets are a dying breed.

2. Know thy tribe.

For TOMS, branching out into the coffee business is not a move without risk. After all, there’s no lack of competition in the marketplace. However, TOMS knows its tribe. Customers who buy TOMS do so for a reason: to make a difference with their dollars. With their shoes, TOMS has cultivated with a distinctive style. Their signature beachy canvas slip-ons can be spotted at 20 paces, making a fashion statement that says, “I care.” TOMS knows their customers are torch-bearers who will champion their latest cause, proudly carrying their TOMS coffee bags and cups as a beacon of consumerism with a social conscience. And again, this is where Vogue seemingly overestimated the sheepish loyalty of its tribe. Perhaps the inherent danger in being a self-proclaimed arbiter of high culture and fashion is that it’s too tempting to think you’re better than your tribe. You know best, and they’ll love whatever you give them because you tell them to do so. A word to the wise: you’re never above your tribe. If you lead them, it is by permission through hard-won trust. And that permission will be quickly revoked if that trust is betrayed. First, last and always, you must demonstrate that you exist to serve your tribe and have their best interests at heart.

3. Engage your evangelists.

For a month leading up to the big reveal, TOMS teased their fans. They plugged the upcoming announcement. Toms_mark They solicited guesses from their followers about what the new product would be and publicly promoted those who participated. Toms_blankets They challenged their customers to take the cleverly hashtagged “#onedecision pledge” to “change one decision that will help change a life.” Toms_onedecision In doing so, TOMS literally created an appetite for their coffee. Their customers felt a sense of ownership over the new product line before they even knew what it was, and as a result, came locked and loaded with a sense of investment in its success. Of course, this approach only succeeded because they also delivered on the anticipation with a truly great product that follows commandments #1 and 2 above. After all, publicity in the absence of authenticity is just a recipe for disaster, right Vogue?
August 2012
By Jason Ferster

The New Rules of Customer Engagement

In today's marketplace, business must be conducted on human terms with the understanding that when you put people first, profits will follow.
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The New Rules of Customer Engagement

Customer Engagement The rise of the culture of the Web has revolutionized the nature of how businesses and customers relate to each other. Whereas companies could once shape and direct the perception of their brand through carefully crafted ad campaigns, direct mail and press releases, today the flow of information runs fast and free, and customers now own the conversation. And because whoever owns the platform dictates the culture, the world is a more human, less institutional place to do business. Today’s customers want to feel good about the products they buy, where they came from and how they were made. Moreover, they want to like the company behind the product – that is, genuinely like it, not just press a Facebook button. We are entering an age of emotive economics. Corporations have been forced to adapt to this new, people-centric culture by connecting with customers on their own turf in more casual, conversational ways. There’s little room or respect for old-school corporatism’s pomp and protocol. And those businesses that cling to traditional behaviors in the online community will earn its scorn very quickly. Those companies that have embraced this new landscape and its risks have enjoyed great reward. For this reason, the human face, rather than steal and glass, has become the façade of big business. Yet with style must also come substance. It is no longer acceptable to be about profit alone. Companies are expected to contribute to the world in ways that make their customers’ lives better. Consumers are demanding that business be done on their terms. It should come as no surprise, then, that human values – transparency, respect, conscientiousness, kindness, trust, generosity and the like – are the keys to engaging with customers in this brave new world of business. So how can you use this new dynamic to your advantage to grow your business? You must embrace the new rules of engagement, understanding that when you put people first, profit will follow:

1. Don’t treat customers like they’re stupid.

When Netflix bungled its attempt to change its pricing structure last year, the backlash in the online community was severe, with many customers threatening to cancel their accounts immediately. It was clear that customers viewed Netflix as a value-priced alternative to more expensive traditional paid media channels, and therefore many felt betrayed by the company’s sudden doubling of their fees. While the price increase itself wasn’t really so unjustifiable, what made it unpalatable for customers was the company’s lack of transparency in explaining the business drivers behind the rate hike – the rising operational costs of maintaining a physical DVD business and the growing licensing fees for content streaming. Instead, Netflix spun the move as giving customers a “choice,” offering the option to subscribe to a DVD-only service at its lowest price ever. Here's an excerpt from their ill-advised news release: netflix-pricing-changes To his credit, CEO Reed Hastings acknowledged the poor handling and chalked up the misstep to “overconfidence,” which still sounds like PR spin, but hey, we’re making progress. The lesson? If a change in product or policy may have negative consequences for your customers – even if only in perception – acknowledge them, express empathy over the inconvenience or added cost, explain the reasons if possible and then point out the benefits or offer alternative options. People understand that businesses must evolve and that profit is still part of the equation. Don’t assume that your customers are beyond reason or treat them like they’re too stupid to detect what’s really going on.

2. Over-serve your customers.

It’s always good business to go the extra mile for customers, but never more so than when trying to recover from a mistake. How you handle disappointment is what determines whether your customers write you off and tell everyone about it or trust you more and spread the good word about you. When Google decided to phase out Wave due to poor user adoption rates, they didn’t just shutter the windows and bury the technology as if it never existed. Instead, they gave users months to move their data off the service, converted Wave into an open-source project and gave the Wave community the tools to get involved: google-wave-email-clipping

3. Be humble and listen to your customers.

Building on the success of its breakthrough app Wunderlist, Berlin-based software firm 6Wunderkinder recently launched Wunderkit, a project collaboration and management tool designed around the social connections of today’s work environment. Wunderkit was made available in a “freemium” model, offering standard features to all users for free with additional functionality available for a small fee to power users. As the company analyzed feedback from its beta release of Wunderkit, they realized the community’s dissatisfaction with project collaboration between users – one of the platform’s central features – only being available to premium users. What follows is a fantastic example of how to demonstrate that you’ve heard your customers loud and clear, understand their feelings and are acting to resolve the issue: 6Wunderkinder

The customer is king, and the king is here to stay.

Never underestimate the commitment required to engage with customers effectively in today’s marketplace. Human relationships are not managed well with rigid rules and policies but instead must be governed by human values like compromise, sensitivity and transparency. It takes much more than a Twitter account and Facebook page to win the hearts of customers. You must develop a culture that is focused on and driven by the customer through and through. Be purposeful in growing such a culture. Establish your own rules of engagement. Make sure every employee is encouraged to embrace and exhibit those values. Empower them to do whatever it takes to take care of your customers. The journey may be a bit rocky at times, but if you walk the line faithfully, you’ll earn something from your customers that can never bought with advertising dollars – trust, respect and even passion for your brand and what it stands for.