Opening Up Pandora’s Box
When I first sat down this morning, I went through the same process as I do every morning here at DDA. I opened Outlook to check my email, set up a browser on my right-hand monitor with our DDA Trac system, and another browser on the left-hand monitor with one tab for our internal calendar and one for our blog system.
This is usually when I start to think about a blog idea for the day, and I was drawing a blank (quite normal for a Thursday, since my brain only provides a few decent ideas each week). But then I moved on to the next step of my morning routine, which is opening a third browser window for the Internet radio service I listen to most of the day while I work. And that’s when I got my idea.
You see, at the suggestion of one of my fellow writers, I tried out an Internet radio service called Pandora a few weeks ago. Prior to that, I had been listening to my favorite local station, or even loggin into my Sirius satellite radio account. But Pandora proved fascinating, since it’s the only radio station I’ve ever seen that customizes itself to fit you, and actually gets BETTER as the weeks pass.
The way it works is this: You create a free login, and type in a few bands or artists who you like. It begins by playing songs from those artists, and also plays songs from artists and bands it believes are similar. Every time a song comes on (commercial-free, by the way), it shows the album cover, artist and title, along with a thumbs-up and thumbs-down button. If you hear a new song you like, you click the thumbs-up button, and the service knows to play that song again sometime, along with more songs from that artist. If you click the tumbs-down button, it skips to the next song, and usually won’t play anything by that artist again. You don’t have to rate songs if you don’t want to, and you can constantly add new artists to your list, as well.
What makes it great, is that as the weeks have gone by, my personalized “station” has become better with each passing day. It plays much more of the bands I like, and I almost never feel compelled to skip a song. Plus, I have been exposed to a bunch of new artists I had never heard before, and that would never be played on “regular” radio. Enough where I’ve even paid to download some songs and albums to my iPod (see musicians, the Internet isn’t such a bad thing after all!).
It made me think of our tried and tested process with every project here at Dynamic Digital Advertising. After a client chooses us for a project, we hold a kickoff meeting to get an idea of what they’re looking for, what their tastes are, and how to best serve them. Usually, the first draft of any project — whether it’s a website design, print project, trade show display, or customized application — is a little different from what the client was looking for (as hard as we try, we can’t read minds). But after we get some feedback, our programmers, copywriters, video specialists, animators, graphic designers, and search engine optimization (SEO) specialists refine the project a little more, before getting even more feedback.
Sure, asking for feedback every step of the way may be a little slower than just going for it and crossing our fingers that we get it right. Each time the client gives a tumbs-up or thumbs-down on an aspect of a project, we get closer to the perfect result. And by the time the project is over, we have hopefully provided the perfect finished product for that specific client.
This process guarantees us that the finished product will meet (or exceed) the client’s vision for the project, and those kind of results have made us one of the most successful and unique advertising and marketing companies around.