The Content Blog

Cowboys & Italy: Tuscany Store Branding

Austin Texas based, Tuscany Market & Vineyard combined an upscale market, gourmet Italian eatery, and wine bar into a single store concept. My team and I were recruited to help build the concept’s identity and branding strategy –from the ground up. A creative and comprehensive identity and branding system helped keep the plethora of marketing touch points unified throughout store launch, and laid the foundation for a strong brand position in the Austin retail food market.









April 19th, 2016|

Synergy World

Toilet humor –literally.

Parent company Satellite Industries, established in 1958, has become the world leader in the portable sanitation industry with sales in over 75 countries and estimated annual US revenues near 100M. Their premium product division, Synergy World, initially selected me to set a new look for a series of collateral pieces. With the success of the first project completed, the executive team quickly handed me the responsibility of strategizing and producing deliverables ranging from trade publication ads to nationwide product launch campaigns.










April 1st, 2016|

Non-Mobile Friendly Sites Down-ranked on Google

For those thinking that a ‘mobile-friendly’ site isn’t necessary for their business, think again. The effects have been delayed, but the aftermath is beginning to take shape. Recently Adobe released their findings on the effects of Google’s changes to organic rankings for mobile searches and the WSJ’s Digits blog highlights some important points.

The most unsurprising, yet sobering quote from the story:

…a digital-marketing agency, studied more than 50,000 websites for a month after the changes kicked in. It found that non-mobile-friendly sites fell in Google search rankings, while mobile-friendly sites gained.

If you’ve been delaying plans to get serious about your mobile strategy, it’s not too late. Popular Content is ready to help. Call us today or reach out by email.


August 3rd, 2015|

Minneapolis Law Firm Takes Nontraditional Approach to Branding

SPS Immigration PLLC launched at the start of 2015, determined to set itself apart from the mundane look of its peers and competitors alike. The result was a non-traditional look for a Twin Cities law firm. In a practice area that can be complicated and stressful for it’s clientele, Popular Content was able to convey a sense of openness and modernity with the SPS brand.

Services provided to SPS by Popular Content include: Logo and Stationary System Design, Executive Portraiture, and Responsive and Mobile-friendly Web Site Development.


SPS Immigration logo design

SPS Business Card Design

Sarah Peterson Stensrud, SPS Immigration

Google Officially Adds “Mobile-Friendliness” To Search Ranking

Google Mobile-friendly Test Web Site

Back in February of this year, Google signaled the changes they would be making to their algorithms for organic search results on mobile devices. Today, this change has officially been rolled out, but to what extent remains to be seen. Tech bloggers and Web developers alike began to prophesy of the ‘mobilegeddon’ that would result from Google’s change and that all should be prepared or suffer the wrath of penalized search rankings.

While it’s true, it would be ideal to be prepared for the initial launch of this change, it isn’t the end of world if you are not quite there yet. The change only affects the search rankings of smartphone browser results using Google and does not affect page rankings for traditional desktop browsers or even tablets. That said, with the growth in popularity of smartphones, it would be wise to get a move on with a mobile site to mirror your existing Web site or consider a responsive Web redesign that can automatically adjust to the screen resolution and operating system detected by your site.

Not sure if you’re mobile-friendly or not?

Google has not made this change and left us to die trying to find redemption. They’ve published a guide to mobile-friendly sites to help you determine your options for getting with the program, in relative layman’s terms. They’ve even provided a site that allows you to put your existing site through their own Mobile-Friendly Test. If after running their test, the result is “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly,” you’re golden. If not, you’ll likely be presented with “Not mobile-friendly” and one or more of these statements: “Text too small to read,” or “Mobile viewport not set,” or “Links too close together,” or “Content wider than screen.” If that’s the case, it’s time to evaluate your options.

More than one way to get “mobile-friendly”

Rest assured, regardless of who or how your site was developed, you have options and time to get compliant. Once you’ve determined the state of your site, save yourself the heartache of figuring out what to do next. Pick up the phone and call 612-870-1940. Popular Content is experienced in developing both mobile-friendly companion sites as well as fully responsive, CMS-driven Web sites. We are ready and willing to discuss your options and develop a plan to make your site mobile-friendly in a timely and cost-effective manner. While it may not be the end of the world, delaying the inevitable may hurt your online presence in the end. Call or e-mail us today to get started.

April 21st, 2015|

The Road to Social Media Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

Relaunch of Twitter for Business

I’ll be the first to admit, keeping content up-to-date and relevant to your customers can seem daunting –especially the longer you wait to do so. For example, nearly two years after my last Tweet, Facebook post or blog entry, I felt like I had fallen into the depths of social media hell. Unredeemable. Never to resurface again. I’d managed to set an example of “what not to do” when it comes to a company’s social media presence, and while I had good intentions along the way, I was finding it difficult to muster up the courage to try my hand at it again, for fear of falling from social media grace once again.

The unproductive, all-consuming approach

While trying to get Popular Content’s own voice noticed amongst the burgeoning crowd of tweets and status updates, I quickly discovered just how much of a time-suck and distraction these new(ish) medias could be (I get that I’m starting off in negative terms here, but stay with me). I found I was spending an unprecedented amount of time trying to stay on top of the latest ‘news’ trend related to my industry and the industries of our clients, and yet felt none the wiser. It became all-consuming. I started thinking, “How can anyone get anything productive done and maintain something like this?” The answer, using the approach I was taking, is: nothing.

Conceding, not condemning

Before you jump to the conclusion that my attitude and comments towards social media are crotchety, luddite-like complaining, let me clarify. There’s something key to what I said above, about “using the approach I was taking…” that is largely the problem. Can my company’s tweet just be another 140 characters of noise in the twitterverse? Yes. Can I feel none the wiser? Yes. Can it become all-consuming? Yes. All of those things can be true, but the way in which we strategize, execute and manage it (or fail to) doesn’t have to lead to ignoring or dismissing it as unproductive or ineffective.

Don’t fear the Tweeter

The reality for younger generations of consumers and business owners alike (and when I say younger, I generously mean under 40) is that they’re paying attention and trying to sift through the noise. And the eventual reality of your existing market (and I’m thinking more business-to-business here) is that they’re growing older and taking the technologies they’re already using with them. So don’t think that your industry will forever be absent of Twitter followers.

Here’s some basic suggestions to consider:

    • Look at your current market and decide if social media garners the attention of your customers today (if not, think about when that might change and prepare for when you think it will).


    • Even if you’re not going to engage in Tweets and posts now, make sure you establish an account with an easily recognizable handle. Better to sit in silence with “CompanyName” reserved, than scrambling to get on board later and being stuck with “CompanyNameState” or an acronym for your handle.


    • If you’ve decided to do this thing, choose one person for maintaining the official company account and predetermine the ‘voice’ that is to be used. I know we all love writing policies, but it’s important that expectations are clear and boundaries are set –maybe even requiring an approval process before posting. You don’t want an employee taking liberties in their response to a snarky comment from a hater or disgruntled customer. If you have an existing customer service policy in place, tweak it for social media usage as well.


    • Set a realistic goal for the regularity with which you’re going to post and the type of information you’re going to post (if you haven’t already in a social media policy). The real savants will do more than announcements and press releases by trying to engage followers with questions, retweets, and replies –but beware, this requires discipline and more time.


    • Promote the ways customers can connect with you via Twitter, Facebook, whatever, by including icons and address links on your Web site, in your email blasts, and in printed materials.


  • If it’s just too much, consider outsourcing the job. It will likely require bringing someone who may not be savvy to your industry up to speed, but if you can at least manage to put a policy in place, determine your voice and the type of content and/or issues you’ll promote and/or speak to, then relying on an outside agency or contractor may be your saving grace.

I’m not claiming to be an expert on the matter, far from it, but hope to shed some light on my own failings while using what unquestionably is an important tool for reaching customers, if not today…someday (and likely soon). The key is not giving up on it and being ready for it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or worry about the time that’s passed since your last update. Figure out where it fits in with your existing marketing strategy and make the most of it. Don’t fear the Tweeter.

Other resources:

Twitter for Business

Facebook for Business

Google+ for Business


…And You Ask Yourself, “What Is Google+?”

Some of you out there might be wondering, “What exactly is Google+?” Well, we’re just getting acquainted with Google’s new foray into social networking ourselves, but from what we can tell, it could prove to be a serious new competitor to Facebook. If you’ve found any success maintaining a business profile at Facebook, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be making posts on your Google+ profile too (side note: Google has alluded to more business-friendly features being in the works…so hold off on creating a profile for your biz just yet).

In the meantime, if you haven’t already received an invitation to join (as of today, Google+ is still officially ‘unreleased’ and in beta) then submit your personal email address at or hit up someone you know that already has an account and ask them to add you to one of their ‘circles’ – chances are, you’ll get an invite from Google in short order.

Once you’ve got your invite and log in for the first time, you might be a bit confused as to how everything works. Thus far, the best guide we’ve found to understanding and using Google+ comes from the good people at – check out their Google+ How-to Guide and let us know what you think about the new service.

July 18th, 2011|Tags: , , |

Urban Tri Steps Up Their Game With Web Redesign

Minneapolis based, triathlon gear retailer Urban Tri recently launched a new Web site with the help of Popular Content. The project included: Interface design, WordPress CMS backend for maintaining not only the Blog section – but site wide updating as well, events calendar linked to the company Google Calendar for easy updating, as well as Facebook and Twitter feed tie-ins to keep social media updates efficient and easy to manage from a single source.

July 8th, 2011|Tags: , , , , |

Popular Content Redesigns Web. The Cobbler’s Children Rejoice!

Though it may be a cliche within the industry, “The cobbler’s children go unshod” or rather in this case “The design agency has no Web site,” has been our ‘excuse’ for far too long. Today we have rectified our sad state of affairs with a simple, yet up-to-date site.

Our intentions are honorable. We intend to practice what we preach with the introduction of The Content Blog, featuring new projects, advertising and marketing perspectives, and our take on new technologies and geeky design+tech+gadgets we love.

To make the refresh complete, you can also now show us your love by connecting with us via: Facebook, Twitter, or Linkdin. But as we’ve always said, human interaction is preferred – give us a call at 612+870+1940 to setup a face-to-face, the coffee is on us.

Google Rolling Out New Look, Little By Little

Google has, over the last number of days, been rolling out a new look for some of their more popular Web apps beginning with a modest change to their home page. Gmail and Google Calendar appear to be getting the same treatment (at least as a preview theme for now) which leads me to wonder if this was all due to the fanfare the Google+ interface has been receiving.

Taking Cues From Apple’s Success

Back in 2005 Google hired Andy Hertzfeld, a ‘former Macintosh wizard’ and one of the original designers of the Mac interface. Word has it that despite Larry Paige’s opposition to ‘lavish’ (or imho ‘good’) interface design, Andy was given free reign as the design lead for Google+. Maybe after seeing the favorable reception (at least by initial reviews) that Google+ has seen, Larry discovered that beauty AND speed can harmonize in the cloud.

More at: Google Blog, Gmail Blog, Google Calendar, Google+ Demo, Wired

June 30th, 2011|Tags: , , , , , |