Posted on May 30th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories communication

There’s a new player on the social media field. Well. Perhaps not quite that new, given that celebrities and a few million people (27 million) have signed up for its service, but it’s still not quite at Instagram and YouTube status. So, we’ll call it new.
Meet Viddy, the latest contender for video sharing. In the past few weeks, it has received attention from various news media outlets and there seems to be a little hype building. Mashable has talked about it, Mark Zuckerberg has signed up for it and TechCrunch reported about a $30 million funding deal Viddy just scored.
But what it does do?
We’re flooded with a myriad of options to share information and harnessing all of those technologies. So, with video-sharing services like Vimeo and YouTube that already possess a significant piece of the market share, how different is Viddy’s difference?
Platform and Structures
These are the snapshot details: -
1. Viddy allows users to record videos via their iPhone app. (Other platforms coming soon).
2. Videos are limited to 15 seconds. 
3. The app, in a very Instagram fashion, allows people to layer filters for visual effects.
4. The sign-up process is (incredibly!) simple and lives up to its social nature. Sync-ups and log-ons with Facebook and Twitter are included.
5. The app comes with the ability to follow friends via Facebook and Twitter who are already using Viddy.e
6. Record, curate and share videos in a live-stream.
The Finer Details
Great user-interface with clean design, clearly marked tabs and the prerequisite heart-shaped symbol for adding a video to your favorites. 
The Verdict
It’s not quite the platform for involved storytelling, but with a $30 million dollar investment, 27 million users and celebrities lining up to find space on the app, we’re looking forward to seeing how far Viddy can go.
Possibly towards the billion dollar brass ring!
Have you Viddy’d yet? Share your 15-second stories with us!

Buzzword Buzzkill

Posted on May 23rd, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Blog

Marketers can be annoying people. Don’t you think it’s true? With all the buzzwords, hard-sells and arm twisting that goes around, it’s a wonder that people don’t retaliate in frustration. 
As a marketing agency, we want to cater to your audiences’ needs and help you expand your profit margins, and we make every effort towards those goals. But there is such a thing as overkill. And really, who wants to be that guy? The one who’s always in your face telling you what to do.
We certainly don’t. Frankly, we think our field is peppered with overused terms and phrases that don’t help as much as they make our eyes roll and our lungs sigh. Remember thinking outside the box? Or marketing coup? Anybody looking for team players or movers & shakers? 
We attempted to compile a list of our favorite eye-rollers. Bear with us. We were growing our wings trying to break out of the box.
1. Artisan The dictionary definition of artisan? “A worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.” In the race for the heart of the micro-niche consumer driven by a love for all things organic, the world “artisan” gets dropped like pine cones in New England. 
Artisan breads are mushrooming in stores everywhere; artisan chocolates are sold out of Godiva storefronts; artisan coffee makers and artisan soda makers are gaining popularity every day; which inherently takes away the meaning from the word. If everything is artisan, then nothing is.
2. Web Two Point Oh It’s faster, has better design, has higher connectivity and is more social. We get it. Let’s move on.
3. Abbreviations SMM. SME. SEO. ROI. PPC. They’re everywhere and now we’re not likely to find a conversation that can take place without sleek abbreviations being dropped into the conversation. 
Marketing Today released a list of buzzwords that have had their moment in the sun but are now dropping out of the vernacular. And not a moment too soon!
Some of our favorites: At the end of the day; Metrics; Win-Win; Paradigm.
Do you have a list you’ve been keeping? Share it with us! 

Mobile Marketing: The Changing Demographics

Posted on May 16th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Branding

If there’s anything traditional marketing can be adversely good at, it’s alienating an entire demographic that isn’t moved by a blanket message. Remember those burgeoning billboards on the sides of highways in the middle of nowhere? They’re still around, but they’re not as relevant as they used to be.
Smartphones and digital communication are now facts of life, and in trying to adapt to this not-so-new-fangled form of connecting, marketers are faced with changing their strategies and revised metrics. Again. Buckle in – it’s going to be quite a ride.
Device Demographics
Gone are the days when an audience could be neatly packaged into factors like “gender,” “age” and “ethnicity.” Some truisms may exist, still. iPhone users are more likely to be young and affluent more than Android users, but their spending habits and the information they consume is vastly different.
We communicate, consume, share and advertise digitally. That part’s easy. What becomes difficult is bridging the gap between ROI insights and adjusting strategies in real time. As marketers, we’ve always faced a lag between traditional advertising and the feedback we receive.
Device demographics are making advertising much more relevant and targeted than it ever has been. Marketers can now customize the content and experience for their audience for each mobile device available, and as it turns out, the trend is sticking around. Consumers are beginning to prefer targeted ads that are sleeker, have higher definition and are more interactive.
One Step Up
Targeted or even preferred content isn’t just for social media platforms anymore. Everything that you do with your smartphone offers an insight into who you are and where your interests lie. From status updates and geotagging on Facebook and Twitter to the kinds of utility or gaming apps you use – we were all here for the Angry Birds fever – every activity leads marketers to create an experience that’s tailored uniquely to you.
There’s a side of the fence that believes these rapid changes are exciting and revolutionary. How do you feel?

Summer 2012 Internship: Digital Marketing Intern

Posted on May 9th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Interns

 The REFUGE Group, a rapidly growing integrated marketing strategies firm, is looking for a Houston resident who is proficient in and an active user of digital and interactive media.  The ideal candidate will be creative, self-motivated, have excellent written and oral communication skills, and will possess a positive and professional approach when working with a variety of people.


To perform well in this internship you need to enjoy using and have working knowledge of social and news bookmarking sites as well as understand the power of a social media presence for brands and products.  Students working toward a college degree in marketing, advertising, communications, public relations, or journalism are preferred.       
Job Description:

 ● Learn how to create and maintain an effective marketing campaign across all interactive media including client websites, Google, Facebook,  Twitter, YouTube and blogs

 ● Learn the nuances of client management from sitting in on meetings to hands on account administration experience 

See the principles of marketing in action for both interactive and traditional marketing

Contribute to our clients’ and our own social networking initiatives, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube updates and maintenance.

Explore new digital communication mediums, including blogging, podcasting, mobile applications, etc.

Proactively create and maintain online conversation. 

Ensure all technical aspects of the websites are functioning correctly and offer solutions as they arise

Track, analyze, and report the results of marketing campaigns

For the right candidate, there is an excellent opportunity to grow with the company.  This is an unpaid internship (application for school credit encouraged) for a minimum 15-20 hours per week at an office in the Washington Corridor/Memorial Park area.  Please provide resume and cover letter citing examples of social media usage to If you would like additional information, please feel free to email or call Alexzandria Cormier-Hill at (713) 528-0200 x 103.

The Right Splash of Color

Posted on May 9th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Campaigns

If you’re trying to launch a sleek, aesthetically compelling campaign, hire yourself a professional graphic designer. Why? Because they’ve been trained in color theory and color placements and know exactly how certain colors are perceived. 
Choosing campaign colors is more than just splashing paint across a canvas – it’s a very deliberate choice. Especially because your colors become a strong component of your brand identity and image.  From brochures to TV and print ads and even business cards, you communicate your brand ethos at every step.
Color. Theory?
Not really. Iconic brands have used color placements to hammer in a wedge in their audiences’ consciousness. Do you shop at MetLife? Their sky blue “If” campaign against a white background is nothing if not memorable. Do you like Cadbury’s? If you do, chances are you’ve tried to hunt down the purple wrapper when hunger struck. 

Theory 101
Colors are divided into three groups – primary, secondary and tertiary. Red, blue and green are primary colors and creating varying combinations of the three makes all other colors. Secondary colors, i.e. orange, green and violet, are halfway between the primary colors on the color wheel and tertiary colors are the ones created when primary colors are mixed with their adjacent secondary colors. 
Why Does It All Matter?
Colors carry innate connotations, so bright colors like red, orange or purple indicate action and forward motion. A good choice, possibly, for sports related events or any event that might gather people around a happy occasion. 
Are you trying to lure people into taking a vacation far away from the hustle and bustle of a big city?  Try placing blues, greens and perhaps a pink against a neutral background. Blues and greens are receding colors that make people feel calm, relaxed and happier. 
Aiming for luxury? Try combining a deep red or a deep purple with touches of gold. If you’re aiming for somber or piety, try a darker color palette with grays and blacks. 
Of course there are cultural norms that determine how some colors will be perceived with certain audiences. For instance, while a color scheme dominated by white might work for a Western wedding, Eastern cultures will reject it as a nod to mourning. 
Leave us a little note – we’d love to hear what your favorite campaigns have looked like and the colors they’ve incorporated.


Refuge Marketing: On the Inside

Posted on May 3rd, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Facebook

At Refuge, we’re proud of being able to attract creative and intelligent people who understand that the heart of marketing lies in connecting with people. Our internship program allows us to work with bright and dedicated minds before and we thought it would be a great idea to introduce them to you.
Candace Espinal has enjoyed working with our long-standing clients, Eye Elegance and Cabinets & Designs. Her focus has always been ensuring that our clients’ requests are handled as professionally as possible. She has been vested in their success and attempted to provide them with equal attention to maximize their profits.
She was also very focused on Social Media deliverables. Candace can see the potential that SM channels provide in taking away communication hierarchies. “People want a personal connection with businesses, and social media is doing that” she says.
On the way, she’s learned the importance of time management and building relationships for the long haul. Candace says she will miss “hanging outwith the girls in the office” because she has “enjoyed getting to know the interns and the people who work for The Refuge Group”. Thank you, Candace! We’ll miss you too!


We’d also like to introduce you to our intern, Orpha Palomares, a Junior at the University of Houston. Orpha is majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Business Administration and decided to look for a marketing internship to learn more about the online creative process of marketing.
She wanted to delve into not just website design and online ads but social media and its connections to communicating with an audience as well.
Her success stories at Refuge lay with the Billiard Factory SM account where she has managed to identify and engage with a targeted audience and cater to their needs directly.  For Orpha, interacting with clients and their products was fun and seeing the work translated into results that met with their approval was “even better”.
Orpha, who is a professional photographer and a poet, will use her time post-internship to expand her photography business where she can directly apply her newly gleaned marketing skills.
Good luck to you both, Orpha and Candace! Thank you for being a part of the Refuge team and we wish you all the very best for your futures!