Posts by Mitchell Wagner

??Open Your Mind to Open-Source??

Mitchell Wagner – Art Director – IRONCLAD Marketing

Mitchell Wagner

Never have there been more options for designing a website, from the $5.99/month services to open-source, blog-like platforms to fully custom-programmed behemoths. You can get great results regardless of which direction you go, so a little research is required to see what meets your immediate and future needs. You may run into developers that call WordPress and similar sites little more than glorified blogs. But while many of them began life as blog platforms, they have since grown into more complete CMS solutions.

The site you are on was built using WordPress. Having said that, don’t for get about the open-source option if you are looking to have a website built.

As for me, and for IRONCLAD, we have found open-source platforms are the way to go. We can offer a robust set of features tailored to any budget. The best part is you are not tied down to a proprietary CMS system. A custom-programmed site can have great CMS capabilities, but if you end your relationship with the company that built it, the company will export static pages and you lose ALL ability to edit – unless you go into the code. Open-source is different. You have a framework that any developer can edit so you can take the site wherever you want while maintaining all of its CMS capabilities.

Plugins are available to accomplish virtually any task from stocks and weather to making your site a secure online shopping cart. There is also an abundance of themes out there that cost from nothing on up. Need mobile capabilities? No need to build a second site (more…)

Social Network Showdown – Facebook Pages vs. Google+ Pages

Mitchell Wagner – Art Director – IRONCLAD Marketing

Mitchell Wagner

Google+ brand pages have been available for almost two months. You may be considering getting your company on board or wondering whether it’s going to be another failed attempt at social media by Google (remember Google Wave and Goolge Buzz? No? Don’t feel bad-you’re not alone). 

Your immediate reaction may be “isn’t this just another Facebook?” While there is some truth to that, as they have many similar features, Google has found some areas that can outshine Facebook — for the moment anyway. Adding another social network might be the last thing on your mind right now, but whether or not you are thinking of creating a company page, it is important to at least spend some time browsing around Google+ to become familiar with its features. It is better to be prepared to make the switch if needed rather than starting from scratch.

You can bet Facebook (more…)

Going Mobile – Execution Is Key With Codes

Mitchell Wagner – Art Director – IRONCLAD Marketing

Mitchell Wagner

On my way home from work I go by a particular billboard that has caught my eye for the past few weeks. It’s not the headline or some crazy photo – it’s that it has a QR code. To be specific, the billboard’s main image is a belt buckle with a QR code right in the center. It’s a neat idea, something you don’t see every day, and attention-getting for sure. The problem? It’s not properly executed. The code is completely un–scannable (not to mention even attempting to scan it is incredibly dangerous unless you are a passenger.) The code is simply too small for the distance away a person would be when scanning it, not to mention the speed at which they are traveling. (more…)

Websites On The Run – Going Mobile

Mitchell Wagner – Art Director – IRONCLAD Marketing

Mitchell Wagner

The mobile phone has gone through many changes over the years. From the 8 lb. brick Zack Morris used on “Saved by the Bell” in the early 90’s to the smart phones of today, the transformation of mobile technologies is in constant evolution. The way we use our mobile phones has also changed dramatically. I would dare to say that actually using them to place calls has taken at the very least the middle seat to texting and surfing the web. As surfing the web on our phones becomes a more popular past time, another trend follows closely behind — the development of mobile sites. Deciding when and how to implement a mobile site strategy can be a scary task, but it doesn’t have to be. In hopes of dispelling some of that fear, I’m outlining a few key things to consider when developing your mobile sites.

The functionality of modern phone browsers has evolved to be (more…)

Breaking Bad Brand Image

Mitchell Wagner – Art Director – IRONCLAD Marketing

Mitchell Wagner

A negative brand image is a hard thing to overcome. The opinion we have of a brand can be buried so deep within our subconscious we’re not even aware the impression exists. The truth is everything in life has a “brand” from the obvious products we buy to people and even pets.

Take this real world example. My neighbors have a 3-year-old German Shepherd — the sweetest, most obedient dog I have ever met. My two-year-old son absolutely loves her and wants to go see her whenever she is outside. Even though I have firsthand experience of her gentle demeanor, I’m still on edge every time my son approaches her.

Let me clarify, I have never been attacked by a dog and have never had a negative experience with a German Shepherd. So why do I get tense? The answer is simple: (more…)

Can Marketing Save a Car Company and a City?

Mitchell Wagner – Art Director – IRONCLAD Marketing

Mitchell Wagner

Super Bowl XLV has come and gone. No doubt there are many parties still going strong in Green Bay, and of course the internet is a buzz with the best and worst commercials. Like most, I was anxiously waiting for all the much-hyped spots so I could decide which I felt reigned supreme. There were some funny ones from Doritos, Hyundai and Volkswagen. But I was most impressed with a car commercial starring a rapper and a city.

In the weeks leading up to the Superbowl, I had been impressed with some of Chrysler’s new commercials. But those now pale in comparison. Feeling more like a tribute to a city and “American Values” than a commercial, I was honestly blown away by Chrysler’s new “Born of Fire” spot (more…)

Social Media Killed the Logo Redesign

Mitchell Wagner – Art Director – IRONCLAD Marketing

Mitchell Wagner

Logo redesign can be a touchy enough subject as it is. The logo can be a big part of what defines the brand, so naturally companies get tied to their logo and are afraid to change it. In our instant gratification world of social media, the subject is getting touchier.

Many are familiar with the short-lived GAP logo redesign that sparked an instant internet backlash, and resulted in them dropping the new design just days after it was released. Years ago, that backlash would have taken much longer to catch on and may not have caught on at all. But thanks to all the new instant communication vehicles, the effects came almost immediately. (more…)

You Get The Message – But Does Everyone Else?

Mitchell Wagner – Art Director – IRONCLAD Marketing

Mitchell Wagner

As I was driving home for Thanksgiving last week – in our lovely Minnesota winter weather – I came across something that got me thinking. Having recently experienced a winter storm and with another on the way, I decided I better drive slowly. Cruising down I-94 at 55 mph, I noticed flashing red and blue lights up ahead. Traffic had all moved to the left lane and slowed considerably. I ended up going by six squad cars in about one mile, and there were multiple cars in the ditch as a result of an accident. I decided to slow down even more, assuming the other drivers would do the same. (more…)

Thankful – The Essay

Mitchell Wagner – Art Director – IRONCLAD Marketing

Mitchell Wagner

When Denise told us about this project – to write a blog about what we are thankful for – I decided to write the longest blog in history, at least IRONCLAD’s history. After all a picture is worth a thousand words, right? (more…)

Creative Blocks – Tips to Help Break Through

Mitchell Wagner – Art Director – IRONCLAD Marketing

Mitchell Wagner

As you may or may not have noticed, I have been a bit sporadic lately with blogs. Writer’s block is probably one of the biggest contributors to this. I try to blame it on the fact that I am not a writer. However, even in design there are creative blocks we must overcome. So, I figured a solution to the issue might be to write a blog about it, in hopes of breaking the cycle. The answer of how to deal with blocks will differ from person-to-person, but I think there are some general, all-encompassing strategies we can all try. Below I have outlined some of the ways I deal with it.
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