Content Creation & Delivery

Come to the Cheese Party!

by Jamie Sanford on September 9, 2021

I haven’t been super active here or on most of my personal social channels as of late, and that’s because I have been focusing on my new channel!

I don’t know if I actually coined the term “cheese party,” but I haven’t seen it anywhere else. I started using this phrase after a life-changing cheese experience at the New York Fancy Foods Show in 2014.

I am mostly focused on generating content for Instagram at this time, but I am also developing content on the cheeseparty.co website.

I am so happy to have an outlet to continue experiencing new cheeses. I have been pursuing cheese education and a few weeks back, took a Sensory Cheese Tasting virtual class!

Please follow @cheeseparty.co on Instagram!

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Shop Wright Promo Email | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on March 19, 2021

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I am definitely a bit of a Frank Lloyd Wright-ophile. I have visited a few of his most famous buildings, most recently having made the journey to Spring Green, Wisconsin, to see Taliesin, his personal home for many years. (Unrelated to this specific post—Frank had a bit of a scandalous existence, but also went through some unimaginable horrors. I really enjoyed the Ken Burns documentary about him, which clocks in at around two and a half hours.)

My interest in Frank Lloyd Wright has led to me being signed up for many different relevant mailing lists. One of them is the Frank Lloyd Wright e-commerce destination ShopWright.org. However, you can pop over here if you wish to have the best order-fulfillment service for your start-up business.

I received an email from them recently and opened it to see what items were featured. Let’s get into it.

I have issues with a few things here.

  • I don’t like the names of the plates here. I would like to see the size name at the front, and then an actual measurement so that I can get a better idea of scale here in the email.
    • Small Ginkgo Leaves Plate, 4.25″
    • Large Ginkgo Leaves Plates, 8.75″
  • There is a lack of grammatical consistency, particularly with punctuation marks. There are variable amounts of spacing around dashes and an oddly-placed period after “origami chair.” Here’s how I would re-write these:
    • Barista 12-Hour Tree of Life Travel Mug
    • Limited-Edition Taliesin West Origami Chair
    • Ginkgo Leaves Napkin Rings, Set of 4

Right off the bat here, you can see a promo for “all face masks are 12.99” with a floating image of a mask, but it is behind the image of the mailbox? It’s possible that this is just an error with this email in Gmail, but something there is awry. Clicking the image of the mailbox takes you to the face mask page. Something isn’t right.

The mailbox is very lovely but I would prefer to see the “back in stock” messaging on the image instead of in the text. Additionally, the text is a different font and size than the other product names, and the mailbox listing doesn’t have a “buy now” button, which is inconsistent.

I also have similar issues with the product naming here. Here are my suggestions for these:

  • Beachy House Locking Steel Mailbox
  • Deluxe Patinated Copper and White Birdhouse
  • Floral Bird Feeder in Slate Blue
    • Although I struggle with the inclusion of the color here since a click through lets you see that this bird feeder is only available in that one color. (UPDATE: shopping later on this site led me to discover other color options, but they aren’t grouped onto one product page! That is something to be fixed as well.)

Finally, I discovered another issue here that bothered me – the images for these items don’t link to the item! I clicked the bird feeder and got this:

I am kind of obsessed with this feeder, but if I click the image, I want to go to the page where I can buy the item.

Let’s continue.

I have similar issues here with the product naming, so let’s get those fixes out of the way.

  • Pagoda Lantern Sandstone Outdoor Sculpture
  • Healing Gong Wind Chime
  • Midway Gardens Sandstone Sprite with Scepter, 64″
    • This last one is a bit long but since the Midway Gardens was such an important project for FLW, it seems appropriate to mention it in the name. Another version may also want to include the word “reproduction” in the product name in this email, but I’m leaving it out for the time being since it is clearly indicated on the product page this information links to.

The link to shop all outdoor accessories is a smart choice, given that the subject line of this email refers to spring and it is prime time to buy outdoor decor.

I make it down to the footer message about what my purchases support, and I see it as a missed opportunity for links. I see below that I can link directly to flwright.org, but a direct link to the “education and preservation programs” that I would be supporting might really engage me to want to justify buying more things.

All in all, this email did do the basic job of showing me some things that I might want to purchase to get my home into the spring spirit. The issues I ran across are easily fixable.

This post is about the email, so I won’t go further than that for now, but I also definitely noticed some issues within the actual shopwright.org e-commerce shop as well, but that is for another day.

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Home Depot Shipping Issues | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on March 10, 2021

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Today’s post was not one I expected to write, because I have some basic expectations for large retailers in 2021, and I am sort of stunned when they miss the mark in such a strange way.

We’ve had a lot of snowfall this year, and it’s become very difficult to find salt to de-ice the sidewalks and driveway. My husband ordered some on HomeDepot.com as we couldn’t find any in stores.

We received only part of his order (and that’s probably a whole other post, because the other half of the order is still missing), and I took his order information to try and track the other half.

This is problematic in a few ways.

  • The first bit of this order arrived on February 18
  • There is no indication on this page (including the area outside of this screenshot) that the order is shipping in separate parts

In the meantime, I have higher hopes for that link to track my package, so I click it, expecting an embedded page on HomeDepot.com with tracking details. Instead…

You have to be kidding me. A quick Google indicates that HomeDepot.com is generating over $100 million in sales every year, and they don’t have a direct link for me to track my shipment?!?

At least they have a copy function so I don’t have to highlight the number.

I proceed to copy the number and click the Track Package button.

I am sent to the UPS homepage, which does NOT feature an easy-to-use box where I can simply paste the tracking number.

I had to click “track a package,” and then was taken to a world map to pick my area of service before I was able to paste the tracking number.

When I did so, I was failed again.

The tracking number is invalid.

This is brutal. The whole experience was clunky and has entirely too many steps, and I take all of those steps and end up with a failed tracking number.

It’s very simple. You visit your order page, and if there’s a tracking number, you click it and it takes you to a pop-up or a new window/tab with details on your shipment. Not 14 steps between seeing the number and seeing the tracking information.

I would like to also note that at no point did my husband receive a shipping confirmation email from HomeDepot.com. It is definitely possible that this went into spam (although he received his order confirmation email), but it is potentially another issue. Is HomeDepot.com not set up to send emails for partial shipments? If so, they need to fix it immediately.

The second half of the shipment showed up weeks later, and again, no shipping email was sent when it was on its way. I hope that HomeDepot.com can get it together and improve the order tracking experience for their customers.

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It’s a great time to be a lover of all things makeup. Makeup brands have exploded in growth in recent years, and inevitably, new brands are also coming out at a regular clip. A recent launch was that of Laura Lee Los Angeles, a brand by makeup YouTuber Laura Lee.

I am not a watcher of Laura Lee. I know about her but I don’t watch her channel. I started hearing some things about her initial launch and I went to check it out. Naturally, I can’t look at an e-commerce site without some kind of issue, but I haven’t run into a content issue like this before.

Let’s take a look.

I don’t understand this. This content is a mess of grammatical and spelling errors. (I heard after taking this screenshot that it was actually worse before I got to it. I do know that the original name was Cats Pajama’s, which is grammatically painful.)

Let’s go through this point by point.

  • I don’t like that the product name has a break. I would manually add a break to put “eyeshadow palette” on the second line.
  • Bullet 1 is pretty terrible. It’s like a run-on sentence, but not. Why they didn’t use additional bullets like those used below? It should look like this.
    • 10 highly pigmented, pressed-powder eyeshadows
    • 5 matte shadows
    • 4 shimmer shadows
    • 1 semi-matte/satin shadow
  • Bullet 2. “Smoky” doesn’t have an E, but the whole bullet is problematic. This bullet should read something like this:
    • This palette is extremely versatile; create everything from a light everyday look to a dark, smoky eye
  • Bullet 3. (Which is no longer here on the live site.) Cruelty-free should be hyphenated, and I’m curious now to know if that underlined text was a link to their practices in production and packaging and how exactly they are defining the product as cruelty-free and vegan.
  • Bullet 4, another one that doesn’t flow in any normal way. Update:
    • The luxe palette, featuring the eyeshadows and a mirror, is proudly produced in the United States
  • Bullet 5, more extremely questionable grammar. This could be as simple as:
    • Perfect for use by everyone at every level of experience, from makeup beginners to professional artists
  • Bullet 6. Even the intro to the color list is strange. Here’s where you add the palette name again to boost SEO. “The Cat’s Pajamas palette features the following colors:” would be perfect.
  • Bullet 7. Inconsistent capitalization, and a general lack of clarity. I’m guessing that “domestic” means in the United States, because the palette is produced there. However, is my shipping free if I am in Alaska or Hawaii, or is shipping only free in the contiguous United States?
    • Free ground shipping on orders over $100 shipping in the contiguous United States. Click here for complete information on shipping destinations, prices, and options. (In which the “click here” text would open a pop-up or a new tab or window to a complete shipping information page.

I have said at least a few times before that I believe in the power of editors and copywriters. The impression that a brand gives with terrible grammar and punctuation is very detrimental to my opinion, and I am certain that I’m not the only person who responds to this sort of thing.

This palette is sold out, so perhaps the power of Laura Lee is enough to overcome bad grammar, at least for her followers. I will not be buying anything to go near my eyes from a company that cannot get it together in the copywriting department. This lack of attention to detail is incredibly disappointing, particularly for a brand that is just launching.

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I read Refinery29 articles often. They bark up my tree most of the time and come up in my feeds a lot.

Today, I caught a live video they were broadcasting on Facebook. I don’t know exactly how long they had been going, but there were already over 2,000 comments on the video. It was a bunch of balloons, and they were popping them to reveal a “major announcement.”

Here’s a screenshot from when I watched, definitely read those comments.

Instead of a steady stream of popping the balloons, they kept cutting to the women with the pins, making faces at the camera and miming something to suggest “which one should we pop next?” It was aggravating to say the least. You can see all of the angry faces along the bottom. In addition to the comments here, I saw someone else say that they were interested in the reveal but that the video was draining their phone of battery and their mobile plan of data.

Click here to watch the full video, if you want to spend 30 minutes on a bizarre balloon-popping situation.

I commented after someone else commented to “fire whoever’s idea this was” that I thought the idea was good, but the execution was terrible. There was NO reason to pop balloons slowly for 30 minutes to announce an upcoming event. The video could have been 3 minutes long and it would have been just fine. The comments on this video are pretty brutal, and funny, because that’s how the internet is, but they are all about the insane length of the video.

It is 2017. There are countless videos available to view online, and thousands if not millions being added each day. In addition, attention spans for content that isn’t engaging and concise are nonexistent. Refinery29 is too big and too successful to not have known this before this live broadcast started.

I would really love to know who at Refinery29 decided to create a 30-minute reveal, and what the brainstorming process was that led to an unfortunate decision.

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