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- Cross-posted on RexBlog.com
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Today is a bittersweet day for Hammockites, as we bid a happy retirement to Bill Hudgins, a brilliant writer and editor and equally brilliant friend. After graduating from Columbia University in 1972 (get him to tell you a story about NYC in those days!), he honed his ability to file tight, smart stories on deadline at newspapers such as the Birmingham (Ala.) Post-Herald, Cleveland (Tenn.) Daily Banner and Nashville Banner. His next career turn was into public relations when Rex Hammock recruited him to join Buntin Public Relations, then a start-up subsidiary of the Buntin Group, a regional advertising and marketing firm.
Ninety-seven years ago, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, “The War to End All Wars” came to a halt as the Allied powers and Germany declared an armistice—a break in the fighting. From 1919 to 1953, that day was celebrated as Armistice Day. In 1954, following the horrors of another World War and the bitter truce in Korea, Congress voted to change the name to Veterans Day to honor all who had served—and would serve—in our nation’s Armed Services.
This month marks the beginning of Hammock Inc.’s 25th year as a marketing services company focused exclusively on what is now called “content marketing.” During the last 25 years, we’ve been able to work with many great clients in developing all forms of print and digital media used to build long-lasting relationships with their customers.
One important thing we’ve learned during the past quarter-century is that unlike traditional advertising, customer media and content can play an important role throughout the relationship between marketer and customer. To explain what we mean, we’ve published the Hammock Idea eBook, Content Along the Customer Journey. You can download it below.
We assume since you are reading this on the internet , that you know what the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is. So you won’t be surprised that Hammock’s John Lavey (video #1) challenged Rex Hammock (video #2) and that they both got cold and wet for a good cause.
We’ll hear “The Star-Spangled Banner” played a number of times over the next few days, and no doubt, we’ll think of fireworks when we hear “the rockets’ red glare/the bombs bursting in air.”
But, as we explain in the July/August issue of American Spirit, which Hammock publishes with the Daughters of the American Revolution, the rockets that Francis Scott Key immortalized weren’t playthings. They were a British system of military rocketry that largely failed to carry out its mission against Fort McHenry, the fort that defended Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812.
Designed by the English inventor Sir William Congreve and modeled on rockets used against the British in India by Indian troops, the rockets that flew over Fort McHenry weighed about 32 pounds and had two major deficiencies—they were unreliable, inaccurate and also tended to explode prematurely.
The rockets fired on September 13, 1814, were launched from the British ship Erebus, and ultimately did little physical damage, though the screaming, wildly gyrating rockets terrified American defenders.
Congreve’s rockets consisted of an iron tube packed with propellant and a conical warhead, with three interchangeable payloads including incendiary devices, explosives and case shot—anti-personnel devices that exploded and sprayed iron balls in a lethal cloud. They ranged in size from 3 to about 32 pounds, and could be fired from ships as well as by troops on the ground.
Wow. Hammock has been featured as a case study by the email marketing powerhouse Emma. (I know they’re a powerhouse because I hear their underwriting message on NPR wherever I travel.)
But first, I’ll confess. I’ve been a fan of the email marketing firm Emma since before they were an email marketing company. Indeed, the two founders of Emma are members of the Hammock Inc. and SmallBusiness.com alumni club. (Note to self: start a Hammock Inc. and SmallBusiness.com Alumni Club.)
(On Rex Hammock’s RexBlog, a look at how we have developed the site SmallBusiness.com, and how we are using its lessons for other clients.)
We just flipped the switch on SmallBusiness.com’s first major technical and design upgrade since launching its daily-content Main Page section last November. (We call the new section, the “flow” side, to balance with the “know” side of the site, the 29,000 page SmallBusiness.com WIKI.)
The design changes are various, depending on what size screen you’re viewing it. However, the technical changes are all about increasing the speed of the site. And they worked. So long, little engine that could, but we know there are plenty of bugs that will show up.
(Continue reading on RexBlog.com)
Hammock Inc.’s eponymous head-helper, Rex Hammock, is among the 12 “media and publishing” Nashvillians included in the 450 top business, political and civic leaders honored in the Nashville Post’s 5th annual “In Charge” list. This is the second consecutive year the list has included Rex, the eponymous.
The Post post notes that Rex was “a trailblazer in blogging (he was the first person to blog a meeting with a president, in 2004) and social media (his Twitter handle is @R)” – which gives you an idea of how closely he follows developments in social and other kinds of media.
Rex founded Hammock in 1991 as a specialized marketing services company creating media that companies and organizations use to communicate directly with their customers or members. He also helped to found the national trade association, the Custom Content Council, of which Hammock Inc. is a founding member.
(And if you’re wondering what that photo is all about, it accompanied a story on the Google Enterprise blog when we were an early-adopter of Google Apps for Business.)
Until last week, our new downtown Nashville offices* had been missing something vital: signage featuring the Hammock “H” logo. It was easy to figure out where to hang such a sign—our reception area is right off the elevators–but figuring out how to create it was a tougher decision. Our first choice was to commission a Nashville artisan whose hand-crafted signage was gaining regional appeal. Unfortunately, while we were talking with him, he went from up-and-coming to 100 percent “up,” and his backlog of work meant we’d go for months before getting on his schedule.
We decided then to go the maker route. Having abundant in-house design capabilities, our challenge was to find an artisan with laser-guided saw capabilities and the experience to transform our design files into wood signage. When we discovered such a company that also has mastered the type of post-advertising marketing skills we admire, there was little doubt we’d enjoy working with Oakland, Calif.-based Tinkering Monkey studios.