Advertising Production Club of New York Annual Holiday Bash 2016 Highlights

A very special evening was had by all at the annual Advertising Production Club Holiday Bash held at the Microsoft Technology Center in Time Square on Monday evening, December 19th. MEI’s East Coast executives Deena Guagliardi and Carolyn Brown Okay attended the event.

The Graphic Communications Scholarship and Career Advancement Foundation (GCSF) in collaboration with IdeaAlliance, the Advertising Production Club of New York, the Art Directors Club, the One Club, the Navigators and the Printing Industries provides scholarships and financial aid to New York City metro area students interested in pursuing careers in graphic communications. Students receive money for college, mentoring support, internships and other work/study opportunities.

Last year the group raised a record $160,500 which was awarded to 41 New York City metro area students pursuing careers in graphic design, production and publishing. The Advertising Production Club of New York (APCNY) raised almost $100,000 with the IDEAlliance, Printing Industries Alliance and The Navigators raising the rest.

Attendees were asked to bring a gift for a child in need for Harlem Children’s Zone. Raffle tickets were sold and winners were presented by GCSF Diane Romano and President Jerry Mandelbaum. Several of the mentees were on hand to help with the raffle, take pictures and mingle with the group.

Jessie Ann Murphy, a recipient and co-liaison Student Mentor for GCSF Scholarship foundation who attended with her mother, raved about the incredible support and opportunities provided by the Foundation. Jessie stated that without this support, she would likely still be in school and paying off large student loans like many of her friends. Jessie has held several internship positions and other work opportunities. She is currently working as an advertising designer and provides graphic design, branding, print collateral and logo development services to a variety of clients.

The Advertising Production Club of New York City (APC-NYC) is a community of production professionals in traditional, digital and emerging media. The APC provides educational programs and networking opportunities designed to keep members informed about new technologies, best practices and industry trends. Proceeds from this year’s event will help fund the GCSF Graphic Communication/Art Students scholarships with every single dollar of profit goes directly to talented students interested in pursuing careers in Graphic Arts and/or Media Production.

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Photo: Courtesy of Metro Graphics Reporter
Pictured: Mentees and mentors from left: Jack Kott, Valerie Buonaiuto, David Luke, Lea Orsini, Allyson Gonzalez, Emilia Dabrowska, Roxana Santana, Nick Patrissi, Jessie Ann Murphy, and Jesse Mandelbaum.

Top photo by Cherise Coleman

Why Every College Needs a Mobile Strategy in 2017

Every year since 2010, college enrollment numbers have been dropping, and schools are struggling to attract incoming students from an ever dwindling pool of prospective applicants.

Studies have found that tech and social savvy universities see higher student engagement. By grabbing students’ attention in high school with personalized communications and then augmenting college classroom learning with mobile apps and social media, schools see much higher student interaction and enrollment. In fact, 93% of prospective applicants said they want to receive customized admissions information from colleges and the majority of students prefer classes that use digital technology.

Download the infographic to learn why every college should have a mobile applications strategy in 2017 and the 3 keys to success!

TruEdit 2.2 Content Creation Platform Brings New User Experience with Drag-and-drop and More!

The just-released TruEdit 2.2 update brings one of your most requested features to the web client: drag and drop. Now, simply drag a job to a new location, and you’ll be asked whether you want to move or duplicate it.  See how easy it is in these super short videos:

Moving Job in TruEdit 2.2

Duplicating Job in TruEdit 2.2

But that’s not all. Here are the additional features you’ll find to make your team more productive:

Improved duplicating in the web client – When you duplicate a job that has children associated with it, you’ll be asked if you want to duplicate just the selected job or the job with its children. And when you duplicate a TruAuthor document, you’ll be asked if you want to duplicate and re-link the children. Linked jobs that aren’t children will retain their original linkage.

Flexible TruAuthor profile configuration – We’ve made file configuration more flexible for your customized workflows. Now, all fields except Name, Type, and Component Type can be edited for default profiles. Default profiles aren’t automatically added to the hierarchy. Also, you can move or delete the TruAuthor Document Profile at the root level in your hierarchy.

Add assets to your TruAuthor text components – Similar to an Image component, you’ll see a plus sign at the top right corner of your text component. Click it to display your Manage Asset dialog so you can select from an already managed job or bring one in from your computer.

Improvements to managing background images – Background Images are now managed like any other component in TruAuthor via Manage Asset, and they’ll be visible in the Page Resource list. The following attributes have been condensed into a new dialog: Asset, Position, Size, Repeat, and Attachment.

And more – If you close your TruAuthor tab without checking in, you can now re-open the layout from the web client. We’ve also added the ability to see previews of your components and rename the filename when saving or checking in new jobs.

We’ve designed TruEdit based on the four pillars of efficient multi-channel publishing, and we continue to enhance it to ensure that it enables you to create, collaborate, and deliver your content as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

Give the new features a spin and let us know what you think.

Folio:Show NYC 2016 Recap

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Linda Bruce greets Folio Show attendees at the MEI booth

 

Last week, MEI attended the annual Folio Show in New York City and our booth was buzzing! The show marked the celebration of the top 100 most forward-thinking and innovate leaders in Magazine Media for 2016 across categories of C-Level visionaries, Director-Level doers, Corporate Catalysts, Industry Influencers, and Up-And-Coming Trail blazers. Congratulations to all with a special shout-out to our clients Athlon Media, Conde Nast, Northstar Travel Media Group, National Geographic, AARP, Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Texas Monthly, and ESPN The Magazine!

The keynote breakfast was about succeeding in the year ahead with esteemed panelists from Wasserstein & Co., Good Housekeeping, and IDG Communications and had three key take-aways:
1. In the last 10 years business has shifted and become more complex while at the core, publishers are still creating content that is engaging across all platforms.
2. The question has become how quality content is reaching the individual in today’s media and how a focus solely on print will not sustain the shifting market.
3. What’s up and coming — video, social and ad display

Pro tip: Successful technology vendors focus on an intuitive user experience and client service. But the product chosen by the client is only as good as the people who are implementing the solution. 

Attendees came looking for resolution to challenges ranging from systems integration, print vs. digital, brand management across product lines, and content velocity to juggling priorities and how to fit it all in working 9-5. Hearing discussions about current collaboration trends, email hacking, machine learning, personalization and artificial intelligence, to name a few, and the impact they may have to the future in the media industry makes me wonder if email may disappear and no longer be a central part of our business communications?Technological innovations in digital experience management, workflow collaboration and mobile application development are rapidly changing the face of the media landscape. Farewell to Folio Show until next year!

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The InDesign Conference in D.C. provides insight into the creative, collaborative process

I’ve just returned from The InDesign Conference 2016, a chance for 450 InDesign users to learn anything and everything about InDesign, collaboration, workflow, automation and great design.

This is a conference I look forward to each year as a chance to talk to users and learn how they use InDesign and what challenges they face in doing it. The topics ranged from Ben Schott’s keynote about how he approaches the design of his books, which are quite unique and aesthetically engaging, and beginner sessions like Chad Chelius’ Introduction to InCopy to advanced subjects like using GREP to supercharge your workflow and troubleshooting corrupt InDesign documents. It was also a chance to interact with the Adobe InDesign product team to learn more about what they’re doing to extend and advance the product.

Hosted outside of Washington, DC, the conference had speakers and attendees from around the globe including creatives working across the spectrum of industries (government, corporate, non-profit, association, agency and education), yet the desire to be more efficient was universal. As the head of MEI’s product management group, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to learn more about how people use InDesign and which features they love and the ones they could do without. It was clear from conversations that the most challenging aspect is interacting with non-InDesign users which are feeders into and reviews of the work the InDesign user is doing. This kind of feedback is what drives MEI’s product development allowing us to focus on the most important features for TruEdit.

While this was a conference about InDesign, topics like “Make your Layouts Come Alive with Interactivity…” and a full-day tutorial on Digital Publishing options led by Keith Gilbert clearly show an increasing focus on publishing beyond print that has been a focus of the Creative Publishing Network’s other conference, Pepcon.

I return back to MEI HQ reinvigorated with some great ideas to help improve the publishing process for InDesign users and looking forward to the CPN conferences, in May 2017. Will I see you there?

Brand2Global and Pennsylvania Marketing Summit Recaps

This month we hit two amazing marketing summits, one on each coast. Here are our Coast-to-Coast top takeaways!

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Pennsylvania Marketing Summit Recap
MEI attended the Pennsylvania Marketing Summit last week at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia. It was a gorgeous summer day with a standing room only crowd that had come together to discuss the state of content marketing, ecommerce, optimizing customer experience, going beyond branding, social media impact, and building a successful client/agency relationship. Some world renowned digital brand leaders were there from Rita’s Italian Ice, Hershey’s, and Visit Pennsylvania. The who’s who list of panelists shared their various experiences managing some of Pennsylvania’s top brands. Here are the top ten key takeaways from the day:

1. Philadelphia has all the benefits of NYC without the disadvantages: “grit and sass unique to Philadelphia” said Paula Butler (@PaulaButler) of Visit Philadelphia (@visitphilly)

2. If you include Princeton, there are more students in Philadelphia than Boston which lends an important vibrancy to the city.

3. It is essential to provide care and feeding of to your company, products and services “Brand Soul.” Rita’s Italian Ice (@RitasItalianIce) expresses their brand soul as “happiness.”

4. Ruthless transparency is required to reach Millennials who value the experiential above all and they want to be part of the conversation. Converse with, do not talk at your customers.

5. Content needs to address the unique needs of clients through personalized, contextual engagement that is right time, right place. Be where your customers are, do not expect them to find you elsewhere.

6. Case studies help put company products in perspective and help prospective clients have that “aha” moment that this will work for them since they identify with the profiled client.

7. Want to improve your social media IQ? “Think and act like a publisher!”

8. Brand experience needs to be holistic “from the inside-out,” so use “social listening tools” to not only monitor competitors, but speak with your “C” suite to help them understand the analytics, customer experience, and markets.

9. Personalization increases purchases by 40% according to Forbes research. Your personalization strategy for your content must be to make it valuable, consistent and relevant for your brand to be effective.

10. Best Reference: Content Marketing Periodical Table

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b2g_logo_300hBrand2Global Marketing Summit Recap
In late September, we hit the West Coast Brand2Global Marketing Summit Silicon Valley in Menlo Park, California, right on Sand Hill Road where all the venture funding decisions take place. We explored the future of marketing and product launches with personalized robots to aide computer human interfaces, artificial intelligence making 1:1 branded digital experiences possible, and how software bots will extend our favorite apps beyond our wildest dreams. The most dynamic speaker was Nim De Swardt (@NimBow), Global Millennials Manager for Bacardi Limited (@Bacardi) , who focused on how to “win from within.” She described how the company is reshaping everything in their culture to realign with the future of their brand: Millennials. Bacardi even has quarterly global summits to bring together all the senior management and the Millennial Managers within the company to shape brand strategy across mobile, social, events, and retail experience.

Her favorite quote she shared from PWC: “Successful business leaders must shape their organizations to be more nimble and flexible, less hierarchical, and more networked — in short, better organized to deliver value. The focus should be on four key emerging business revolutions: agility, authenticity, talent, and sustainability.”

Full of energy and straight from her home island of Bermuda, De Swardt arrived at the conference in her workout gear since her topic was 4 Work-outs for your brand! So be authentic, be where your customers are, be customer obsessed, and your passion will drive your brand.

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LAB-AIDS has Educational Publishing Down to a Science

K–12 science publisher dramatically reduces time-to-market with cloud-based collaboration and workflow solution

Founded in 1963 by a science teacher from Long Island, N.Y., LAB-AIDS is a K–12 educational publisher dedicated to hands-on learning in science classrooms. The company enriches the science classroom experience by providing educators with the materials and equipment they need to execute science experiments with their students.

By partnering with the UC Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science and other scientists and teachers, LAB-AIDS produces course materials in agriculture, biology, chemistry, earth science/geology, environmental science, and physics. As its business has grown to encompass the complete science curricula it offers today, LAB-AIDS has become a leader in inquiry-based learning for middle and high schools across America.

Lab Aids Books

Project teams comprised of subject experts from around the country collaborate to create innovative LAB-AIDS course curricula, such as the popular Science and Sustainability series.

Challenges

Like many K–12 publishers, LAB-AIDS produces graphically rich textbooks that undergo a long and complex editing process. Each textbook project is comprised of team members working in various locations—including science professors and teachers who author the content, an overseer, a content manager, project managers, and designers— who work together on a single textbook.

The textbooks undergo extensive changes, both in Microsoft Word and after content is flowed into the Adobe InDesign layout. With up to four books in various stages of production at any given time and a manual, paper-based workflow for job trafficking and coordinating revisions, the LAB-AIDS publishing staff had a challenging job.

Denis Baker

“We would develop the content, send the document to the next reviewer, and that person would work on it and print it and send it back,” says Denis Baker, Vice President of Product Management and Marketing for LAB-AIDS. This print-mail-edit cycle would repeat for each unit of the book until all revisions were approved. “We burned up a lot of time having the printed documents in transit,” says Baker, “and we were always wondering where things were. It was a bit of a mess.”

The entire process took up to nine months for a single textbook. Any delay could be costly, particularly if it meant missing the opportunity to be considered for new course curriculum materials in a large school district. “It wasn’t a sustainable model, for our business or for our customers,” says Baker.

The Solution

LAB-AIDS began looking for an automated solution to help streamline its content development and production processes and get its books to market faster. The company preferred a cloud-based solution, both to make fewer demands on its small IT staff and to give its distributed content teams 24/7 access to the in-progress textbooks. The system had to be easy to use, with a short learning curve to enhance productivity, and it had to provide the publishing staff with the flexibility to design their own workflows. It also had to integrate with the desktop tools the staff and contributors were already using to author and produce their books and course materials.

“We had about 12-15 technology solutions on our big list, and then we got it down to three finalists,” says Baker. Price mattered to LAB-AIDS, but they also needed a system that would allow staff to become proficient without taking up a lot of time.

The company ultimately chose MEI’s TruEdit. “Sixteen months in,” Baker admits, “and I can’t even remember our second and third place finalists.” Now, instead of routing paper documents and proofs via FedEx, editors and authors can collaborate online, and they can track their assignments, and see a document’s status from anywhere they are. Authors can still work in their preferred program, Word, and then changes from Word are fed into InDesign.

MEI also customized TruEdit to enable LAB-AIDS authors and editors to apply curriculum standards throughout a manuscript and carry those through to final pages. “The customizations were handled well,” says Baker. “Our staff is detail-oriented, and they’re very satisfied with how standards-tracking was implemented.”

Baker says the rollout of the TruEdit system went smoothly. “MEI trained our staff using real content and created a workflow that fit our requirements,” he says. “Between that training and their tutorial video library, we have everything we need.”

The Results

The LAB-AIDS team has had great success with TruEdit. “The system has allowed us to decrease downtime and increase our focus on content-related tasks,” says Baker. “We can now have more balls in the air, create with better quality, and work faster.” He reports 30 to 40% productivity gains so far, with an expected increase to 50% over the next two years.

Baker also reports that, in just over a year, TruEdit has enabled LAB-AIDS to triple the number of custom curricula it can produce to bid on specific state adoptions. And where the team used to refresh the copyright on each title every six to seven years, with TruEdit they can now ramp up their timelines and refresh about every four years.

TruEdit has helped strengthen the company’s financial position. “It has saved us time, which is always money, and it has shortened our development window, which is also money,” he says. “From a productivity perspective, we’re making more money by limiting expenses. And the better we get at it, the more nimble we’ll become, and we’ll be able to compete even more effectively.”

Summary

LAB-AIDS exemplifies MEI’s approach to customer success: Utilize a flexible and affordable content workflow platform that integrates with existing desktop editing and layout tools, tailor it to the customer’s unique requirements, and then train the customer to be self-sufficient in growing and adapting their use of the system over time. LAB-AIDS began achieving ROI on their TruEdit investment within six months during the first textbook cycle, and benefits continue to accrue every day for the entire content development team.

 

MEI Releases New Versions of Page Director ALS, AdForce and ALS for Magazines

ALS 5.8.1 Runs on OSX El Capitan for improved performance

Managing Editor Inc. (MEI), a leading provider of software solutions for the publishing industry, has announced new releases of Page Director Ad Layout System (ALS), AdForce®, and ALS for Magazines. These upgrades for MEI’s popular page-planning tools run on Apple OSX El Capitan, which provides under the hood performance improvements, a robust user experience and faster search responses. Additionally, this new release introduces a simple license key model for easy access to the ALS and AdForce software.

Page Director ALS is an easy-to-use automated ad layout solution for larger publications and is used at more publications worldwide than any other solution of its kind. ALS lets users manage and control issue planning for any publication and then automatically flows ads into place.

AdForce is a cost-effective, easy-to-use advertising layout and issue-management system for small to mid-size publications. Users quickly build ad pages using drag-and-drop or semi-automated flow tools; finished sections can be opened in QuarkXPress or InDesign.

ALS for Magazines, an automated ad layout solution built specifically for magazines, allows users to create fully paginated, accurate and functional ad dummies that can be opened in QuarkXPress or InDesign. ALS for Magazines facilitates electronic issue-planning and ad-mapping, eliminating manual processes and allowing for automatic integration of digital advertising to editorial pages.

ALS 5.8.1, AdForce 5.8.1 and ALS For Magazines 5.8.1 are available now. Upgrades are available for customers in MEI’s ALS or AdForce Premium Site Support Agreement program. For customers not in the PSSA program or for ALS and AdForce upgrade information, details and pricing are available from MEI Sales at 215-886-5662 or one of our authorized MEI ALS and AdForce distributors.

Current customers can request an upgrade here.

Approval Management – Time saving new feature in vjoon K4 version 7

I’ve been working as part of a creative team in one way or another for the past 20+ years and every project I’ve ever worked on includes a review and approval process. This is an often overlooked aspect when estimating the length of time it takes to complete a project.

Whether your content team creates magazines, brochures or marketing materials, reviews and approvals are a significant part of every creative project. Designers are sometimes asked, “How long will it take you to lay out that entire article?” Many times, a designer will hesitate to answer — it’s not because they don’t know how long it will take to create the page. The hesitation likely has to do with the fact that there is no way to know how long the review and approval process will take.

The new version of vjoon K4 has a new feature that’s aimed at the agony of review and approval process — its called Approval Management.

The K4 Approval Manager provides an interface for team members and managers to grant approvals or make quick edits in order to keep the project moving swiftly. They can communicate a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” with a simple click so the creative team can quickly focus on the areas that need attention and push through to publish.

Another feature in the new release to save time is template elements. To keep a brand consistent, designers know that templates are your best friend. With the template elements, you can be sure to match your corporate style guide by simply launching a workflow with a stored template and recurring objects are retained. This lightens your workload and saves time.

To learn more about K4 Approval Manager,  read the press release on vjoon.com.

MEI and Twixl media tour USA with mobile publishing solutions

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After stops in NYC and Philly, the Twixl U.S. road show rolled into Washington DC yesterday for a full day seminar co-sponsored by MEI and Bates Creative.

Held at the Mathematical Association of America’s Carriage House, the event attracted a diverse audience representing nonprofits, commercial publishers and corporate marketers.

Bates Creative President and CEO Debbie Bates-Schrott opened the event with an inspirational look at the role of apps within a digital marketing strategy. Debbie stated that 42% of US adults reported having read one or more digital magazines in the last 30 days, sourced from the 2016 Mequoda American Magazine Reader Study.

Luk Dhondt, Product Manager at Twixl Media, delivered a tour of Twixl Publisher that highlighted its ease of use and flexibility in handling both issue-based and collection-based apps. After the walk-through, Dhondt summed it up succinctly: “Why Twixl?” Dhondt asked the audience. “Quite simply, it is the value—the combination of ease of workflow, features, and price.”

Case Studies

anastasia-khooAnastasia Khoo, the Chief Marketing Officer of the Human Rights Campaign, described the role Equality magazine plays at HRC and their recent transition from two distinct DPS apps (one tablet, one phone) to a universal app under Twixl. “Our members love the print magazine,” said Khoo, “but our wider audience of millions of supporters skews heavily toward digital and mobile in particular.

Equality magazine digital

Our time savings working with MEI in migrating to single-source HTML and the Twixl platform provided a solid ROI.” Co-presenter Will Steuber, MEI’s Creative Director, gave a behind-the-scenes look at how the responsive content is prepared in MEI’s TruAuthor product and fed into Twixl Publisher for a universal app for both phones and tablets.

debbie-batesBates-Schrott followed with a tour of an upcoming app being planned by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Bates Creative created a sample issue in Twixl Publisher that is helping NAHB envision not only how the magazine will look in the app but also what other communications the association may want to deliver through that same app.

Mark Walter, Senior Director of Business Development at MEI, invited the audience to consider use cases for entitlement within Twixl-produced apps. According to Walter, member organizations often overlook the potential for delivering private content within a public app: “As humans we are naturally curious, and drawn to discover what is hidden,” said Walter. “With the sign-in feature [of Twixl] (aka entitlement), you can reward members by unlocking special content—be that videos, articles, e-books or event materials—that are hidden from the general public. In this way you reinforce the positive image members already have for your brand.”

After lunch the focus shifted to tactics and tools for managing the content development process. Bates-Schrott led the group through an exercise in imagining the browse pages that serve as the opening navigation in an HTML-based app.

Linda Bruce, MEI enterprise strategy executive, outlined the key pillars for tools to manage your content development processes. “Through its flexible handling of object types, metadata, content hierarchy and workflow, the right tool can help your team optimize how you prepare content for an omnichannel world,” said Bruce.

brett-kiznerBrett Kizner, MEI’s Senior Director of Product Management, followed Bruce with a live demo of MEI’s TruEdit platform being used to create content for a Twixl app and companion print piece. Kizner’s product tour highlighted the ease with which TruEdit can be tailored to optimize content development for different kinds of communications within the context of graphic service teams, marketing / communications departments, and traditional publishers.

For those new to publishing content-centric apps, multiple speakers emphasized the need to develop a plan for keeping content fresh so that readers have a reason to regularly open and consume content from your brand. Many people focus on the launch, without enough consideration for what happens post-launch. “It’s important to treat the launch as your starting point, not the end point,” noted Kizner.