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Real-time Marketing


The event and matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup created amazing opportunities and moments for brands to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and to have fun. Individuals and crowds across the globe, even in outer space, were transfixed to the events, games, athletes and advertising.

During events such as the World Cup, companies and organizations often turn their attention inward to focus on their brands’ individual attributes, unique selling propositions or key differentiators. However. there are amazing opportunities—like the World Cup—for us to realize that, instead of being in a vacuum with no concern about current events, pop culture or news, brands can easily tap into moments that millions of people are connecting with in their daily lives, and that lie outside of their typical interaction with many of these brands.

Whether Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest or other social networking websites, social media created global content conversations for fans, brands and the athletes during the widely watched World Cup. This infographic reveals some of the impact.

Real-time marketing, which connects brand content to events happening in real-time (Oreo's Daily Twist is a great example), was one of the most powerful tools used by brands during the World Cup. This Adweek article takes readers into the ESPN social media war room for real-time marketing during the most tweeted event in sports history.

Each day presents new opportunities for brands to discover moments of truth. While those moments may not balance a global scale the size of the World Cup,  they still give your messaging entertaining and exciting ways to score with your customers.

What are some ways your brand is connecting right now?

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 28 July 2014 at 7:33pm

Fellowship & Fundraising for Newborns

A Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee hosts its annual Rock the Cradle fundraiser at Maryville College Alumni Gym on September 13, starting at 6 p.m. Musicians Laurel Wright and Smooth Groove headline the event. Proceeds from Rock the Cradle will fund education and awareness initiatives of the Safe Haven Law for women across Tennessee, informing them that an option exists for those who are pregnant and scared.

The mission of A Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee is to protect the most defenseless among us, newborn infants, by educating women and communities about safe, secret options under the Safe Haven Law. The law states that if an expectant mother is dealing with an unintended, unwanted or hidden pregnancy, the mother can safely and legally surrender her unharmed newborn of 3 days old or less to staff at any hospital, birthing center, community health clinic (health department), walk-in clinic, EMS facility, or fire or police station (staffed 24 hours) in Tennessee.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students, $10 for children 12 and under. With your ticket, enjoy dinner from Sonny’s BBQ, served 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Join in the bidding for silent auction items. Purchase tickets at Blount County Chamber of Commerce, The Daily Times and Sonny’s BBQ. For more information, call 254-2208.

Sponsors for Rock the Cradle are Blount Memorial Hospital, Campbell Tent & Party Rentals, GoTeez Clothing Company, WBIR-TV, B97.5, Sonny's BBQ, A Secret Safe Place for Newborns, Designsensory, Printedge, The Daily Times and Home Federal Bank.

Leading up to Rock the Cradle is another Secret Safe Place fundraising event, Links for Life, a golf tournament at Egwani Farms Golf Course on August 29 at 8:30 a.m. All golfers are encouraged to join in the fun. For more Links for Life information, call 865-254-2208 or visit the website event page of Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee.

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 28 July 2014 at 7:27pm

Money Talks on Social Media

With more branches than any other credit union in the area, ORNL Federal Credit Union is a well-known presence in East Tennessee. When ORNL FCU wanted to refine its social media presence, it called on Designsensory to take on the task.

ORNL FCU seeks to educate its members through smart money practices and plays an important role in bettering East Tennessee. By communicating these messages through social media, the credit union can get its message out to a broader audience.

Designsensory worked with ORNL FCU to develop a strategic timeline for messaging to keep constant engagement, create one voice for all social messaging, and increase brand awareness through a refined social media presence. ORNL FCU is also heavily involved in supporting nonprofit organizations and giving back to the community. By communicating these efforts through social, ORNL FCU is equipped to encourage its members to join them and make a positive impact on the community.

By integrating its “Borrow Smart, Save Smarter” philosophy and its community involvement into social conversations, ORNL FCU is better able to educate members about smart money practices and creating a better place to live. In turn, members will recognize the strength, stance and mentoring initiative of the credit union, and will become ambassadors for the brand.

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 28 July 2014 at 7:24pm

Tennessee Governor Haslam's New Website


Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s campaign team returned to Designsensory for help creating a new site for his re-election campaign. The site uses bold colors and a crisp, clean design to showcase achievements and invite others to support the campaign.

Current news and the Governor’s Facebook and Twitter feeds are prominently featured on the main page, with a backdrop of state images. The Accomplishments section uses a simple grid of tiles to lay out the topics for Haslam’s accomplishments, with images that take the user on a trip across the state. 

Additional features allow the user to sign up for different volunteer options, request information, order campaign items or make donations.

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 28 June 2014 at 10:45am

The Legacy Centre Sponsors Leadercast


It's a spring awakening of mammoth proportions, when Leadercast, a business leadership development and networking event, is simulcast live to hundreds of locations around the world. Cindy and Ed Seaver, founders of the Legacy Centre for Family Business & Entrepreneurship, plan and dedicate countless hours and resources to annually host the Knoxville area's day-long Leadercast program.

During the 2014 Leadercast, we learned about "Beyond You" leaders, who fearlessly empower current and potential leaders around them. Tenets with backbone were key takeaways, such as Andy Stanley's advice: "The value of a life is measured in terms of how much of it was given away" and "Learn to expand your celebration of generosity and selflessness." The resounding question is and should be, how can I help others?

During a session, it was stated, "As your organizational authority increases, your organizational IQ decreases," meaning, that those with authority exercise wisdom by hiring employees with competencies that lie outside the expertise of those with authority. 

When you attend Leadercast, you might expect to hear legions of business leaders regaling you with success stories. It's quite the contrary. The sessions prove to be an inspiration to attendees. The "I" is left behind, and the "You" is accented. 

Dr. Henry Cloud remarked, "We understand people when they understand that you understand," meaning, having a trustworthy connection with people will build more and more trust. Archbishop Desmond Tutu reminded us of something on which true leaders should reflect: "I am a person because of other persons. We are all in the world together. Being a leader doesn't prove us better. It means we are where we are because of other people, and for other people." Archbishop Tutu mandated that "Good leaders listen and are accountable. They truly lead and know when to retire." 

The overarching theme of Leadercast 2014 was this: Go beyond you. Focus on the needs of others.

The Legacy Centre provides educational programs, professional resources and peer networks for family-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Designsensory is a sponsor of The Legacy Centre's Leadercast event.

The excitement is far from over at the end of Leadercast 2014. From the Leadercast stage, Cindy Seaver revealed that The Legacy Centre has launched its signature event for entrepreneurs, EntreVision, and premiered its new logo, created by partnering with Designsensory.

Cindy challenged Leadercast attendees, "We encourage you with a new idea for a business, for-profit or nonprofit! Tell your friends and colleagues. If your idea stands out, you will have the opportunity to connect with some of greater Knoxville's best entrepreneurial minds. We are giving away an awesome awards package to the finalists in what we are calling a "business plan competition with a difference," designed to be practical, useful and life-changing. The event series will culminate with an inspiring evening in the heart of Knoxville on September 6 to spur on love and hope for the future of our city. People from all walks of life—businesses, churches, schools, etc.—are invited to join us. It's a celebration and convergence of minds to launch ideas for a better Knoxville."

Learn more about EntreVision!



Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 28 June 2014 at 8:04am

Taking a Shine to Creativity and Community


When Concept Developer Brent Thompson spoke about Sugarlands Distilling Company at the June luncheon for Knoxville American Marketing Association, he detailed the inspiration and authenticity behind the distilling company's name. Borrowed from the Sugarlands mountains-valley region in north-central Great Smoky Mountains, the name was formerly known as "Blockaders' Glory," or "Moonshiners' Paradise."

What would a luncheon about moonshine be without a tasting? Luncheon participants were able to sample all the delectable Shine flavors: Appalachian Apple Pie, Blockader's Blackberry, Butterscotch Gold, Jim Tom Hedrick's Unaged Rye, Old Fashioned Lemonade, Southern Sweet Tea and, of course, Silver Cloud. Recipe cards were available at the tasting table for such scrumptious treats as Shiny Benton's Bacon + Brown Sugar Ice Cream, Summer Moon over the Mountains, Southern Buttermilk Pie with Roasted Strawberries & Apple Pie Moonshine Glaze, and Elderflower + Moonshine Mint Sorbet. 

To give visual heft to a superb presentation, Brent displayed original images of the old Sugarlands region around the large room in the Foundry. Attendees at the Knoxville American Marketing Association (KAMA) luncheon were treated to this wealth of images, procured from Thompson Photo, en route to be showcased in the distillery.

Sugarlands Distilling Company's mantra is a perfect marriage with its delicious products and those nostalgia-evoking images: "One foot firmly planted in the past and the other in these modern times." Touting a cornerstone of the brand, Brent talked about Silver Cloud as "Prohibition-era Tennessee sour mash moonshine, made in the tradition of Southern Appalachia. The whiskey drinker's moonshine, Silver Cloud pays homage to those moonshiners with a distinctly smooth-tasting white whiskey that delivers the perfect punch." Even the name, "Silver Cloud," is a throwback to glimmering stills that shone against the sky, deep within Appalachian forests.

Sugarlands Distilling Company partners with Smoky Mountain Guides to bring full context to its moonshine experience, sending visitors on adventures to the "breathtaking wilderness of the Great Smoky Mountains." And, as firm practitioners of giving back to the community, the distillery is a proud supporter of East Tennessee's WDVX and its pursuit of arts and storytelling. 

Sugarlands Distilling Company officially opened to grand fanfare on March 21 amid music, moonshine and folklore. About the opening, Brent Thompson, director of strategy for Sugarlands Distilling Co., remarked, "The grand opening is truly a celebration of everyone’s sweat equity to make this distillery come to life."

Ideally located on the Parkway in Gatlinburg, Sugarlands Distilling Co. performs the age-old craft of distilling fine Sugarlands Shine, while preserving the cultural heritage and traditions of Southern Appalachia. Situated in a barn-house constructed from the salvaged wood of four East Tennessee barns and houses, Sugarlands Distilling invites visitors to sample the Shine, go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the production, and purchase a variety of moonshine flavors, mountain merchandise and apparel.

Sugarlands encourages visitors to "rest your feet and set a spell" on the relaxed back porch. Hear pickin' by regional musicians and tall tales spun by members of the Smoky Mountains Storytellers Association.

See the Photo Album!

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 28 June 2014 at 8:03am

Designsensory Welcomes Summer 2014 Interns

Designsensory is thrilled to welcome three interns this summer. We love making educational opportunities available. As an organization, we are deeply committed to continuous learning, and growing inside and outside our walls. Our new interns are are sure to contribute to our growth: Shaun Carter is part of the tech team, while Kelsey Greer and Bryan Huddleston are lending their skills to the design team. Learn a little more about them:

Bryan Huddleston

Bryan, a Knoxville native, recently graduated with a degree in Graphic Communications from Pellissippi State Community College, where he was on the dean's list. Bryan will be working in the design department at Designsensory.

“I’m very excited to be a part of such an awesome team at DS. I’m looking forward to learning more about how to communicate in an effective and creative way through design from some really great designers. Everyone I’ve met so far at DS has been extremely warm and welcoming, making the experience here that much better.”

Bryan has also interned at AC Entertainment, where he was able to hone his problem-solving and creative skills in a fast-paced environment. He’s also designed t-shirts for Nothing Too Fancy, a retail store located in downtown Knoxville.

Whenever Bryan isn’t working, you can catch him spending time with his wife Ryan (yes, their names rhyme!), playing and listening to a variety of music, and being a hockey fanatic.

Kelsey Greer

A design nerd to the core, Kelsey Greer loves communicating collaboratively through creative design.

Kelsey is a native Knoxvillian who moved to Middle Tennessee to pursue music business. Initially, Kelsey was drawn to graphic design by the prospect of visually representing sound. Soon, she discovered that she was more interested in creating album artwork than managing the music business. From that first album cover grew a portfolio ranging from weddings to websites. Minoring in interactive design, Kelsey will graduate from Middle Tennessee State University with her B.A. in graphic design this August.

She’s excited to be back in Knoxville, interning with the  talented, fun group at Designsensory. When she’s not behind her computer, she enjoys swing dancing, singing karaoke and looking for treasure.

Shaun Carter

As part of the tech department, Shaun is also our spotlight employee this month. Click to learn more about him.

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 28 June 2014 at 7:58am

Utilize: Transmedia Storytelling

Is your brand taking advantage of the benefits of transmedia storytelling? First, let’s talk about how transmedia storytelling is different from multimedia storytelling.

In multimedia storytelling, brands use the same story (same commercial, same print ad, same creative story) with no extension. Transmedia, on the other hand, isn’t about crafting an ongoing story for all media. It’s about making sure the story connects with the right people, at the right moment.

JWT Intelligence, a group that studies cultural shifts and how they effect marketing strategies, had this to say about transmedia storytelling, “For marketers, this is an evolution of the integrated marketing model: Rather than a consistency across multiple touchpoints, the goal is for different channels to communicate different things (within the overarching strategy), with an emphasis on putting the brand community at the center.”

This video created by Draft FCB shares more about how transmedia can impact your brand.

“Consumers now have much more control over where they will focus their attention, so companies need to craft a compelling customer experience in which all interactions are expressly tailored to a customer’s stage in his or her decision journey,” according to a recent article by McKinsey & Co.

Take a look at this Getty Images infographic that shares the difference between traditional integrated campaigns and transmedia campaigns:


Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 28 June 2014 at 7:47am

Tennessee's Subregional Short Films


Integral to the redesign of, a fresh content initiative reveals the soul and sounds of Tennessee's subregions, presented via rich media and engaging content, and providing a heightened experience for potential Tennessee guests. Videos shot on location reveal experiences uniquely enjoyed in the nine Tennessee subregions: Knoxville & Middle East, Smoky Mountains, Chattanooga & Southeast, Northeast, Nashville & Surrounding, Upper Cumberland, Memphis & Surrounding, Northwest and Southwest.

Scriptwriting, preplanning and preproduction, talent acquisition and setting up scenes were common elements in the making of the videos. Among the scenes filmed in Tennessee's east region were newlyweds joyfully feasting on divine local cuisine and engaged in a wealth of activities in the Knoxville & Middle East subregional video. Area highlights include the Museum of Appalachia, Knox Mason, Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, Market Square, a University of Tennessee football game and Oak Ridge's American Museum of Science & Energy.

As one of two Middle Tennessee subregional videos, Nashville's magnetism was shown through its music mecca status, the rolling hills that go on forever and doing what you love in the fabulousness of Music City. A key emphasis was Nashville's openness to individual self-expression, and the joy and freedom found within Nashville's deep respect for individuality and creativity. The subregional video's voice-over navigates the viewer through scenes such as the Country Music Hall of Fame, Tennessee River nightlife, music concerts, edgy Southern style and culinary creations.

Quintessential blues and barbecue of West Tennessee's Memphis are woven into the larger message that Bluff City is an urban metropolis with charming attractions that speak the international language of music and food. From the Civil War to civil rights, Sun Studio to Beale Street to the Museum of Rock 'n' Soul, along fertile delta countryside to crazy-delicious ribs at Charles Vergos' Rendezvous—the Memphis subregional video captures iconic American heritage.

With the brand-new, Tennessee's travel message is even more accessible across all platforms, providing a consumer-centric, content-rich digital experience. 

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 27 May 2014 at 8:26am

Utilize: Embracing Imperfection

Following up on last month’s article about human connections, this "Utilize" writeup shares how and why imperfection elevates design and builds connections.

To embrace imperfection in your brand means to embrace humanity.  We admit we’re not perfect here at Designsensory, and we like it that way. Imperfection is, in many ways, part of our daily culture and craft. This isn’t to say that our goal is to provide an inferior solution; actually, quite the opposite. Design thinking incorporates rapid prototyping, discovering and working through many moments of imperfection along the way to move the design process forward.

Our philosophy of human-centered design also underscores the value of a brand in context with people—in their lives, however chaotic or sublime, experienced among all their senses. We believe embracing imperfection moves discussion from simply the brand as an objet d'art to the brand within each customer’s journey, each customer's life and, most importantly, the brand positioning within each customer's mind.

Embracing imperfection can move beyond the process of design to the design itself. Hand lettering and illustration is an art form now embraced by major brands and one that we utilize within some of our most compelling and connective visual design solutions. We realize that certain businesses can incorporate this with success, but it’s not for everyone.

Jon Contino, self-proclaimed Alphastructaesthetitologist, is a leading artist within the genre of hand lettering and has provided design for Nike, Ford and Jack Daniel's. We’ve had the good fortune to work with him on and our new, upcoming television show for the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. Here’s a video spotlighting his interest and growth in design and hand lettering.

In a recent issue of Creative Characters magazine, designer Charles Borges shares, “Today, hand lettering is starting to see a revival. More people are interested in it than ever before. A font is always a font, and everyone can buy it. When it is used in a caption or a logo, someone else’s design could have the same letters, but hand lettering is all unique, custom design. That is why companies that value hand lettering still insist on it as opposed to using a font.”

This video from PSFK shares how one group of anonymous artists creates its inspirational hand-lettered chalk art.

One of JWT Intelligence's top trends for 2014 is imperfection. According to its report, imperfection is taking on new appeal in a world that’s become neatly polished and curated. We couldn’t agree more. 

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 27 May 2014 at 7:45am


Alison Ashe

Alison Ashe

Alison solves visual communication problems through a process of research, concept exploration, and original thinking.

Matt Honkonen

Matt Honkonen

Matt came to Knoxville from Chattanooga, where he worked as the senior strategist with the marketing and public relations department of a large digital agency. He has worked with a wide variety of brands, helping to solidify digital presence and develop a

Sarah Loebner

Sarah Loebner

Sarah worked for agencies in Ohio and Boston before coming to Knoxville seven years ago and burnishing her reputation as an innovative designer and fresh thinker. While inspiring design is her form of communication her passion lies in client partnerships,

Josh Loebner

Josh Loebner

Josh combines research and strategic thinking as the foundation for powerful, goal-oriented marketing experiences.

Lindsay Miller

Lindsay Miller

Lindsay is dedicated to the unrelenting pursuit of delivering unique, effective media solutions that bring a company's message to life.

Joseph Nother

Joseph Nother

As co-founder and creative director for Designsensory, Joseph oversees teams that deliver award-winning and compelling design.

Brandon Rochelle

Brandon Rochelle

Brandon, co-founder and technical director, oversees technology development spanning interactive work through online marketing.

Susan Sewell

Susan Sewell

Susan brings a background as a writer, senior editor, promotion specialist and project manager.

Ben Smith

Ben Smith

Ben is a designer, illustrator, cook, banjo player, guitarist, cyclist, rock climber and backpacker, who also happens to be exceptionally humble.  As a former intern (Bentern), who joined the team full-time (Benployee) in June 2013 after earning a B.F.A

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