Is Your Brand Beautiful?


A beautiful website and online presence is vital for any business, and it’s especially important if you’re trying to launch a new brand or jumpstart one that’s been underperforming. Yet most businesses underestimate the importance of presenting their ideas and organizations in the best possible light. After all, they reason, our product is amazing- shouldn’t that be enough? In a word, no.

Your industry and product type don’t matter- even scientists need to work to make their ideas beautiful. As Robert March says Continue reading

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A Few Thoughts On Design


I spent a week traveling, and airline scheduling being what it is these days, I spent a fair amount of that time in various American Airlines Admiral’s Clubs inside airports. I love these special, members-only clubs because each visit gives me a chance to see what each club thinks will make its members happy and relaxed. Last week, the Dallas, Texas Admiral’s Club won my award for “coolest airport lounge, ever”.

As the leader of our eponymous company I’m fascinated with design that looks great and works great. If you have something that’s ugly but works, you’re missing out on the potential joy and happiness your users should associate with your brand. Even if you have something special to offer, a functional but ugly website will make your users run away thinking you’re low-end and tacky. Or a fly-by-night company. If you have something pretty that doesn’t do anything, that’s just as bad.

Great design is practical and beautiful. And rare. That’s why Continue reading

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Social Media Marketing Works


We embarked on a social media marketing campaign for one of our mid-sized corporate clients three months ago. It has been an unqualified success, beyond what the client had dared to hope. They’ve enjoyed an over 150% increase in traffic to their website, and by analyzing their logfiles we see a direct correlation of their spikes in traffic with our efforts.

This is only phase one, mind you- a small pilot program. But this pilot program has been successful enough that the client is now getting ready to make our program a regular part of their digital marketing mix.

A lot of people contact us after they’ve read an article in the Wall Street Journal or USA Today, wanting to discuss social media, Web 2.0, and how it can help their business. We’re always happy to talk with potential clients, but we’ve found there are a few things a prospective client needs Continue reading

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Now Available In Different Sizes


Last week, a potential client and I were having  discussion about their company’s digital marketing needs. The company’s a small organization, and one of their concerns was that my company may be too large for their needs. This potential client was worried that we only work with large accounts.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

After all, we are a boutique digital agency, and one of the beauties of being a boutique is you get to decide who to work with, and you get to work in a much more hands-on manner than the bigger, slower, assembly line shops. A diverse client base is a big part of our continued success, and I make a point with our team that we must nurture all of our clients, no matter the size. You see, like any successful digital agency we’ve had months where our smaller accounts have saved the day for us. We’ve also watched a number of smaller accounts “grow up” into quite large, multinational corporations (I like to think their growth was helped along by our involvement with them in the early days). Continue reading

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Los Angeles Station Fire Picture


All I can say is, wow. The fire has leapt over and appears now to be threatening the valley.

Taken @ 11pm, PST from Mulholland Drive with a Nikon D90: ISO 3200, 105mm prime lens @ f1.4. Exposure 1/50th sec. Photo credit: Patrick Ortman.

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The Importance Of Being Backed Up


We got a panicked call from a video production client of ours last week. They desperately needed a clip from a video we produced for them three years ago.

Now, of course, we deliver masters to our clients. Lately we’ve delivered video files as WMV, four flavors of QuickTime, and FLV for the web, along with DigiBeta and HDCAM tapes for those old-fashioned types who Continue reading

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Survive This Economy: Be Bold

be different

Small and large businesses alike have two choices right now: be bold or go home. In our industry, I’ve watched competitor web design and video production companies, interactive agencies, and social media shops here in Los Angeles teeter and fall. In fact, right now one shop that bills itself as the premier web design company in LA is pretty much over, and word is it will close its doors in September (editor’s note: they did).

Just about every company that’s in trouble has slashed marketing budgets and headcount. They’ve given up, and they’re going home. Or, hoping and praying that they’ll somehow survive this downturn in an amputated state and be able to come back in the future.

This sad reality is playing out in pretty much every industry in almost all parts of the country. And to me, it’s exactly the wrong strategy. Others see a nightmare. I see opportunity. And not just for digital agencies like us.

I’m not saying to be Continue reading

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New Website Design Project- Bad Badges


We’d been searching for a lawyer-based/attorney website design project we could use as a test case for the excellent WordPress theme/framework called Thesis, and here’s our test case: my brother’s civil rights law firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

Most of our clients need a larger-scale, robust content management system (CMS). For those types of clients, we recommend the awesome MODx and Drupal products on the market. But we also sometimes work with attorneys, law firms, and other smaller, services-oriented companies that don’t need all the bells and whistles. Enter WordPress and Thesis.

WordPress is the blog platform of choice for PatrickOrtman, Inc. We’ve been Continue reading

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Passion: Superhero Client Relations


A secret weapon of successful digital agencies is passion. If you want to be a superhero, you need to have passion. Passion for your craft, passion for your client, and a passionate belief that what you’re doing for your client will positively affect their business.

Passion for your craft means you wake up (more often than not) excited about learning new skills and mastering techniques. When you’re passionate about what you do, you’re constantly improving and expanding your knowledge and trying new things. You’ll start to look at client projects differently- no longer will you do the bare minimum to get the job done, while leaving huge future problems to be dealt with later on by some other company. It’ll become very important for you to get the job done right, and you’ll be able to help your clients make use of the latest-and-greatest advancements in the field.

A passion for your client means you truly believe in what they’re trying to accomplish. Even the best ad agency guys can’t do great (aka effective) work for clients they don’t believe in, according to David Ogilvy in his classic book “Ogilvy on Advertising”. So jump in! For instance, when Ogilvy landed Rolls Royce Continue reading

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Blake Snyder, 1957-2009

Last night I (Patrick) found out that one of the guys who helped influence me has died. Blake Snyder wrote an amazing, accessible book on screenwriting and storytelling called Save The Cat, and it influenced countless writers and Hollywood story people. I’ve heard that

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About PatrickOrtman, Inc.

PatrickOrtman, Inc. is one of the top-rated video production companies in Los Angeles and New York City. We make high-end corporate videos, and commercials for TV and digital for clients that include 11 Fortune 500s.