5 Questions for Barry Martin – Creative Director, Hypenotic

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Barry Martin
_Barry Martin (pictured at top) is Creative Director of “Hypenotic”:http://www.hypenotic.com where they help clients get noticed, liked, and passed on. As Barry says, “sometimes it’s through conventional or traditional means likes ads and web sites, and sometimes it’s things that don’t occur to you, but can be glaringly obvious to us. It can be softer toilet paper, nicer parking attendants, forms that are easier – even inviting to use, you name it. Like the tagline says – “Persuasion by Design”._
_Since 1998, Hypenotic has worked with a ridiculous gamut of industries, organizations, and individuals. They range from multinationals to bars, and from non-profits like Rethink Breast Cancer to financial firms like AIM and Spectrum. They’ve worked with established Canadian brands like Tilley Endurables, Efston Science and Camp Arowhon, and helped bring emerging ones like Wee Welcome, Midtown Honda, and Selenium Creative along.”_
*One Degree: How does brand manifest itself online?*
The same way it does in other customer touch-points – through experience and identification. In other words, how a person is treated and whether they can relate to you. To influence people through experience, try quick loading pages, ultra usability, and verbiage that doesn’t pander. Influencing people through identification happens via aesthetics and attitude. It’s about helping people sell themselves on you.
*One Degree: What’s the biggest mistake you see companies making when it comes to branding and the Internet?*

Talking _at_ people instead of _to_ them. Most organizations still tell their stories in reference manual format, instead of trying to make a compelling case. The web’s ubiquity offers more opportunity to cultivate relationships with prospects than business cards, print brochures, and ads ever have. Whereas a crappy card is akin to a limp handshake, a poor interactive experience is akin to fuck-off.
I hate to be “Seth Godin”:http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/blog.html about it, but all people care about is the story. For example, I’m the guy who said fuck-off twice in the same answer – memorable isn’t? The case I’m making for my passion on this subject, from the way I chose to make it, to the risk of turning people off by swearing will resonate deeply with a few people. They’d probably make better clients for me than the oodles of folks who won’t appreciate it.
The point is, do whatever it takes to get the job done, whether you need someone to buy something, call you, or whatever. Don’t make something standard and pray. Get out there and wrestle for it.
*One Degree: I see lots of really small companies trying to look big when they go online. And I see big companies working really hard to get all conversational and intimate – in effect hiding their corporateness. Does size matter anymore and if not, how are companies judged today?*
It’s not size that matters, it’s sincerity. Honesty. Earnestness. Authenticity. All in the name of trust. And the value of trust is that it helps prospects make a decision more easily about you. You earn enough trust and people just stay loyal, further indebted to you for helping them avoid choosing.
It’s an old story, but making promises and delivering on them can’t hurt either. The new breed of online application builders like “37signals”:http://www.37signals.com (“Basecamp”:http://www.basecamphq.com project management app) and “Shaun Inman”:http://www.shauninman.com/plete/ (“Mint”:http://www.haveamint.com web stats app), are successful because they’re spending their time making useful tools, not trying to convince people they’re bigger than they are.
*One Degree: Is it really “just like high school all over again”?*
In that the idea is to get attention, be popular, talked about, and to have fun doing it. In order to avoid peaking too soon, however, I’d advocate for truth, transparency, and using your powers for good, too.
*One Degree: Good god, what is that woman chewing on at the top of your “Us”:http://www.hypenotic.com/us.html page?*
Duck carcass. I prefer the leg myself, roasted simply, on the rotisserie.

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