Rampant Interactive

Big changes for the Rampant team

May 3rd, 2016

It’s with equal parts :( and :D that we announce that, after 6 years, Carol Mertz is leaving her position at Happy Badger Studio and Rampant Interactive. Carol is one of the co-founders of Rampant, and has been an integral part of the growth and creativity of both Rampant and Happy Badgers and their many projects. Dana Huth and Ben Triola, the remaining partners at the studio, don’t intend to replace her position and will continue to operate both studios with the same level of momentum and enthusiasm as always.

Carol is taking a position with St. Louis-based game development studio Butterscotch Shenanigans this summer, where she’ll continue to flex her business and community development muscles. She’s excited to expand her experience within the game industry, and is looking forward to all of the adventures to come.

In celebration of the time Carol has spent with the Rampant team, we’d like to reflect on some of the wonderful things we’ve done together.

Carol co-founded Rampant Interactive with Dana and Ben in February 2010 as a client-facing creative studio. In 2013, the team acquired game development company Happy Badger Studio, and regularly began working on creative game projects alongside the interactive client work through Rampant.

From 2010 through 2016, the team at Rampant Interactive has produced over 70 websites, developed numerous apps, and published over a dozen games. Highlights include work for the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, The Post Sports Bar & Grill, Centene Corporation, Anheuser Busch InBev, Saint Louis Science Center, designer shoe brand Luichiny, and Strange Donuts, among many others.

Rampant will continue to seek out challenging, interesting, and occasionally bizarre projects through which we can apply our collective passion, creativity, and vision.

We’re all excited for what the future holds.

<3


Posted by Rampant Interactive

Rampant Interactive is a creative studio that produces user experiences for interactive platforms.

View Rampant's website here:
http://therampant.com

Turn your App Idea into a Reality

October 28th, 2013

Smartphones have put software development within the world’s grasp, and more and more people are coming up with great ideas for apps of their own. If you’ve got a strong app idea, we suggest you think about five big things before you plan to start development: design, demographic, budget, talent, and timeline.

Design

Before you pitch your app to potential investors or developers, be sure that you have a strong concept of the app’s design. When we say “design,” we’re not just talking about the look of the app; the design is everything from how it looks to what it does. It helps to write everything down in an Application Design Document that you can then present to an interested party, so that the full concept of the software can be realized. Be as detailed as you like, and be open to revising.

Demographic

Have a strong idea of who you intend to use your app (and remember: “everyone” is not a viable option). Whether the goal is a large or small demographic, be sure that the app is well-thought out toward that target, and be sure to have enough of a quality, targeted experience that the download is worth their time, effort, and/or money. This is also the best time to decide which mobile platforms the app should be developed on.

Budget

Whether you’re building the app yourself or you plan to hire out a developer, it’s good to have a budget in mind. Experienced agencies, studios and freelance software developers will likely charge anywhere from $5,000–$100,000 per app, depending on the needs of the app and the experience of the developer. Some independent developers might take a pay cut in exchange for profit sharing depending on the app’s viability, though be mindful that doing so is a huge risk for them, and most developers won’t be comfortable with that option. Keep a budget set for marketing, as mobile app stores have become very high-competition sales environments, such that advertising and/or paid user acquisition have become very important to the success of a mobile app. It is extraordinarily rare for an app to go “viral” without a strong financial push on the marketing side.

Talent

Look for a designer and/or developer who fits well with the personality of your concept. Shop around, talk to a lot of potential partners, and carefully look at their portfolios of work to make sure that you’re confident in their abilities. This is also the time to consider budget, as a freelancer looking to expand their knowledgebase will charge much less (and provide a much different outcome) than an experienced digital agency with a full staff.

Timeline

Have an idea of when you’d like to release your mobile application. If it’s time sensitive, account for that within the budget (in that a shorter timeline often equates to a larger budget). Apps, depending on their scope, can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. If your app is self-contained and fairly concise, you can expect a much shorter development cycle than if your app is “the next Facebook,” and will require a full staff of experienced developers working on it full-time for a year to complete to your design specifications.

Ultimately, the lesson here is that it’s very important to have a strong concept of what you want to do and what you’re capable of. If you feel confident that your app concept is financially viable and is worth the time and effort to develop, then start organizing and researching the production process to make it happen!

 


Posted by Carol Mertz

Carol is Interactive Director and Co-Founder of Rampant Interactive.

View Carol's website here:
http://carolmertz.com

Consumers Just Want To Have Fun: Using Games As A Marketing Tool

August 29th, 2013

Games as a Marketing ToolMobile games provide an excellent opportunity to engage customers in a fun and innovative way. With over half of the national population now using smartphones, more and more consumers are looking to mobile applications as a regular form of entertainment. Branded games allow businesses to take advantage of this trend, connect with tech savvy customers, establish and solidify brand recognition, obtain consumer data, and promote time-sensitive products or services.

Connect with your customers

A simple pick-up-and-play game that encourages repeat use is a fantastic way to keep customers engaged. Utilizing standard player engagement methods while incorporating brand-specific rewards like coupons and specials will keep your players coming back for more. This is more effective than targeted mailings, newspaper advertising, and coupon circulars, as those outdated methods tend to get immediately discarded in favor of digital coupons. Utilizing tools like location services, push notifications, and calendar alerts can be a great way to keep in touch with users even when the game isn’t actively being played.

Obtain Customer Data

Integration of analytics software services like Flurry or Localytics into a mobile game or application allows you to learn from your customers. You can get information about how they play the game, where they are located, and what kind device they use so that you can better refine your target demographic.

Platform for Content Updates

Mobile games have a lot of flexibility, and have plenty of room for brand-specific advertising. An integrated content management system can allow a business to easily keep up-to-date content within the application, encouraging users to actively keep up with brand news, coupons, and specials every time they play the game.

There is a lot of room for growth in using games as marketing tools, as many digital advertising companies have yet to expand their services to account for this new method. For more information on using games as a digital marketing tool, contact Rampant Interactive.

 


Posted by Carol Mertz

Carol is Interactive Director and Co-Founder of Rampant Interactive.

View Carol's website here:
http://carolmertz.com

Utilizing Google Places Pages

November 11th, 2011

Free, easy online advertising is just a click away for your business. All you need to do is take advantage of it.

As a business owner, you have the unique opportunity to create a Google Places page to make it easy for potential clients, customers, and visitors to find information about your business. All you need is a Google User ID, and a bit of understanding of how Google Places pages work.

When you search for your business in Google Maps, a link to your company’s Google Places page should appear, as well as a marker pointing out the business location on the map. This is what people who search for your business will see. Your responsibility is to make sure that this contains all the information that person may want.

Utilizing Google Places Pages

When you search for your business and click on the name of your company’s listing to view the Google Places page, you should see an option in the upper-right corner to “Edit this Place – Business Owner?” Select the “Business Owner” link, then sign in or create a new Google ID. From here, you can verify your ownership of the business, as well as add or edit information to your listing. Make sure that your listing is as complete as possible, so that people get as much information as they can when they search for you.

Google Places Page

Once you’ve added all the information you can, encourage past and present clients and customers to rate and review your business on your Google Places page. This will make it easier for other potential clients and customers to determine the quality of your business, based on real user ratings and comments.

For more information about how you can take advantage of your company’s online web presence, make sure you check out our other article, “7 Ways to Improve Your Online Branding.”


Posted by Carol Mertz

Carol is Interactive Director and Co-Founder of Rampant Interactive.

View Carol's website here:
http://carolmertz.com

Web Design Showcase: AirPlay Fragrances

October 27th, 2011

We knew as soon as we started this project that it would be one of our favorites. Created locally near St. Louis, and sponsored by local superstars Nelly & the St. Lunatics, AirPlay is an exciting new product that required a unique website design to showcase it properly.

AirPlay was created by family-owned company Superior Products, located outside of St. Louis in Roxana, IL. Superior Products had already found success in creating automotive supplies and oil based fragrances that have become popular with auto dealers, auto repair shops, and other retailers nationwide. It was the perfect next step to create a product that was more marketable to the public. Superior Products partnered with Nelly and The St. Lunatics to bring AirPlay to life.

AirPlay website design

When we were contacted about this project, Airplay was already in production with the website URL printed on the boxes and bottle labels. There was an urgency to get this site completed by the time the product launched. We started out by creating a temporary landing page, which soon (and with a lot of hard work and long days) evolved into a robust and fully-functioning e-commerce website.

The website design needed to appeal to a young crowd. This allowed us to be really creative with colors and effects. We wanted the design to be slick and keep the focus on the product, while reflecting the style of the product sponsors. Basing our website design and color scheme on the product packaging, we were able to really highlight the product without distracting from it.

In the event that customers would choose to find a location to purchase AirPlay in person, there is both an event list and a store locator, so that customers can find retailers in their area quickly and easily. The event list allows users to connect with AirPlay representatives in person to sample and learn more about the products.

Working with the folks at Superior Products was really great, and this project has quickly turned into one of our favorite website designs.

Check out the AirPlay site now at www.airplayfresh.com

If you liked reading about the AirPlay website development, be sure to check out our full website design portfolio.


Posted by Rampant Interactive

Rampant Interactive is a creative studio that produces user experiences for interactive platforms.

View Rampant's website here:
http://therampant.com

Web Design Showcase: St Louis Sippery

September 21st, 2011

Upon deciding to move from Plaza Frontenac to a bigger location in the booming Chesterfield Valley, the St. Louis Sippery & Café also decided it was time for a brand new website overhaul.

Wanting to keep with the themes and feel of the brand new restaurant, the St Louis Sippery website design had to be warm, inviting, and timeless.

The primary goal of the website was to introduce new and existing customers to the new location. A prominent call-to-action, asking customers to visit the new restaurant, is immediately visible.

There are a number of menus to feature, so we organized a multi-column webpage display that resembles a printed menu.

A recent news feed for press releases and menu updates is also readily available, and easy to update.

To visit the live site, visit www.sippery.com.

If you like the St Louis Sippery’s website, check out more of our web work in our website design portfolio!


Posted by Rampant Interactive

Rampant Interactive is a creative studio that produces user experiences for interactive platforms.

View Rampant's website here:
http://therampant.com

Web Design Showcase: Maplewood Chamber of Commerce

September 13th, 2011

Maplewood Chamber of Commerce Web DesignWe love Maplewood, Missouri, and have been deeply involved in the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce for over a year. When we joined, their website was a several-year-old hard-coded webpage in serious need of a dynamic overhaul, so we jumped at the chance to do some amazing work for a business we really believe in.

The Chamber Director really needed to be able to make updates easily, so we built the whole website as a custom-built WordPress theme, giving her the ability to update everything in a snap. We wanted to emphasize the community of the Chamber, so we made the website design very unique and natural.

The website features the ability for the Chamber Director to add featured members, custom events, photo galleries, new members, as well as member exchange information. All of the contact forms are custom-built to provide all the information she needs to answer questions, renew memberships, and promote members online.

To view the live website, visit maplewood-chamber.com

If you liked the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce website, check out more of our web design work at our Website Design Portfolio!


Posted by Rampant Interactive

Rampant Interactive is a creative studio that produces user experiences for interactive platforms.

View Rampant's website here:
http://therampant.com

Marketing With QR Codes

September 13th, 2011

How to effectively use QR Codes - St Louis Web DesignQR, or “Quick Response,” codes are suddenly appearing everywhere. The little black and white matrix barcodes encourage savvy smartphone users to scan and find out more about what hides behind that checkered box.

Modern marketing strategists are understanding more and more about how they can help draw in tech-savvy crowds using QR codes. With the ability to provide a lot of information in just a small space, these codes encourage users to go beyond the advertisement and find information on their own.

A QR code can contain a wide variety of data, including but not limited to a link to a website, a brief amount of text, or even a full contact card to add to a user’s phone. Utilizing these codes can help you to provide easy-to-access information to interested parties with a click of a button. Businesses of all kinds are finding ways to incorporate these barcodes into their marketing, from realtors providing links to a listings website, to freelancers providing contact information to encourage easy future contact.

Be creative with QR codes. With services like bit.ly and invx.com that make it incredibly easy to generate your own codes, there’s no reason not to play with this trendy technology in your future marketing campaigns.

For more information on how you can incorporate QR codes into your advertising and marketing campaigns, contact the design professionals at Rampant Creative Group.


Posted by Rampant Interactive

Rampant Interactive is a creative studio that produces user experiences for interactive platforms.

View Rampant's website here:
http://therampant.com

Web Design Showcase: Shur-Way Autobody

June 8th, 2011

Shur-Way came to us for a complete website redesign. Their existing website had served its purpose, but it was quickly becoming outdated. They realized that it was not working for them as a marketing tool – it wasn’t generating leads.

Shur-Way Autobody is a family owned St. Louis body shop. It was important to them that their website reflect both their story, and their passion. Shur-Way has been family owned for 40 years, and in that time they’ve built a reputation of putting the customer first – using plain language so you feel comfortable with the whole process. They’ve also become known as pioneers in environmentally friendly practices; being the first in the area to switch to water based paint. The website absolutely had to convey these elements of Shur-Way.

Our design went through several revisions. We took client feedback and modified it until it created the ideal image; the trustworthiness of a family owned business, and the skillful work of a high-tech shop. We used warm tones and subtle textures to create a comforting feel. Select images and a photo gallery were used throughout to show the quality of the client’s work.

The end result looked great, but we wanted to take it one step further. Rather than just supply static information to the visitor, we created a call-to-action to engage the user. This came in the form of the “Need an estimate?” box. Visitors could fill out a short form and would quickly hear back from Shur-Way. The client has reported that they are now receiving and average of one new lead a day, just from this form!

The Shur-Way website is a great example of how we can take a simple client desire, a new website, to the next level. We created something that not only builds their brand, and establishes Shur-Way as the best in their field, but it also actively generates new business for them.

Check out the Shur-Way site at: www.Shur-WayAutobody.com

Want to see what we can do for your business? Contact us for a free consultation.


Posted by Rampant Interactive

Rampant Interactive is a creative studio that produces user experiences for interactive platforms.

View Rampant's website here:
http://therampant.com

7 Ways to Improve Your Online Brand

May 23rd, 2011

We exist in a digital age, in which people look to the Internet to gain access to information with the click of a button. Many people use the Internet as their first resource to learn more about products and services; they expect to be able to answer every question they have about your business by looking it up on a search engine.

The question is, will they be able to find the answers they need?

Your company’s website is going to be many peoples’ first impression of you and your business. If they stumble onto a poorly made website with limited or difficult-to-access information, they are likely to move on and find someone else with a higher quality web presence, whether or not they provide a higher quality product or service than you. The fact is, many people associate quality on the web with the overall quality of a business.

When launching or redesigning your online brand, look for help from a team that can propel your business into the digital world, and make you more accessible to your existing and potential clients, as well as give you the professional high-quality on-line presence that you need.

1. Obtain a memorable domain name

The first step in establishing a web presence is purchasing a domain name and web space. It’s important to select a name that represents your company in a memorable way, based on what you do, who you are, and what your customers are looking for.

2. Ensure that your website is visually appealing and up-to-date

On-line trends and standards are in a constant state of evolution. A website designed five years ago will not have the same professional impact as a fresh website designed with today’s standards in mind. Does your website seem visually out-of-date? Is your navigation easily accessible? Can people find the information they need quickly and easily? Do all of your pages have a consistent visual appeal? These are questions to keep in mind as you determine whether or not you need a fresh web design.

3. Use a memorable and well-designed logo

Your logo is the visual representation of your business — a well-designed, professional, and memorable logo has more value than a lot of people realize. Your website’s visitors will look for your logo as the first way to identify your company — if it doesn’t make sense, doesn’t stand out, or doesn’t look good, you’ll quickly be forgotten.

4. Present your information in an easy-to-understand and accessible way

The primary reason why people visit your website is to learn more about your company. If your information is unavailable, or is difficult to read, find, or access, you could lose a potential client. Make sure that build your website with the client in mind – so that all relevant information is prominent and easy to find, while not being overwhelming or confusing.

5. Include relevant content to rank well in Search Results

When people go to Google and type in “Saint Louis Dentist,” they expect to immediately find websites of the top dentists in St. Louis. Most people focus only on the first few search results, ignoring the second and third pages of results entirely. For your business to be available to these people, it’s important to be aware of what is called web “Search Engine Optimization,” or “SEO.” Include relevant content on to optimize your website, bringing you a better search rank in all of the most popular search engines, and ultimately, bringing you more clients.

6. Keep your brand identity and marketing materials professional and consistent

One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is being inconsistent with how they market themselves. Marketing initiatives — whether on-line or offline, web, video, or print — should communicate a consistent brand identity of your company. It’s important to establish your brand identity, then bring it to fruition by creating a consistent marketing campaign, to get your name out to more people in more memorable ways.

7. Get a Professional Opinion

A lot of people claim to be marketing professionals or designers, doing low-cost freelance work as a hobby while they spend the majority of their time doing other things. Unfortunately, relying on someone like this will cause the quality of the final product to suffer tremendously. Look for professionals with plenty of experience of education, and a true understanding of all the best practices and current standards, who are able to bring you a high-quality product that perfectly fits your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask for references, testimonials, or examples of work.

If you’re looking into supercharging your online brand, contact the professionals at Rampant Creative Group for a free consultation, and a quote for your project.


Posted by Rampant Interactive

Rampant Interactive is a creative studio that produces user experiences for interactive platforms.

View Rampant's website here:
http://therampant.com