The Value of Video: For Education and Self-Promotion

Video is a great learning tool. YouTube ranks #3 behind Alexa ranked #1 Google as the place to look up ‘how to’ information. But there is another value to video that had not occurred to me until I had the opportunity to participate in the making of a Web TV series, Marketing Made Simple.

This opportunity arose thanks to my Digital Brand Marketing colleague, Jeff Ogden, owner of Find New Customers, the host-interviewer of this weekly Web TV show. I am not even sure exactly how it all came about. But it was decided that a ‘real person’ would make a much more pleasing Intro and Closing for this new show than the kind of graphics and music used on a previous show.

Alison Gilbert introduces Marketing Made Simple in front of Main Street.

Alison Gilbert introduces the ‘Marketing Made Simple’ Web TV show in front of ‘Main Street’.

So there I was, with several outfits in hand along with the general idea for a script, off to the green screen-shooting studio to make the Intro and Closing. I am no newcomer to media or public speaking. I have appeared on TV, both nationally and locally. I have been interviewed dozens of times on the radio. I’ve spent time in the voice-acting studio  and am the ‘star’ in my own business videos. I have taught courses and lectured in-person more times than I can remember. But this was different.

I was representing something other than my own craft and myself. I was there to be the ‘real person’ introducing and closing for a Web TV show on behalf of the host, Jeff Ogden and for each of his weekly professional marketing guests. I had a responsibility to the show itself and to everyone else involved to maintain a standard of professionalism and excellence.

That made me a little bit nervous. But as many people know, I adore being in front of the camera. The videographer, Robert Kothe, was terrific. He recorded me on ‘green screen’ in a variety of outfits and semi-impromptu monologue. I had the ‘bones’ of a script to use. Certain key word phrases were placed on the teleprompter but  beyond that, I was able to add my own distinct personality to the job.

Within a two-hour period, we had done sufficient takes in three different sets of clothes and a variety of Intros and Closing to call it a day. Then the fun really began. The videographer had a template to use for the background. But the beauty of ‘green screen’ is that one can do just about anything behind the performer. I could have been flying in the clouds, standing in front of a great battle, or anything one could imagine.

Fortunately, my husband, Phil Jacobs, who is both a professional illustrator and photographer, had some great scenes that fit perfectly behind my ‘performance’. I was so excited to see not only how my acting had turned out but also what outfit and background would be used together. It was truly a media adventure.


The rest is history. The first show aired this past Thursday at noon, with host Jeff Ogden, his guest, Mitch Joel and me, the Marketing Bytes Maven, doing the ‘Intro’ and ‘Closing’ in front of the illustration of Main Street that has come to be synonymous with my Marketing Main Street services for marketing local business.

As Mitch pointed out in his interview, in-person speaking requires some very special skills. While everyone else probably took note of his marketing expertise, I listened intently to every point he made about speaking before an audience rehearsing in my mind for my next opportunity to use my acting skills to help educate others and promote myself as well.


Alison Gilbert is a Digital Age Journalist. She is a regular contributing author to DBMEi, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz  located on Long Island, New York.
This boutique style – very personal service – hybrid company specializes in helping local/small biz generate sales leads by combining the best of traditional advertising with the latest online marketing technology. Contact Alison Gilbert at or call 516-665-9034 EDT/NY/US. MARKETING BYTES serves local/small businesses virtually everywhere.


Can Social Media Change Education Paradigms?

Sir Ken Robinson; author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education and arts bodies. He was Director of The Arts in Schools Project (1985–89), Professor of Arts Education at the University of Warwick (1989–2001) and was knighted in 2003 for services to education.  You can view the RSA animate video “Changing paradigms in Education”


I watched the video of Sir Ken Robinson’s “Changing Paradigms in Education” talk given at the Royal Society on the Arts on YouTube.  I don’t remember how I came across it but I was in awe.  I watched 4 or 5 times over. I wasn’t surprised to hear someone else talking about how current public education is failing our students.  Sir Ken Robinson’s simplistic approach to making small changes that can have significant impact on our children’s education was inspiring. I can see why it went viral.  Sir Ken’s key points hit many of the core issues I believe our evolving education system is now facing.

His views are not new.  The Montessori Method from the 1890’s involves the teacher in viewing the student as having an inner natural guidance for his or her own perfect self-directed development. The Reggio Emilia philosophy founded after World War II is based upon the following set of principles.  Students must have some control over the direction of their learning; must be able to learn

through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing; have a relationship with other students and with material items in the world that students must be allowed to explore and must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.

So what has changed? Sir Ken Robinson talks about how education reform can work.  The current US education system was established during an Era of Cultural Enlightenment and the Industrial Economic Revolution.  That education model worked for a while. We were automating and building our communities.  People worked in factories or offices.  Technology was changing American society. Health and medicine evolved due to research technologies.  Many of our teaching programs developed over time met the variety of skill needs for our society.  As we move forward in the technological revolution factory like school settings and un-stimulating classroom learning are becoming obsolete, so we find ourselves asking “What’s Next?”

According to Robinson, We are changing education to prepare our future generations but we don’t know what that future will hold since there is such rapid change.  We are also trying to reform education to adapt to cultural changes while maintaining cultural identity, as the world’s cultures connect.

The System Requires Change

So how do we change the system without totally starting from scratch?  Our education infrastructure is expensive so we can’t build a new one. Many people are hesitant to scrap the current system fearing unknown outcomes.  There are ways Social Media could bridge the gap.   Technology has enabled society to catch up with Montessori’s revolutionary methods of teaching.  Collaborative learning and divergent thinking can take place in classrooms leveraging many of the Social Media tools we have today.

Image c/o

Preparing today’s students for the unknown and quickly changing cultural and economic climates, must include the new ways we are communicating.  Creating stimulating learning environments, allowing students to express knowledge through their creative means can be achieved by integrating Social Media technologies.  Communication modalities are changing our lives, and we must adapt our teaching methods to work with emerging technologies.

We must raise standards to compete in the changing world economy. What should the standards be?  Some tests can designate a person genius and others label them special needs.  Who will set the standards?

Sir Ken says to change the Education Paradigms we need to think differently about human capacity and get over the old conception of Academic, non-Academic, Abstract, Theoretical…etc. Most great learning happens in groups- Collaboration is the stuff of growth.  The current education system is crucially due to the culture of our institution: the Habits of our institution and the habitats they occupy.

I believe there are opportunities to make great strides with small changes if we introduce methods for implementing Social Media at different levels throughout the education spectrum.

Marilyn Zayfert is a passionate digital strategist implementing online and mobile applications. She is a results-driven sales and marketing strategist with a proven track record of achievement and demonstrated success.  Marilyn founded illumiNET Creative Media in 2009. illumiNET Creative builds and implements online marketing strategies for local businesses. Twitter @mzayfert  / Website / Facebook: Mzayfert / Google+ Marilyn Zayfert


Brand Development


Those of us who have been fortunate enough to become authors for the Digital Brand Marketing Education Blog know intimately the four pillars that comprise the edifice of the DBME blog. We know their interrelatedness, their synergy and we continually learn more as the skyrocketing technology raises the roof on the other three pillars.

The charrette apple with white helvetica type and the white compass

Charrette Took on the 'Big Apple' Design Scene @ Charrette Corporation


A piece of writing can illustrate the interrelatedness between digital technology, branding, marketing and their value as educational tools if seamlessly crafted by a seasoned professional. Basil Puglisi, the founder of DBMEi, expertly summarizes the process, in less a minute, in the above video.

This blog post, Brand Development, will focus primarily on two of the pillars, branding and marketing. Ironically, the emphasis on digital technology is antithetical because the story is about a company that primarily pre-dates the transition from the analog to digital world. Nonetheless, this exploration of branding is a study worth anyone’s attention, those who are ensconced in the digital world and those who know nothing about it.


The charrette 1969 catalog

The Charrette 1969 Catalog @ Charrette Corporation

A brand ultimately needs to become that ‘entity’ by which a company or organization is known and recognized. It can be comprised of visual, verbal, audial and other sensory components. It can start out simple and grow to become more complex. It can start out complex and be simplified. It can also start simple and stay simple, start complex and stay complex. In my opinion, one way is not superior to any other. All that matters is that the end result works.


My favorite pre-digital brand is an extraordinary example of simple stays simple. And it did work. For our present day digital technology purposes, there is much to observe and learn from this masterful example. This brand was for a company that existed in the last quarter of the 20th century. It business and products were predominantly pre-digital. The shift to digital did not represent the true spirit of the company or its brand.

charrette bag, stickers etc all showing the brand

The Proof Is In The Brand @ Johanna Bohoy for Charrette Corp.


The basic element was a single color, red. It then grew to include one word of type, charrette. The style was Helvetica and the color was white. The Charrette Corporation was the largest distributor and retailer of design tools in the industries of architecture, graphics, landscaping, interiors, engineering and fashion during its time. Its reach was from New England, south on the East Coast, and west into the Heartland.

The primary source of income from the corporation was the commercial side accounts. The commercial accounts included even various branches of the US government. But the retail side was where Charrette really showed what its brand was made of. The retail side consisted of such an exclusive group of famous clientele, designer, actors, writers, etc. that this ‘sought after’ list is still safely guarded and unpublished to keep the anonymity of this extraordinary group of customers.

The charrette van

The Charrette Van @ Charrette Corporation


The brand was so powerful that even when some of the elements were changes over its decades of existence, the integrity was always maintained. One could identify a Charrette store, vehicle, product, and packaging. The impeccable job creating and permeating their brand which embodied an attention to detail and clean, simple lines  reflected its corporate culture and philosophy, spilled over into its marketing and its very soul. This was so well done that I believe customers (myself included) would buy their products not only because of their superior quality but also to own a piece of that brand and to be a part of that amazing culture, its spirit and soul.


The Charrette Corporation is gone in body but the memories and memorabilia of this brand live on. Charrette was easily able to do extraordinary marketing because of the impeccable attention to detail both in their products and the branding of everything they produced.

The charrette building now

A deserted Charrette building now @ Charrette Corporation

The Charrette culture, their religious approach to quality and attention to detail live on as an extraordinary lesson for all of us who have an interest in brand development and marketing. Digital technology can spread the words (and images) faster than we ever could before. Charrette did not have that advantage. But what they had was something remarkable to share. For the time that Charrette was at the top of its game, it did a job that set the standard for many other industries that I believe has not been surpassed today.


A Fond Farewell to the Charrette Corporation

Brand Development

Finding Your Brand Voice

The Case of Crystal Cox: the Issue of Bloggers as Journalists, Continued

This post started as a comment to a comment on another blog that sited my post on the DBME Blog, dated December 10, 2011, in its ‘Related Articles’. As I wrote my comment, I began to feel that it contributed enough new insight into this issue that I started to consider publishing it as another blog post on this issue. I have made some minor changes to my ‘responding comment’ for this post since I’ve done additional research since commenting.

Most importantly, I would like to thank the commenter (on the article on who used my post as part of his/her ‘Related Articles‘, (Posted on December 14, 2011 by zandocomm). This commenter’s feedback and insights inspired me to research this issue further and  put my thoughts to post on this issue once again.

legal Guide for Blogger ©

Legal Guide for Blogger ©

I appreciate the expansion upon the blog post I wrote initially, The Daring Digital Decision: Bloggers Are NOT Journalists, that is listed in the ‘Related Articles‘ from a comment on the blog post, The Crystal Cox Case and Bloggers as Journalists. It clarifies what I feel are some of the more germain issues to this case. There are some very valid points made by the commenter and everyone else in my follow up research.

In particular, what I find most important are the fact that, (from the commenter) “Two important things appear to be going on in this case. First, courts occasionally identify a reluctance to extend journalistic protections to non-traditional “media” sources such as bloggers because of a perceived lack of a limiting principle. How can everyone potentially be a journalist? courts seemingly ask. This sentiment is frequently echoed by mainstream journalists who, rightly or wrongly, balk at the perceived threat of dilution of legal protections for traditional journalists posed when (as here) self-proclaimed journalists might go too far and risk protections for established media. As EFF and many others have pointed out, the proper approach to this question is to focus on what amounts to journalism, not who is a journalist. Journalism is not limited to a particular medium; instead, it focuses on whether someone is engaged in gathering information and disseminating it to the public. To the extent that laws are unclear or out of date – such as Oregon’s retraction statute which does not clearly include (or exclude) Internet journalism – legislatures should be encouraged to expansively update them to ensure the protection of individuals seeking to communicate information to the public.

“Second, and lost in much of the discussion about this case over the past week, Cox’s case seems to have much to do with an underlying discomfort and concern about how information is distributed online, whether or not it is actionable. David Carr’s recent article in the New York Times illustrates the phenomenon well. In it, Carr quotes plaintiff Kevin Padrick as lamenting the effect of Cox’s “long-running series of hyperbolic posts” and telling Carr that “his business as a financial adviser had dropped by half since Ms. Cox started in on him, and any search of his name or his company turned up page after page on Google detailing his supposed skullduggery, showing up under a variety of sites.”

Both points lead to what I feel is the bigger issue. Traditional media journalism does not, per se, have the viral affect that blogged information can. Therefore, veracity of information or the lack of it can be magnified exponentially. As a result, the information posted can spread like wild fire and have a previously unseen impact on the parties involved. As we have already seen, social media has outdated the need for traditional war as the medium for a national revolution. The implications of what blogging can do, as a part of ‘journalistic’ media, reach beyond our imagination.

I totally agree that there seems to be something askew in this case. The issue of shield law has to do with protection of confidentiality of sources. The judges ruling skirts the real issue. This is about the Internet and whether or not to deal with it as part of the present  definition of journalism (which is confined to traditional media) rather than focusing on the journalist, Crystal Cox in particular as the Supreme Court case decision did.

The commenter continues, ” . . . the proper approach to this question is to focus on what amounts to journalism, not who is a journalist. Journalism is not limited to a particular medium; instead, it focuses on whether someone is engaged in gathering information and disseminating it to the public. To the extent that laws are unclear or out of date – such as Oregon’s retraction statute which does not clearly include (or exclude) Internet journalism – legislatures should be encouraged to expansively update them to ensure the protection of individuals seeking to communicate information to the public.”

We have not heard the end of this issue. In fact, we have only seen the beginning. Blogging as a form of ‘journalism’ is NOT going away. More and more individuals will increasingly use this form of new media to voice their opinion and report what they consider newsworhty. In my opinion, the standards required for traditional journalists need more than ever to be upheld, (education, credentials, and ethics). But it will become increasingly difficult to monitor and distinguish truth from fiction when so many individuals blog and posted information can go viral before a retraction of error or slander can possibly undo the damage.


The Crystal Cox Case and Bloggers as Journalists

Crystal Cox and Bloggers as Journalists

Kevin Padrick

Related Articles

When Truth Survives Free Speech

Legal Guide for Bloggers

Are All Bloggers Journalists?

The Problem with Pre-Internet Laws

Should We Rethink Shield Law?

According to the Law

A Broader Definition of ‘Journalism’

The facebook page, Room for Debate

The Daring Digital Decision: Bloggers Are NOT Journalists

Picture of Crystal Cox © Crystal Cox

Picture of Crystal Cox © Crystal Cox


In a daring digital decision handed down by the Supreme Court of Oregon, a blogger is not automatically a journalist. Crystal Cox, self proclaimed investigative journalist wrote a blog, Obsidian Financial Sucks, defaming the Oregon company. Her article resulted in a $2.5 million suit being brought against her by the company. She lost in spite of her proclamation:

“Yes I am a Self-Proclaimed Investigative Blogger and under Supreme Court Decisions, under the law as making a living as an Investigative Blogger, Gathering News, Taking Interviews, and Reporting on these Stories I am Media [sic]. I am an Independent News Media. I am a Public Forum, my blogs do go out in news feeds and I am Legally Media [sic]”.

“But the judge disagreed. Judge Marco Hernandez wrote that due to Cox’s lack of education in journalism, any credentials or proof of affiliation with any recognized news entity, plus her failure to contact the other side to get both sides of the story, Cox is not a member of the media, so journalistic shield laws do not apply to the alleged defamation statements Cox wrote on her blog. She has been ordered to pay Obsidian $2.5 million in damages.”


This brings up a critical digital journalistic issue by posing the question, “What makes a blogger a journalist?”

According to the court, a blogger who considers him or herself an investigative journalist, expecting to be protected legally by traditional journalistic codes or ‘shield laws’, must be held to the same standards as a traditional media journalist.

The blogger is planning to appeal the decision because she believes that bloggers need to be recognized as journalists and protected as such. In her own defense, she said, “A blogger is a journalist, or a reporting [sic] in my opinion, when they take interviews, get tips emailed, get and research documents, study cases and depositions, talk to those personally involved, and post their story just as a traditional reporter.”

There are several crucial pieces missing from Cox’s self-defense quoted above and cited in the judges ruling. They are education, credentials and ethics. According to Judge Marco Hernandez, she possesses none of these. She has no journalistic education. She has no credentials as a journalist as she has no affliction with any journalistic organization. And lastly, because she did not get both sides of the story, her writing lacks ethics.


As an author for the Digital Brand Marketing Education Blog, I personally consider this a landmark case that needs to stay on the books to set precedent. ‘New media’ offers endless opportunities for self-expression of ideas with the addition that these ideas can catch on like wildfire and go ‘viral’ as we say in the ‘new media’ speak.

This is what makes this case all the more important. Anyone can say anything. Anyone can write anything. But it is crucial that in order to be protected under ‘journalistic shield law’ that the same rules apply in ‘new media’ that are expected to be upheld in traditional media journalism.

I am certain that this ruling will be tested repeatedly. Other states will most likely have to follow suit. It is to the benefit of news bloggers, who abide by the rules, that this ruling was made. Without the traditional guidelines, education, credentials, and ethics being upheld on the Internet, a blogger’s misinformation can become like a dangerous wildfire gone completely out of control.

The Internet provides ample opportunity  for creative writers to publish fiction. A writer can only be considered a journalist by following the technical rules described in this post and based on the decision made by the Supreme Court of Oregon. Otherwise the writing can be a figment of the author’s imagination rather than his or her search for the truth.


Crystal Cox ordered to pay $2.5 million for defamation; bloggers not journalists

The Meaning of [sic]

Blogger Crystal Cox is No Journalist, Must Pay $2.5M in Damages, Says Judge

Obsidian Finance Sucks

Crystal Cox Website Blog


Bloggers versus Journalists

Obsidian Finance Group Website

Judge Marco Hernandez

The Twisted Psychology of Bloggers vs. Journalists: My Talk at South By Southwest

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