Give with intention, not for attention

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Small deeds and little things matter a big deal.  Which local community are you involved with this year?

New Year should bring not just new big goals for your business, your health or travel plans.  They should also include goals and specific ideas how you can give back to the community.  We believe in the saying “Do good. And good will come to you.”

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At LA76 Strategic Design we love being part of the community, and we get involved however we can.  In the past years, we have helped with the local El Camino school, got involved with Casa Hogar, and indirectly contributed to the construction of sustainable homes for people damaged the most by Hurricane Odile.  One of the local charity institutions we have been involved with the most so far is Los Cabos Humane Society.  We have created their website for Dressed to the K9’s event for three consecutive years.  And for the year 2016 we have decided to engage with the dogs themselves.  This year we’ll be contributing to the shelter with food and time donations.  Those wagging tails and big grateful eyes make our hearts full each time we spend time with them.  We hope your 2016 is full of similar stories of giving, sharing, engagement, and gratitude.

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Here are just a couple of ideas how you can get involved and give back.  Small deeds matter a lot.

Easy Ways to Give Back This Year:
1. Get one extra.  When you buy a food for your dog or cat, buy one additional bag, and take it to your local association.  This can work also if you buy an extra toy, blanket, or other living essentials; just drop them off at the appropriate organization.  You can apply the same for buying toys or clothes for your child, and donate the extra piece to the appropriate organization.

2. Bring your old towels, sheets and blankets to an animal shelter. More room in your linen closet and more warmth for furry friends who need it.

3. Take a walk. If you can’t donate with cash or products, then give your time. At Los Cabos Humane Society, for example, they walk dogs twice per day, and with the amount of pups they have, the employees at the shelter can’t handle to walk all the dogs by themselves. When we visited, we took several dogs for a walk, and a couple of families and students were helping as well. The dogs need these walks and appreciate your assistance greatly. You can see it in their eyes and big smiles.

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4. Play together. If you like a game of cards or a nice conversation, or if you miss your grandparents, visit elderly home, and have a game of cards or chess with its residents. They will appreciate your visit greatly. You can also play with kids at the orphanage, or with dogs at the shelter.

5. Make someone’s day brighter. Gather presents or school supplies for local orphanage homes with your friends and make their day a happy one.

6. (Virtually) adopt a dog, cat, whale, dolphin, … or become a sponsor to a child. If you can’t adopt a dog or a cat from a shelter, you can still commit with a monthly donation. You can also virtually adopt a whale, a dolphin, a sea lion or a turtle, as well as become a padrino to a child in need.

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7. Make the workout extra worth it.  Download an app like Charity Miles.  For each mile you walk, ride or run, they’ll donate to the charity you choose from their list. Kudos to the developer, we’d love to see a similar project come through for charities in Mexico.

8. Make an emergency kit for someone who could use it (in Cabo San Lucas, hurricane emergency kit is crucial). Stock a plastic bin with essentials like batteries and a flashlight, or food essentials, and give it to people you think might appreciate it, or the organization that can distribute them to the communities or neighborhoods in need.

9. Every good deed counts. Help the elderly carry their grocery bags, pay a coffee forward to the person behind you, give your seat to somebody else.

We hope that whichever community or purpose you decide to contribute to this year, you give with intention, not for attention.

*All the photos in this post are from our visit and walk with lovely dogs at the Los Cabos Humane Society.

11 Favorite Things in 2015

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2015 was a fantastic year, and our plan is to make 2016 even better.  Here are just some of our favorite things in 2015, in no particular order of preference:

  1. Blog strategy we created for Pisces Real Estate proved very successful; it generated 3 real estate sales, resulting in more than $1 mio USD. There’s no better proof that a good blogging strategy works!
  2. Another blog strategy that took off in the last two years is for Luxury Villa Collections. Their local guide to Los Cabos and travel tips are driving the visitors through the roof!
  3. A10 architecture studio and their collaboration in CapaLab with a social housing project in rammed earth was a winner in at least two categories. First, they helped provide a solution for sustainable social housing for the most affected by Hurricane Odile in Los Cabos. Besides that, their Casa O was selected to be presented at the Venice Biennale 2016. Well deserved! Media outreach we did for the project resulted in several top publications as well.
  4. We’re proud of our clients Pisces Sportfishing – in the last year alone they won several fishing tournaments; among them  Los Cabos Billfish Tournament 2015 with the largest tuna, two wins at the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot 2015 and the Los Cabos Big Game Charter Boat Classic. Pretty great fishing year, and well deserved! Read the news here.
  5. Our social media client and friend, writer Madison Lake published 2 books in 2015 (that’s six books in total for her). Unexpectedly, one of the books was dedicated to our owner, Romana Lilic – we’re so honored. If you haven’t read any of her books yet, you can start now. Find them here.
  6. Capella Ixtapa received another series of accolades in 2015: Ranked #5 “Best Hotels in Mexico 2015” by U.S. News & World Report; Ranked #6 “TOP 25 Hotels in Mexico” by TripAdvisor; 2015 Ranked #8 “TOP 25 Hotels for Romance” in México, by TripAdvisor; Ranked #6 “TOP 25 Luxury Hotels in Mexico” by TripAdvisor; Ranked #3 “TOP 25 Best Services Hotels” in México by TripAdvisor. Top!
  7. International media strategy for Acapulco Chairs brought them to the biggest Canadian daily, La Presse Canada. See the feature here.
  8. 176% increase in Facebook followings for Captain Tony’s thanks to a well-planned and executed social media strategy and great collaboration toward the same goal with the client.
  9. Branding projects for Alma Vallejo Cabo Makeup and Hair Professionals, and Indigo Pilates Studio.
  10. Collaboration with Middle Tennessee State University, MTSU, and creating a social media workshop for students during their 3-week study abroad project in Cabo San Lucas.
  11. Traveling all around Mexico with Pink Palm Photo.

At LA76 Strategic Design we are grateful for all our clients and business partners, and look forward to amazing 2016 together!

Social Media Tips: Get More From Meerkat and Periscope with Katch

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If you love Meerkat and Periscope, but wish both of these apps would offer more functionalities than ‘just’ live streaming, try Katch!
Katch enables you to easily record, permanently archive and automatically publish your broadcasts from either of the apps with one tweet.  

How Katch works:
– Sign into Katch.me and connect it to your Meerkat or Periscope accounts (or both)
– Open your favorite live streaming app
– Add #katch hashtag to your title
– Tap the Twitter icon so Katch can see your stream
– Katch starts recording your stream, including your comments and hearts
– After you end your broadcast, @KatchHQ will send you a link on Twitter
– Tap on the link to view your replay
– You can play, fast forward and rewind your video
– You can also view and scroll through all your comments
– All your broadcasts are stored permanently in the cloud.

Katch is a free app, sign up for it at www.katch.me.

If you need help with your live video marketing or social media marketing strategy, email us at info@LA76.com. We’d be glad to be of help!

Outsider Magazine

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Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

– Benjamin Franklin

We love good reading, even more so if it comes in a well-crafted printed form.  One of the magazines we’re into lately is Outsider Magazine, issued in Slovenian and German.  The third issue just went to print, and until we receive it in Mexico, we still have a couple of articles to read from the Outsider issue #2 – Don’t Panic.  Outsider is a magazine about architecture, culture and personalities.  Great writing from some great individuals.  LA76 Strategic Design’s owner Romana Lilic is humbled to be among the contributors.

Get more information about Outsider magazine and your copy on their website or Facebook.

Mala and Mantra’s “I Am Cabo” Collection Raises Funds For Cabo Locals Damaged by Odile

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At LA76 Strategic Design we are proud to be part of Mala and Mantra’s efforts to help build awareness and raise funds for the most damaged by Hurricane Odile.  Mala and Mantra‘s I Am Cabo Collection is the first in the “Crafted for a Cause” Series, with the aim to benefit relief efforts in Los Cabos on the one year anniversary of hurricane Odile. LA76 is part of the project with lifestyle and product photographs of the collection.

Mala and Mantra, a consciously created accessories company, has launched its “Crafted for a Cause” line designed to raise funds for pressing social causes.  The first in the series is the “I Am Cabo Collection,” a Cabo-inspired bracelet line that will donate five dollars of every sale to the Cabo Hurricane Fund, a nonprofit organization committed to providing emergency relief and rebuilding the Los Cabos neighborhoods of Mexico that were devastated by Hurricane Odile last September.

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Inspired by the colors and textures of the famous Cabo arch and picturesque sun, sea, and sand, this beautiful collection for both men and women features two mala bracelet variations strung with whitewood, rosewood, yellow jade, picture jasper, and howlite turquoise.

Hurricane Odile, one of the most destructive hurricanes on record in the region, destroyed an estimated 8,000 homes primarily in the poorer urban communities, displacing thousands of families.  While the economic and tourist regions have largely been rebuilt over the past year, many local residents still lack permanent housing.

The Cabo Hurricane Fund was formed to support these most vulnerable communities in Los Cabos, and this past August, the first family was able to move into their new home (read more about it here).  The sustainable social housing solution was strategically planned and designed by Capa LAB‘s founders Mariano Arias Diez (a10 studio) and Gonzalo Elizarraras (fabriKG).  With current funding, the Cabo Hurricane Fund will be able to build about 30 more houses, but hopes to continue their work through further partnerships and support from companies like Mala and Mantra.

“The I Am Cabo collection will be an incredible support for the Cabo Hurricane Fund project,” says Craig Nason, associate director of the Grassroots Global Development Foundation, which has managed the fund. “Beyond bringing funding to our housing projects, the pieces themselves capture the beauty and resilience of the Cabo community.  They are a reminder of our initial vision and a celebration of the global community that is participating in post-Odile recovery.”

In the future,  Judith Compton, the founder and creator of the California-based accessories line, plans to continue “Crafted for a Cause” with collections that will raise money for causes including breast cancer research and support for children and education in impoverished communities, as well as establish jewelry-making programs that will support women in need.  To have the greatest impact possible, Mala and Mantra conducts extensive research to ensure that each non-profit supported allocates the majority of funds directly towards its cause.

“I created Mala and Mantra to spread the message of mindfulness, empower underprivileged women through sustainable work, and provide support to those who need it most,” Compton says. “While all of our current items are crafted by a fair trade women’s cooperative in the Philippines, I also wanted to design a new collection several times a year that would assist and provide wellness to the global community.”

The “I am Cabo” bracelets are beautiful, fun to layer and mix, and everyone at LA76 team uses them daily!  To get your  #IAmCabo bracelet or learn more about #CraftedForACause, please visit their website here.

The I am Cabo bracelets are available for purchase also in Cabo San Lucas at: The Spa at Pedregal, AlmArte at Resort at Pedregal, V Fraiche restaurant, Villa Valentina, and One & Only Palmilla.

mala-and-mantra-la76-3aAbout Mala and Mantra:  Mala and Mantra was created in Spring 2013 by retail industry expert Judith P. Compton.  Its debut collection of fashionable, handmade, and hand-knotted mala bead bracelets and necklaces was unveiled in February 2014 and features a lineup of 36 products designed with intention in San Diego and consciously created in the Philippines.  With a focus on wellness, mindfulness, and self-discovery, Mala and Mantra products support their wearers in living a life of intention.

Photo credit: LA76 Photography

The Importance of a Responsive Web Design

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Recently we finished a branding process and a responsive website design for a Los Cabos makeup and hair company, Alma Vallejo.  Their old brand identity and website didn’t fit their image and needs anymore, so we worked with them to create a new visual identity and website, which would have stress on imagery, show their latest work, and be responsive to any device the users are accessing the website from.

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Mobile internet usage has been skyrocketing over the last few years. According to a Morgan Stanley report, mobile internet usage has surpassed desktop usage in 2014, and it’s only continuing to grow (see the chart here).  Even with this compelling evidence, the vast majority of business websites are still not mobile-friendly.  This is not only causing a headache for users, but also a loss in business opportunity.

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These stats on mobile internet use from Smart Insights show why we need a mobile website.

  • Over 20% of Google searches are performed on a mobile device.
  • In 2012, more than half of local searches were performed on a mobile device.
  • In the United States, 25% of internet users only access the internet on a mobile device.
  • 61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience.
  • 25.85% of all emails are opened on mobile phones, and 10.16% are opened on tablets.

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According to Google’s Think Insights on mobile, if a user lands on your mobile website and is frustrated or doesn’t see what they are looking for, there’s a 61% chance they will leave immediately and go to another website (most likely a competitor).  It’s also said that if they have a positive experience with your mobile website, a user is 67% more likely to buy a product or use a service.

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Responsive web design isn’t a trend any more, it’s a must. Being able to offer consumers a beautiful optimized experience regardless of their choice of device means you’ll have expanded the reach of your service and the chances you have of engaging with individuals. The long lasting nature of this approach is incredibly valuable and the cost effectiveness is a clear advantage. – Tahmid Hossain

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7 Reasons You Need a Responsive Web Design:

  • Mobile Internet Use is Exploding.  We use internet more on mobile than on desktop (plus see all the facts and stats above).
  • Responsive web design adapts to current and future devices.  One of the big benefits of responsive design is that the size of the template is designed based on screen size, not device. This means that no matter what size screen someone is viewing your website, it will display properly for that screen size.

  • Better, faster, smarter user experience.  Optimizing your site no matter what the user chooses to view it on makes their life easier.  Happier customers means a happier business.

  • Cost Effective.  Responsive sites take a little longer to put together, but they survive longer and the unified approach means management, support and upgrades only need be applied to one place.  That saves time and money.

  • Responsive design is optimised for SEO.  Managing SEO for separate mobile and desktop sites is hard and doesn’t produce great results.  Google actually recommends a responsive approach to combat these problems and a consolidated view of your results means more focus.

  • Improve conversion rates.  An optimised and consistent site, no matter what platform it’s viewed on, provides a better experience for the user which is more likely to lead to them engaging with you than going elsewhere.

  • Blogging and social activities bring mobile visitors.  If you’re like most inbound marketers and have elements of blogging and social media incorporated in your strategy, you probably have been seeing increased mobile traffic.  A recent study by ComScore cites that 55% of social media consumption happens on a mobile device.  With that being said, if you’re sharing out content links or links to your website and don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you’re not only going to experience high bounce rates and low conversion rates, but also a frustrated audience.

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Sources: Hubspot, Webstars*, Tahmid Hossain

Images made with PlaceIt application, brand identity and website design of Alma Vallejo by La76 Strategic Design.