July 16, 2018

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His face is on the pizza boxes. He is the brand. He also says the "N" word while talking to ad agencies.

Aligning Your Brand With a Person- WARNING!

There are a few rules in creating a brand persona that has “personality.”

  1. Don’t let your CEO anywhere near your social media
  2. Celebrity spokespeople are actually people- they will falter
  3. A marketing campaign is NOT your brand
  4. Personalities are not products. Your products should NEVER rest on the shoulders of any one personality

In the era of social media influencers and spokesperson personas:

Subway’s convicted pedophile spokesman Jeriod Fogle should have been the siren song of spokesmen. It’s a worst case scenario. Vetting and oversight of Jeriod’s extracurricular should have been part of Subway’s plan. Jeriod admits sex with underage girls happened while he was on the road for Subway events.

The Barilla and Chick-Fil-A CEO’s took turns saying shamefully homophobic things publicly. Chic-Fil-A’s controversy has it’s own Wikipedia page. That’s an epic brand fail. The biggest problems these brands should have are from Keto dieters, the PETA crowd and carb haters. Instead someone let the CEO’s hold the microphone. Big Mistake.

The latest disaster of the Corporate Cult of Personality is “Papa John” Schnatter  whose face is on all the pizza boxes. Awkward when you evict him from his offices for busting out with the “N” word on a call to an outside Marketing agency. Presumably to save him from his constant right wing political lambasting in public. Sometimes you just can’t save people from themselves or the havoc they wreak on your brand/stock prices, both diving downward with some recovery following Schnatter’s public flagellation.

The first red flag should have been him calling himself “Papa John.” The last guy to proclaim, “I love it when they call me Big Poppa,” was assassinated in Las Vegas. RIP Notorious BIG. Politics are increasingly vitriolic and divisive in the United States. This is an entire treatise unto itself. Involving your brand in NFL athletes kneeling in protest of police brutality and murder of African American’s and the conservative backlash is catastrophically unwise. This is one of MANY examples of Papa John’s politicization of the brand.

Howe Innovative is 2 people. My wife and I, plus we occasionally contract graphic designers and videography crews. It helps to have fresh eyes and mad skills. Hiring us is hiring our values, which includes our politics to some degree. Obviously, you can infer from the lesbian owned tech/marketing/media business what those may be… But we’re not telling what they are. Even when we ARE the brand. We ARE the business, keep it professional.

We all have opinions. We don’t all need to associate them with our business.



October 21, 2016

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Massive Internet Outage


All down. Following a DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service making access to sites hosted by Dyn a Domain Name System (DNS) provider inaccessible. Including all websites on the Squarespace and Wix.com systems. I’m going to pretend for just a minute that isn’t incredibly gratifying as a web developer. That those crappy do-it-yourself, saturate the airwaves with advertising providers don’t offer secure services… That’s a different blog.

Ok. But what does this mean?

    We don’t use Dyn for our DNS (domain names).
    No Howe Innovative Design clients are affected or effected by this attack.


    It’s mostly East Coast sites that are down.


    Deep breaths…

A DDoS attack is exactly what it sounds like. A bot has been programmed by a group of hackers (or possibly an individual, it’s not clear yet) to disrupt the system that indexes sites. A Domain Name System or DNS, takes complex Internet Protocol addresses (IP addresses) converting them to the domain name. Step One: open a search engine. For example, Google or Bing (we won’t make fun of you for using Bing). Then enter, “Kick ass web marketing, development and photography for cheap” you’ll ideally get “Howe Innovative Design.” Returning results in text: Howe Innovative Design with some meta tag and/or indexed content from the site.

October 21, 2016

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Copyright Sara Howe 2016

Where We’ve Been

Short answer: Salt Lake City, Utah.
Really? Yes.

As most of you know, Stevie Howe began Howe Innovative Design in a half bedroom in the Liberty Wells neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Utah in 2010. The business grew to emphasize WordPress web development, photography and copywriting. It’s worked out well. It was time to grow, move onto larger markets and a culture more reflective or our progressive practices both in business and personally.

So, we ended up in Portland in 2013. Portland has a housing crisis. Literally, it’s been declared a crisis by the Mayor’s office and city council. We’ve felt the pinch. Unable/unwilling to pay skyrocketing rents or to commute from the environs of Washington County, Vancouver (read Vantucky) or God forbid, Salem, OR, a lovely town to be sure but not why we sold our home and moved Northwest, we moved.

Christy got a fantastic job offer. She’s been recruited, now working in management, pursuing certifications to add to her impressive qualifications. Putting to use her Master of Public Policy. She’s returned to lobbying, also hiring, training and managing field staff. She still works with Howe Innovative Design but she’s got a day job. I’m here, full time. Working, training, learning and pushing to make our sites better.

Stevie is pursuing a certification in Digital Marketing from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He’s recently certified in Digital Photography from the University of Michigan with a five course specialization and in Fiction (for creative copywriting) from Wesleyan University with a six course specialization.

We were able to purchase an adorable home in Salt Lake. It’s cozy, comfortable and most importantly, the cats LOVE it here. We’ve got plenty of light for the plants. We are doing battle with horrific invasive trees in the backyard… More about cardboard weed barriers topped with fragrant mulch later. Damned Trees of Heaven/Chinese Oak.

All of our client’s are in Oregon. We are registered as an Oregon business, licensed and proudly paying our taxes. For the record, I support Measure 97. Thanks to Alaskan Airlines and a Honda Fit purchased from Griffith Honda in The Dalles, OR I am there quarterly. My heart is in Oregon but my hearth is in Salt Lake City. The mountains, red rock marvels and hot springs of Southern Utah keep me preoccupied. The Gorge, bridges, open space of Eastern Oregon and fantastic people of the Pacific Northwest have my undying love.

If you need us, we’re here.

April 3, 2015

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Shrink wraped, tow strapped and ready to winch

Moving our Floating Home Office

It’s now time to live and work “on Dirt.” The contemptuous moniker given to land dwellers by the floating home residents. They call themselves “River People.” They are indeed a different breed. For a year we have lived and worked in a floating home office on the Columbia River. It’s been an adventure. Our house has been tug boated away on one occasion. We’ve suffered through sweltering heat magnified by complete humidity, freezing cold, inefficient, corroding appliances and electrical wiring, leaking windows, doors and waged a losing battle with nature to reclaim any structure constructed so unnaturally. I have to admit it’s nice to only hear the wind now and not rock at times violently to wake current, waves and wind.

I will miss the river otters, Hank the Heron, nocturnal beavers, playful fowl of all stripes and the magically dancing morning light, shimmering on the ceiling. Ever grateful to be more interesting people, it’s good to live amongst the bike riding, beard sporting, bookish, weirdos of Hollywood, Portland.

Special thanks to Fisher Moving. Tony Fisher personally showed up EARLY with his crew to ensure the move went well. All our gear was shrink wrapped and covered. The move took 6 hours and the crew was professional, friendly, prompt clean and courteous. Four of those hours were hoisting our items up a very steep gangway (metal walkway leading from the Island to the floating homes below on the water). In early spring the Columbia’s waters are low, making it a steep ascent. I was impressed. I HIGHLY recommend Fisher Moving (503) 819-3247.

July 27, 2014

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anatomy of a floating home

Anatomy of Our Floating Office

In April of 2014, we moved our lives and business to a floating home on the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon (pronounced OR-Eh-gone). Entrusting Craigslist to offer up some useful rental leads, I answered an ad titled, “Floating Apartment,” listing the rent at significantly lower than most in Portland. There were no pictures and Christy was headed to a conference in Portland. I thought, “Why not?” I called and scheduled and appointment with my landlord to be, who was instantly suspicious that I was a weirdo to want to live on a floating home. He lives in a floating home next door. Classic projection on his part. I assured him that I am only as weird as he is and arranged to see the place. I loved it. After years of living in Salt Lake City, a beautiful hikers paradise in the desert, we knew it was time to grow the business and our lives. Portland is a natural choice. A youthful, tech savvy town with a highly inbound migratory population and emphasis on local business. Our kind of people. Learning about living & working on the river is fascinating and bizarre. It is as much a study in personalities as it is wildlife, infrastructure and currents.

February 27, 2014

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Zombie Apocalypse hits Meetup.com

Meetup.com Latest Casualty to DDoS attack


On February 27, 2014 Meetup.com the online social networking platform facilitating offline groups around the world, suffered an epic hack. The problem was discovered as a result from a Tweet at 7:50 am. Four hours later, the crew of Meetup announced the platform was down due to a DDoS attack.