App of the Week - SleepScore

Sometimes no matter how hard we try, our nightly sleep just doesn’t seem to relieve those annoying undereye circles or accumulated exhaustion. It might be because your sleep cycle is actually less than adequate.

But how do you check if your sleep cycle is doing what it should be if you’re, well, not awake to check? It’s not impossible or as expensive as you might think.

One way to forego the use of expensive sleep monitoring systems is to try SleepScore, a free app that promises to “understand, track and improve your sleep so that you can perform, look and feel better.”

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How Recognizable Is Your Brand?

How recognizable is your brand - especially online? The answer to that question may matter a lot more than you might think!

In fact, get this: According to a recent consumer survey, brought to our attention by Customer Think, a remarkable 41% respondents viewed brand consistency as the most important factor in brand loyalty. This study indicates that consistency actually matters more to consumers than “authenticity, relevance, or transparency.”

That’s remarkable - but it makes sense the more you think about it.

After all, who hasn’t been scrolling through Netflix for something new to watch, only to settle for a Parks & Recreation episode you’ve already seen three or eighty times?

Or how about this? Have you ever been in a new city, looking for something to eat? Your traveling companion is scrolling through listings on their phone, when finally, you stop them, saying something along the lines of; “Oh, that sounds familiar. I think they were on Bourdain. Let’s go there.”

The operative words there? “Sounds familiar.”

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Gadget of the Week - Plume

Ever feel pigeonholed by your WiFi carrier and wish there was a new way to stream your favorite shows or sift through emails?

Plume Adaptive WiFi, a subscription based service, promises to change the way you think about and use the internet at home.

Plume wants to adapt to your space and lifestyle” through self-optimized high-speed WiFi. So, what exactly do they mean?

For Plume, self-optimizing WiFi entails creating multiple access points spread around your home, instead of using a singular router. This allows for more widespread coverage, and is achieved through the placement of hexagonal silver “pods” that you can place in as many or as few rooms as you need.

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How to Beat the Summer Slump With Content Marketing

Do you ever feel like your personal productivity goes down during the summer? What about your company’s overall productivity?

If you answered yes to either of the above (and we’ll bet a cool Mai Tai that you did), then you’re definitely not alone. In fact, tons of research indicates that the productivity of American businesses goes way down during the summer months.

In fact, one 2012 study indicated that:

  • Workplace productivity drops 20% during the summer months
  • Workplace attendance decreases by 19%
  • Projects take 13% longer to complete
  • Workers are 45% more distracted

Think about it! How much time do you spend over the summer months traveling? Or what about day-dreaming about traveling? Or how about spending time trying to play catch-up with your clients who are off on vacation, even as you keep working?

And vacations are just the tip of the iceberg! Science says it’s harder to work in the heat and the humidity - and, conversely, in an office that’s too cold from AC!

Basically? Trying to get things done in the summer is a lose-lose proposition - except when it comes to digital marketing.

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What Are Domain Authority and Page Authority?

Search engine optimization, or, more commonly, SEO, is the art and science that of getting your brand’s website and individual pages to rank highly on search engine results pages, or SERPs.

It’s that simple… and that complex.

SEO is a hugely powerful tool for businesses of all shapes and sizes, from all sorts of industries. In a lot of ways, ensuring that your business is elevated on search engines is one of the most important things you can do to get customers to your site. In addition to increasing your traffic rates, SEO strategies have been shown to generate more leads, at a far lower cost, than other digital marketing methods (such as PPC or display ads).

It’s that easy… and that difficult.

You see, everyone wants great SEO results in the blink of an eye. But what a lot of business owners don’t always realize is that SEO is a complex and multifaceted process, with a lot of moving parts. More to the point, it’s a marketing strategy that builds and compounds over time, so it can take a little bit of patience to really see explosive growth for your brand. 

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App of the Week - Sidekix

There are times when we’’re in a hurry and need to get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time possible, and other times when we want to take a step back and notice the overlooked sights of a city.

For those times, a pedestrian-focused navigation app called Sidekix can bring out the inner urban explorer in all of us.

Sidekix describes itself “as a smart walking and urban discovery app for people who love to explore on foot.”

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How to Use Social Media and Content Marketing to Build Your Brand Authenticity

In an age of fake news and clickbait content, authenticity for your brand on social media is is more important than ever. It may sound like a no-brainer, but there are missteps you can take that can turn consumers off, and stop your next customers from choosing to engage with you online.

But what does brand authenticity even mean when it comes to business?

Defined by the Journal of Consumer Psychology, brand authenticity refers to:

“the extent to which consumers perceive a brand to be faithful toward itself, true to its consumers, motivated by caring and responsibility, and able to support consumers in being true to themselves.”

The meaning is right there in the name: if your content marketing and social media efforts remain authentic, people will recognize you. The more they recognize you, the more likely they’ll be to engage with you. The more they engage, the more likely they’ll be to recommend you to friends and followers. We could keep going!

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Gadget of the Week - Oregon Trail Handheld Game

For all the ‘70s and ‘80s fanatics out there, there’s a new nostalgia-packed game just for you. The Oregon Trail Handheld Game is a blast from the past in more ways than one -  a single player adventure-style video game with a look reminiscent of an old Gameboy. Oh, yeah.

The original Oregon Trail was a computer game, designed to teach young school children about the realities of life on the western trail during the 19th century. Since it was first produced in 1974, the game has been reworked to keep up with the times, with new iterations dropping for the latest technology of the day.

In this most recent version, the first handheld model of the game, players choose their profession, then assemble a group of traveling companions for the voyage.

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7 Free Visual Tools to Pump Up Your Social Media Marketing

Words are great. We love words here at Geek Chicago. And we believe that text is always going to be an essential part of the digital ecosystem. But you can’t forget the images!

You may have heard of the following statistics before: 65% of us are visual learners and 90% of the information transmitted in our brains is visual. These numbers don’t lie... and they have a great deal to do with creating successful social media marketing campaigns!

Visual tools can help to bump up your reach for your ideal audience. And adding amazing images to your social media marketing campaign is easier than you might think! Even for those of us without design backgrounds, there are apps and tools that make creating visually focused content approachable and effective.

While there are many paid programs and tools out there, oftentimes the free tools can help your brand just as well. These can take the form of online and desktop sites, or in app form for your phone.

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App of the Week - Noom

Weight loss can seem like a daunting task. The whole “eat less, work out more” philosophy is easier said than done, but sometimes all you need is a little guidance and encouragement.

That’s where Noom comes in.

Coined the “Weight Watchers for millenials,” Noom is a weight loss app aimed to help you achieve an ongoing healthy lifestyle, beyond just your diet and short term weight goals.

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).