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Rocketeer and Sabre Hackathon Judge Chris Roche shares thoughts on how to #ReinventTravel

If there is an industry that would stand to gain the most from revolution, for both the consumer’s and the employee’s wellbeing, it is the travel industry.  This is also the reason I’m incredibly excited that Sabre’s Dev Studio is opening up their APIs and services to the public, as well as hosting the upcoming ’24 hours to reinvent travel’ hackathon to energize the industry.  Bringing the design and development community together and arming them with modernized endpoints provides a real opportunity to drive the incredibly complex ecosystem in travel forward.

I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of that type of innovation as a member of the team at Bottle Rocket. Bottle Rocket has designed, built and launched over 150 premium brand experiences since the company was founded just over 6 years ago.  With clients like Coca-Cola, NBCUniversal, LEGO and many more, memorable, cutting edge brand experiences are always at the top of the priority list.  While designing a remarkable user experience is challenging, the biggest hurdle to digital innovation that we’ve seen is the absence of the modern web services needed to power the type of experience most users have come to expect. 

Bottle Rocket has been fortunate to partner with Starwood Hotels and Resorts - one of the most forward-leaning brands in travel today. For the past few years and we’ve worked together to navigate many of the challenges posed by a diverse and fragmented ecosystem. The Starwood Preferred Guest iOS and Android experiences support all of their nine hotel brands, which exponentially increases the complexity of integration.  It was only through collaboration and sheer talent of Starwood and Bottle Rocket’s teams that such a compelling experience could be built, and that sort of experience just wouldn’t have been possible for a smaller team.

The launch of Sabre’s Dev Studio changes that reality by opening access to Sabre’s industry-leading services.  If you have exciting ideas to revolutionize the travel industry, want to get a closer look at how the Dev Studio will modernize the industry or just want to come see the amazing ideas, register for the hackathon taking place on August 1st and 2nd near Dallas, TX.  The 1st place, $15,000 (which includes credit to Sabre’s APIs) may be just what you need to launch that next amazing experience in travel.

Chris Roche
Business Development 


Calvin Carter set to judge the 2014 MediaPost OMMA Awards

Bottle Rocket Founder and President Calvin Carter is set to judge the 2014 MediaPost OMMA Awards.  Created in 2006, the OMMA awards celebrate innovative online advertising, creative campaigns and web sites in 66 categories within these three disciplines:  

-      Online Advertising Creativity

-      Integrated Online Campaign

-      Web Site Excellence

Carter will join a jury of executives from L’Oreal, Colgate Palmolive, Live Nation and many leaders from the most well respected agencies.

Bottle Rocket is honored to take part in awarding the agencies and advertisers that push the limits of online creativity. 

Visit the OMMA site for more information. 



Rocketeer Charity: Twelve Hills Nature Center

For our latest charity drawing, Rocketeers are supporting Twelve Hills Nature Center - a conservancy built to "promote positive interaction between diverse community groups."

Rocketeer J.B. Chaykowsky entered Twelve Hills into our charity drawing. 

“The 12 Hills Nature Center board and volunteers are committed to creating an amazing, natural outdoor space to teach environmental stewardship. It is important we continue to give so that everyone in the community has the opportunity to learn about the ecological environment and what we can do to improve it," Chaykowsky said. 

We're looking forward to seeing what impact Twelve Hills Nature Center will continue to have in the Dallas community! 


Turning User Experience into a Brand Experience

With each WWDC and Google IO, more and better UI elements and patterns are made available to developers for easy integration into the apps they build. This is great, it ensures your app will get to market quicker, look professionally designed, is usable and works as it should. Used correctly, these things can help make a mediocre app a good, fundamentally sound app. But how do you make a good app great? How do you make a utilitarian task an experience that users will choose over other and want to engage. How do you make the leap from a simple app experience to a brand experience? 

To build an app, all you need as the starting point is a list of desired features, functionality and content. Building a brand experience requires a deep understanding of the brand, the brand equities, and brand goals. Brand goes well beyond a logo, a color palette and some fonts. Brand is a combination of the consumer’s perception of the company, their understanding of the companies products and services, their expectations and relationship with the company.

This deep understanding of a brand takes a little time. Time that does not involve pushing pixels in photoshop or writing lines of code. It starts with research and discovery. Nearly every brand as at least a couple brand equities. Simple brand traits may or may not be unique and might also be found in other brands or in the competition’s brand. A Brand equity is something that has been built over time and is a unique promise to the consumer that is always delivered. It’s something own-able. As an example, let’s look at Lego. Brand traits would include things like fun, colorful, and quality. Many toy companies share those traits. A brand equity of Lego is that it inspires personal creativity and expression. Very few toy companies can claim that. Building upon that brand equity is a surefire way to ensure your app will stand out from all the others.

In the Showtime Sync app, the transitions from screen to screen needed to exceed what would be normal expectations for an app. The standard became the highly crafted motion and timing found in Showtime programming. Another Showtime hallmark is the depth of its character development. In the motion of the transitions a subtle zoom into the actor is also included as a dive into the mind of the character.

Apps that are brand experiences are not confined to well known consumer facing companies you would expect (ex. Coca-Cola, BMW, Starbucks, etc.).

A great example we are very proud of an enterprise sales enablement tool for Baker Hughes. BitGenie helps the sales team and engineers select the best drill bit for any drilling situation. The utility of this app could have been accomplished with straight forward standard UI elements like list views and common UX filtering techniques. That would have worked fine, but we saw an opportunity to deliver both the utility and to extend the Baker Hughes brand. The app reflects the brand traits of innovation, leadership, and technology but also introduces an entertainment aspect with an interface inspired my Iron Man’s Mach IV heads up display. The result is an app with a higher engagement level, engineers enjoy exploring and comparing the drill bits in a 3d game like environment.

Challenging ourselves to take this extra step into our clients brand ensures we are not just building apps. We are building brand experiences.


Recent News

Bottle Rocket App’s new 49,570 square-foot space, not only almost doubles the size of its current offices in Addison, it provides it with a more-conducive environment to a fast-paced tech company, founder Calvin Carter said.

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