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posted by Apprentices Apr 29,2011 @ 05:34AM

Today Would Be the Best Day Ever If...

Pete Anderson
If the recording artist Pink ended her musical career.

Teresa Coles
If I were in Edisto without a phone or computer.

Kathryn White
If I had a sudden revelation about which city I should call home in six months.

Kevin Smith
If everyone was tuned into a continual awesome 80's synth pop soundtrack that would create: 1) Relentless optimism (made apparent when dancing becomes merely hopping up and down to the beat), and 2) Spontaneous economic recovery, led by the luxury goods sector.

Rebecca Jacobson
If I could walk in the woods, work in my garden, spend time with a close friend, get a massage and have a personal chef at my beck and call the entire day.

Cathy Monetti
If my most desperate prayer were answered.

Ryon Edwards
If I could find a great chair or the perfect hammock and finish the book I started the other day.

Maria Fabrizio
If someone brought me Cadbury Mini Eggs.

Julie Turner
If there was no war anywhere and everyone in the world had Internet access. To celebrate, we'd have lunch at Jimmy's Mart: two chili dogs and an ice-cold Coke in a bottle.

posted by Apprentices Apr 28,2011 @ 07:35AM

Where Imagination and Observation Meet: The Sketchbook

To me, a sketchbook is far better than an empty canvas or blank piece of paper.

The first spread of a sketchbook is an intersection for imagination and observation as documentation. The sketchbook is where illustrators and designers record their lives with few words and more drawings.

I’ve kept every sketchbook I’ve used since October of 2001, so when I moved in with my now husband and half my boxes were sketchbooks, I was worried he was having second thoughts. Inside all those black covers were melodramatic teenage musings, drawings of pets, drawings of friends, doodles, hand-lettering, pieces of ephemera and plenty of mistakes. Those mistakes are part of a landscape of process that sometimes leads to realization. While most of my sketchbooks have been kept private, some designers and illustrators choose to publish their pages in blogs or books in formats like the site Issuu.

Looking through a sketchbook from your past or the sketchbook of a fellow design or illustrator is inspiring, voyeuristic and delightful.

Participatory sketching:

http://arthousecoop.com/projects/sketchbookproject and http://www.drsketchy.com

Great sketchbooks for you to explore:

-- Maria Fabrizio

posted by Apprentices Apr 27,2011 @ 05:44AM

Marketing Trends: La Vida Local

There are people who go to farmer’s markets. I am one of them. I go because local food really does taste better. I go because, to me, a Saturday morning trip to the farmer’s market is an event, while a normal grocery store trip is a chore. But most importantly, I go because I believe firmly in supporting my local neighbors. And I’m not the only one.

In fact, I’m just one among millions of New Economy Consumers whose values—particularly consumer values—have shifted significantly since the Recession. In the early days of the Recession, people reined in their wallets, and with their wallets, their reach. Consumers rediscovered the beauty and resources of their local world. With this rediscovery, came a commitment to sustainability, responsibility, and neighbors.

The power of the local movement hasn’t been lost on marketers. In fact, “local” is beginning to appear more frequently in product advertising these days. Is “local” the new “green?” It’s hard to tell yet, but we know two things: 1) the local movement is growing steadily and 2) like the green movement, it relies on authenticity to succeed. Of course, this is great news for small businesses, who are perfectly positioned to capitalize on this new economy trend.

But what does it mean if you’re not a small business? Perhaps there’s nothing “local” about your organization at all – and that distinction is core to your brand. Consider what it is about “local” that appeals to consumers. At its most basic, local really means “familiar,” “connection,” and “home.” When a company understands this, they’re no longer limited by zip code to tap into the power of local.

For example, American Express sponsored Small Business Saturday last year, a national initiative that encouraged shoppers to support local businesses in their towns on the day after Black Friday. Wal-Mart – a super corporation – is also embracing the local movement as part of its new sustainability efforts. Their commitment to sourcing some of their produce locally (within the state) means that Wal-Mart shoppers in South Carolina can purchase SC sweet potatoes and Wal-Mart shoppers in Alabama can purchase AL tomatoes.

Large or small, organizations who want to reach these valuable New Economy Consumers need to emphasize personal connection and the familiar in their marketing efforts.

--Kathryn White

 

posted by Ryon Edwards Apr 20,2011 @ 01:07PM

Logo Makeover 101

We recently completed an identity update for New Morning Foundation, an organization that seeks to improve young people’s access to reproductive health education, counseling, and clinical services throughout South Carolina. We were asked to give the existing logo a “facelift” and to redesign existing brand identity collateral.

Why do we “rebrand” anyway? That word and the word “branding” are thrown around quite a bit, but it’s important to remember that the logo is not the “brand.” The brand is all about the customer touchpoints and the experience one has when interacting with the organization — when you boil it all down, the brand is someone’s gut instinct about a company or organization. I remember Marty Neumier stating years ago in a workshop that “the brand” is what OTHERS say it is, not what the company says it is. That statement has stuck with me for years.

And the logo is a small, but very important part of the brand. It must strike the right balance of the rational and the emotional. It must convey the spirit of the organization in a split-second. The cross-sensory experience is the brand, but the logo has to uphold and to support that.

Changes or redesigns could mark an internal cultural shift, a change in business objectives, or change in ownership. Often times, as in the case of New Morning Foundation, it’s a matter of staying relevant and is born from the desire to have visual consistency across mediums. Lay a solid foundation with a strong, meaningful logo, and that will help branding efforts at any level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

posted by Julie Turner Apr 18,2011 @ 01:02PM

Think, Feel, Do More

The old mindset of marketing was to be where your customers are. There was limited opportunity (or interest, for that matter) in actual engagement. But what about being in the right place and at a time when consumers are more inclined to receive a message? I got a powerful lesson about the potential of capturing attention in the perfect moment the other night watching TV.

We don’t watch very much TV. It’s not a philosophical mission, just a by-product of having two young kids and jobs that require brainpower. So that means our usual fare is a mix of food show reruns or DVR’d late night shows we slept through. But earlier this week I watched something new in real time: Secret Millionaire.

This show documents self-made millionaires as they anonymously spend a week among the poor and at-risk of a U.S. community. In the end, the millionaire reveals him or herself as they reward community heroes and groups with contributions to their efforts.

As a nonprofit fan and eternal optimist, I tuned in. Plus, I had laundry that wasn’t going to fold itself. By the end of the show, I was crying alongside the millionairess of the week. Watching her generosity and the sheer gratitude of the people and organizations she helped was very touching.

What I saw next sent my marketing brain into overdrive.

There, at the end of the show in the last commercial block was an ad for a national nonprofit. Talk about smart. They were not just there when people were watching; they were there when viewers likely felt an extra surge of generosity.

Holy. Smokes.

Their message unfolded in a very powerful moment, when people were inspired and motivated. That’s great placement, squared.

posted by Apprentices Apr 15,2011 @ 05:13AM

Morning, in Ten Words.

DESCRIBE YOUR MORNING ROUTINE IN TEN WORDS:

Kevin Smith
TV, dog, water, teeth, bathe , dress, breakfast, dog, car, radio

Pete Anderson
Guitar, Honey Oh's, Top Plays, reluctant shower, non-irons, Morning Edition.

Julie Turner
Open eyes. Shower. Poke. Poke again. Feed. Pack. Chase. Kisses.

Cathy Monetti
Thankful I woke up next to a husband I adore.

Maria Fabrizio
1. exercise
2. shower
3. coffee
4. coffee
5. coffee
6. coffee
7. coffee
8. coffee
9. coffee
10.coffee

Kathryn White
Slow blinks. Snooze. Coffee, Bible. Toast. Face. Closet tornado. NPR.

posted by Kevin Smith Apr 11,2011 @ 01:42PM

Lonely Days are Virtually Over

A recent Pew Research Center study found that 1 in 3 Americans doesn’t know his neighbors.

As suburbs sprawled, front porches disappeared and screened porches morphed into Florida rooms. Sidewalk parking — heck, sidewalks in general — disappeared, as carports became three-car garages. It’s today’s reality: In our communication-starved society, there’s little hope of neighborly dialogue between the garage and the kitchen’s granite topped island.

Enter the great reboot of the American dream. For the first time since 1950 (when the average size home was a mere 983 square feet), houses are getting smaller. Many people now prefer to rent rather than own. Security has replaced more as the American ideal. So how has this impacted marketing?

Facebook is the current decade’s front porch.

Put simply, people are starved for human connection. On Facebook, people can see you sitting right there, just watching the world go by and waiting for a friendly visit. Human connection via IM, but connection nonetheless.

You can see it playing out on TV as well. Lay’s potato chips wants us to “know the farmers.”

A far cry conceptually from “No one can eat just one.”

California Milk and Cheese is adopting a similar strategy.

Again, the shift is pronounced. “Got milk,” the dairy association’s legendary campaign, focused on the consumer. Now the focus is on the integrity of the product.

What’s key is realizing that relevance is no longer enough. Now there must be value and values – even for a potato chip. Sustainability, community investment and charity aren’t ancillary messages anymore. And the perfect place to parade them is right in front of today’s virtual front porch.

posted by Apprentices Apr 08,2011 @ 07:30AM

If I Were a Piece of Furniture...

Ryon Edwards

I'd be a chair -- I love chairs! I'd be one that is versatile — one that is made with great materials and that stands the test of time, clean lines and comfortable. Like a 1941 Strap Chair from Knoll designed by Jens Risom. Although available in red and black, I think I would be the neutral-colored one. Here's a drawing I did of one of these chairs:

Kevin Smith
A chest of drawers.

Cathy Monetti
I would be this pretty chandelier that hangs in my dining room. I think it is just the right balance of rustic and refined, and it's at the center of the most joyful celebrations in my house: gatherings of family and friends; holiday ritual; food that took planning and effort; the "good" wine; lots of laughter. How wonderful it would be to literally be light in the darkness!

Julie Turner
If I were a piece of furniture, I'd be vintage Heywood Wakefield.

Kathryn White
A long kitchen farm table with a history, weathered from years of stories and dinners.

Pete Anderson
A bookcase.

Maria Fabrizio
Any of these miniature chairs out of their normal environment:

posted by Cathy Monetti Apr 07,2011 @ 11:41AM

Smart Brands Pay Attention to Detail

When a brand gets it right, it’s obvious. Last week, I left my desk just to show my apprentice, Kathryn, my latest package from Anthropologie. I knew she’d love the details that went into the lovely packaging as much I did. We exclaimed over the sparrow-patterned tissue paper, talked about the button & thread receipt envelope, and then browsed through their captivating blog. Fifteen minutes passed—we had been talking about a brand the entire time.

Great branding happens when organizations understand two things:

  1. The brand is their story.
  2. They better tell it on every page.

Kathryn and I love Anthropologie for varying reasons, I’m sure, but Anthropologie’s commitment to their brand “story” in every layer of the experience—down to the shipment packaging—got us talking. Successful companies understand that the brand essence should be well-represented in every part of the brand experience. In a recent Fast Co. Design article, Ken Cabrone highlights Moleskine as an example of exceptional branding. “Everything about Moleskine’s retail presence is built to reflect the four core characteristics [of the brand],” he notes. Moleskine doesn’t miss the details either—from controlling the set-up of merchandise display to including a small insert that tells the Moleskine legend in each notebook.

Recognize that the small details represent key opportunities to reinforce your brand message. Chick-fil-a perfected this by requiring their employees to reply “My pleasure” when a customer said thank you. Thank yous are exchanged at thousands of drive through windows every day. By giving emphasis to a seemingly insignificant interaction, Chick-fil-a distinguishes itself from other fast food companies while constantly reinforcing the customer service that is key to their brand. If a brand is working, every component should reflect the organization’s identity—from significant company decisions to everyday consumer interactions to, yes, even the packaging paper.

posted by Apprentices Apr 01,2011 @ 07:30AM

I Can Teach You...

I CAN TEACH YOU . . .

Cathy Monetti
How to do a provisional cast-on using two knitting needles and a crochet hook.

Teresa Coles
How to do rhino hair (preferred hop hop performance coiffure).

Pete Anderson
How to read the grain on a putt.

Julie Turner
How to sing Jingle Bells in Latin. Seriously. The line starts behind Kevin.

Maria Fabrizio
To draw a dog!

Kevin Smith
To paint interior trim. Once we master this, we can discuss a) the virtues of fresh paint and attention to detail, and b) what reward we deserve for having been so diligent and hard working.

Kathryn White
What to do if you meet a bear in Alaska. Start by saying, "Hey, bear!" in a nice, confident voice -- surviving is all about being friendly.

Ryon Edwards
How to barely play the guitar.

 

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