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posted by Apprentices May 30,2011 @ 04:00AM

Refrigerator Contents

Three things in your refrigerator right now:

Teresa Coles
Diet Coke, sustainer of all energy.
Milk for cereal (as opposed to cooking).
Greek yogurt featuring 15 grams of protein.

Yanti Pepper
Oscar Mayer Bacon
Jimmy Dean Sausage
Eggs

Kevin Smith
One jar of pickled okra
One bottle of Classic Coke
Three varieties of dijon mustard

Maria Fabrizio
goat cheese
sun-dried tomatoes
chocolate chip cookie dough

Cathy Monetti
“fresh” cilantro, three weeks old and wilted/brown/sort of moldy
skim milk (me) and 2% (the rest of my family)
A wedge of parmigiano-reggiano

Pete Anderson
Royal Gala apples
Boar's Head Ovengold turkey breast
Chocolate chips

Ryon Edwards
Hummus
Diet Ginger Ale
Italian Sausage (hot)

Kathryn White
Strawberries
One small jar of capers
Red Hook Mudslinger spring ale

Julie Turner
My son's amoxicillin prescription
100% homemade coleslaw
Two packages of bacon

posted by Apprentices May 26,2011 @ 07:51AM

Export from Portland Pitches Import from Detroit

The tagline for Chrysler’s new ad campaign is “Imported from Detroit,” so why does one of the car company’s current TV spots feature cityscapes of Portland, Oregon and music from a Houston-based hip-hop group?

Because combined with the face of last year’s overachieving Detroit Lions (AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, Ndamukong Suh), it creates a rags-to-riches narrative that is quintessentially American — a motif Chrysler is trying desperately to tap into. The American auto giant’s name was splattered across newspaper headlines two years ago as a result of an embarrassing bankruptcy, a humbling blow to what was once taken for granted as an American institution. Chrysler was left with a lot of work to do to repair its public image, and instead of seeking sympathy, they accepted the lessons learned from their financial downfall and made a commitment to overcome their failings.

The introduction of spokesperson Ndamukong Suh fits Chrysler’s brand message well. Suh’s rise to success came despite humble beginnings in an immigrant family in Portland. He earned an athletic scholarship to historic powerhouse Nebraska, where he became an All-American sensation and eventually a 1st round NFL draft pick. Suh’s ascension is hinted to throughout the commercial and the narrator makes it clear his success is due entirely to hard work.

The musical selection of the Geto Boys’ 2005 track, “G-Code” lends a defiant tone throughout the ad. The car company wants you to know it is not glossing over its troubled past, but prepared to overcome it by getting to work.

Chrysler has, like its new spokesman, overcome humbling circumstances. The car company has a ways to go to complete the tale, but nothing is more American than succeeding in spite of difficult odds. And no car company, Chrysler would like you to believe, is more American than Chrysler.

-- Pete Anderson

posted by Apprentices May 20,2011 @ 05:30AM

On Repeat

A song you could listen to on repeat (and maybe you have):

Julie Turner
Teenage Dream, The Warblers (Glee) covering Katy Perry

Cathy Monetti
At least for today.
One Part Love, Jeffrey Foucalt

Ryon Edwards
Stuck in A Loop, Devo

Maria Fabrizio
For at least 14 years this has been my absolute fav. duh.
MMMBop , Hanson

Kevin Smith
I'm all about the repeat, and this tops my play it again list.
Don't Dream It's Over, Crowded House

Kathryn White
I can't make these sorts of decisions! So here's what's been on repeat when the sun is shining and the windows are down.
Shutterbug, Big Boi / Foals mashup

Pete Anderson
Sloop John B, The Beach Boys

Rebecca Jacobson
Fearless Love, Melissa Etheridge

Yanti Pepper
Fix You, Coldplay

 

posted by Ryon Edwards May 17,2011 @ 01:24PM

"Amper-what?": the origin of a symbol

For a recent naming assignment we were working on, the "@" symbol and the "&" symbol came up in conversation. I've always loved the typographic character of the "and" symbol, known as the ampersand. The symbol is one of the oldest alphabetic abbreviations and dates back to Roman times. It evolved from the Latin word et, which means and. If you've ever noticed elaborate (italic) styles of ampersands, the Et letterforms are quite visible in the design. Ampersands were traditionally used for display (larger) work, as opposed to smaller, longer format texts, so the designs were more creative and elaborate. Over time, and with the creation of modern sans-serif styles, the symbol has become simplified and less ornate.

posted by Apprentices May 13,2011 @ 07:00AM

The Solo Getaway

You've won an all-expenses paid, week-long trip to the destination of your choice, but there's one condition: you have to travel alone. Keeping this in mind, where would you go?

Rebecca Jacobson
Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.

Ryon Edwards
Since I would be alone, I would go somewhere no one else in the family would ever agree to: Tristan da Cunha, the Loneliest Island on Earth (in the South Atlantic).

Maria Fabrizio
As expected as it sounds with my last name, it would be Italy. I'd eat all the great food with none of the guilt (because no one would be there to judge me), I'd soak up the landscape in my sketchbook and I'd ride by all the history on a vespa.

Julie Turner
I would visit all of the Frank Lloyd Wright houses and buildings in the US. Because my imaginary vacation also includes a private plane and architect guide.

Pete Anderson
Paris

Kathryn White
Prince Edward Island (near Nova Scotia), where I'd soak in the landscape and wish that Avonlea really existed. Oh, and I'd wear puffed sleeves in honor of Anne, of course.

Cathy Monetti
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, Bali

Where would you go? Tell us.

posted by Teresa Coles May 11,2011 @ 04:10PM

Generating profit in a nonprofit world.

Many people think nonprofits aren’t “allowed” to make a profit, but the reverse is true. Nonprofits can — and should —embrace innovative revenue generating strategies that are appropriate to their mission. It’s really a two-part equation:

1. The way profits are handled: Profits made in the nonprofit sector must be handled differently than those made in the for-profit sector. Profits must go back to the organization and be used to fulfill its tax-exempt purpose. Profits cannot be distributed to staff (other than in the form of their regular pay), board members, or any individuals affiliated with the organization. Nonprofits can have no owner shareholders who benefit from surplus revenues.

2. How profits are generated: Now more than ever, nonprofits must get in the business of acting and operating like entrepreneurs. That means (a) refusing to rely on the old grant model and (b) moving beyond the event fundraiser bubble.

What’s left? Applying a social enterprise strategy to your nonprofit’s business model. It takes a bit of bravery and a lot of marketing prowess, but it doesn’t take long to find some great examples of how nonprofits can build capacity for their mission by being creative business people.

Food banks/soup kitchens: designing and selling chic and affordable line of kitchenware in conjunction with a local design school.

Environmental causes: creating a line of recyclable, fashionable gift bags to replace disposable paper bags and tissue paper.

Children’s advocacy issues: developing a children’s clothing line that hires single, at-risk mothers within the state to do the sewing.

What could be more fun than starting this kind of business endeavor? With the right kind of board and staff leadership, any nonprofit can get out of the fundraising funk.

posted by Apprentices May 10,2011 @ 12:29PM

The Magic Happens in the Audience

Over a recent lunch with my coworkers, the subject of social media came up. Since we’re all young enough to be classified as digital natives, I was surprised to find they were somewhat disillusioned with social media. “Most of it feels like someone sat down, wrote a bunch of stuff, fired it off, and hoped someone would ‘Like’ it,” one coworker said.

I know what he means. In this world of likes and followers, it’s easy to focus your efforts on numbers. You can measure network growth and plot it neatly in a spreadsheet. Sure, gaining fans and followers is validating. “Look, they like us!” But before you grab your megaphone and starting broadcasting marketing copy (nicely packaged in 140 characters), consider this: what is the value of your social network? If you have 5,000 Facebook fans or 500 Twitter followers, but they remain largely unengaged (they only liked you for that free pizza deal anyway), your social success is over-valued.

Scrolling through my personal Twitter stream a few days ago, I stumbled across this little gem from the always-smart Seth Simonds:

He reminded me what makes social media magical. It’s not the fact that it’s free, or that it’s “easy” (hah), or that it’s a fantastic tool for reaching a lot of people in real-time. Social media is powerful because it’s interactive. It moves brands from monologue to conversation. New Economy Consumers—especially members of the Millennial generation—expect brands to be authentic. So stop churning out marketing copy. Brands are like people, complete with individual personalities, voice, and habits of expression. Give your audience a chance to get to know you by getting to know them.

You don’t develop real life relationships by rattling off a rote stream of information about yourself. You strengthen your connection over time, through a steady exchange of ideas. When you’re building relationships with people, you pay attention to them. You ask them questions. You talk to them about things they find interesting or meaningful. You listen. You make yourself available. This is the definition of a great social strategy.

Bowers & Wilkins, maker of quality home theater, hi-fi, and personal audio products, recently jumped into the deep blue waters of Twitter as @BWNorthAmerica. To build their network, they’re currently running a giveaway, requiring Twitter users to respond to a question and include “@BWNorthAmerica” in their tweet. This is a pretty standard strategy for launching a social network, but here’s what makes them different and delightful: They’re asking people “What are you listening to right now?”, and when they get a response, they follow up with another question, a personalized recommendation, or a thoughtful remark. They’re communicating authentic interest in the people who are talking to them. You can check out the conversation over here.

Back to those 5,000 pizza-lovin’ Facebook fans. What is their favorite kind of pizza? Maybe you should ask them. And then tell them yours.

posted by Apprentices May 06,2011 @ 07:30AM

Best Business Advice

The best piece of business or career advice you've received:

Cathy Monetti
Spend less than you make.

Kevin Smith
Be very specific about your goals.

Tom Barr
Make yourself indispensable.

Rebecca Jacobson
Ask for the work.

Bryce Bigger (The Bigger Design)
Don't back down on price. It's not a race to the bottom.

Kathryn White
Look for the lessons.

Julie Turner
It's a small world. Be nice.

Katy Miller
Tell the truth.

Kevin Archie
Be quick to listen and slow to speak.

posted by Cathy Monetti May 04,2011 @ 12:01PM

Full circle moments

In 1988, I was a 27-year-old entrepreneur with a great passion for advertising and a tiny bank account that didn't allow for payroll (including my own). The phone rang one day and on the other end of the line was the determined voice of high school student Julie Smith.

"My sister just graduated and she doesn't know what she wants to do and I already know I want to work in advertising and if you will let me come work for you now I will do anything you need even empty the trash and you won't even have to pay me."

It didn't take me long to say yes, and even today — 23 years later — I consider it one of the best business decisions I've ever made. It was also a valuable lesson:

Never underestimate the power of the gut instinct decision.

Is there any level on which it makes sense to hire your first — and might I add only — employee from the high school pool? Okay, maybe if your business is a landscaping service. But not in this kind of business, for which a level of talent demonstrated through a great portfolio or experience in other respected shops is virtually required. And yet I heard something in Julie's voice, a quality that told me This girl is something special. I was right, and for the next five years, Julie added sparkle, smarts and joy to our growing creative studio.

In 1992, she graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in advertising and I joyfully nudged her out into the world. I knew her talents would best be developed with experiences challenging and diverse, and she earned her stripes with stints at several respected agencies and in leading an in-house marketing program for a major nonprofit.

She also grew up, got married, and became a mother of two precious, precious boys.

Earlier this year, Julie founded her own creative studio, wordsmith. She has come home to roost in the fabulous WECO building, alongside Riggs Partners and among our band of crazy-talented strategic partners who also call the WECO home.

It is one of the great joys of my life to work alongside my protégé and friend, Julie Smith Turner. She is a reminder to me, every day, that the relationships we build as we move along this "work" pathway are the real payouts for a job well done.

 

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