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posted by Cathy Monetti Dec 23,2011 @ 01:55AM

A Little Christmas Story

I was digging through the attic earlier this week looking for a box in which to wrap a Christmas gift. I came upon this one and had my annual thought regarding it:

I can't use that box. I love that logo too much to just let that box go.

And then I had a little talk with myself about how ridiculous I was being. How completely over-the-top consumeristic to hold on to a BOX.

But it does speak to the power of a really great identity, doesn't it?

posted by Teresa Coles Dec 19,2011 @ 07:35AM

TEDx: Exponential Impact for Nonprofits

Earlier this fall, I was both surprised and delighted when I discovered my dear friend Julie Turner had nominated me as a potential speaker for TEDx Columbia. Founded as a four-day video conference in California 25 years ago, TED is now an international program committed to Ideas Worth Spreading. Presenters are asked to talk about their passions, inventions, beliefs, observations — the ideas they have that can spark change in the world. Talks are captured on video and viewed worldwide.

TEDx events allow people to use the “talk” model as a tool for effecting change in their own communities. On January 16 (MLK Day), I’ll have the honor of joining seven other speakers in the first-ever TEDx Columbia event. I’ll be talking about CreateAthon, and the incredible things that can happen when you let a big idea go in the world. Others will share stories on topics ranging from First Amendment Rights and brain damage research to urban farming and a program that uses rescue dogs to teach compassion and character development.

To say I was a bit overwhelmed at the thought of joining the distinguished ranks TED presenters is an understatement indeed. So being me, I began the task of preparing my presentation by researching other TED presentations. I was amazed to find the types of topics that were tagged at the arts, humanities, animal rights, environmentalism, social justice, health, education, energy, philanthropy. A treasure trove of good.

Meanwhile, back at TEDx Columbia, I thought about the amazing story of Anna Bigham, one of my fellow presenters. She founded a nonprofit organization called Hidden Wounds that provides interim and emergency counseling services to combat veterans and their families. Her work honors her beloved younger brother, who took his life while struggling with PTSD. To realize I will be sharing a stage with someone like her — with such a noble and noteworthy cause — has humbled me even more. And what a gift the TED organization gives by lending a stage to nonprofits and their causes, as well as commercial endeavors that can make a difference in the world.

If you have a cause you’re passionate about, or just looking for a little inspiration, I encourage you to spend some time with TED. If you have a TEDx event in your area, consider how you might introduce your cause to the audience of inspired doers and thinkers in the TED universe. If you don’t have TEDx nearby, organize a team and make it happen now.

posted by Apprentices Dec 16,2011 @ 02:00AM

On jobs and money.

Would you rather be poor and work at a job you love or be rich and work at a job you hate?

Pete Anderson
Poor/job I love.

Julie Turner
You can't fully enjoy bathing in one hundred dollar bills if you loathe what you do for most of the day. I'd choose poor with a job I love.

Kevin Smith
Of course I'd choose to be poor and work at a job I love. I specialize in being rich without actually having any money.

Kevin Archie
If you can find a job you love, I think you're lucky to be there regardless of pay.

posted by Cathy Monetti Dec 15,2011 @ 10:41AM

Goodwill for Goodwill. And There's a Prize!

We couldn't be happier about this one if we tried. Working with Goodwill Industries of the Upstate/Midlands SC is a dream assignment—powerful mission, great people, interesting projects.

A wonderful bonus of the work we've done for Goodwill is the friendships we've developed along the way. Good Life blogger Kendra Ardis, for instance.

We first met Kendra when she responded to our Craig's List ad looking for The Perfect Person to help us develop and launch our first lifestyle blog, The Good Life. The blog centers around the definition of thrift we love the most, from Wikipedia:

the recycling of formerly-owned items, finding new use and new love for vintage material goods which had been thrown out, and the thrill of imagining what the former life of the item was like

A thrifter from way back, Kendra is the Perfect Person to write The Good Life.

As a bonus, Kendra and The Good Life brought to us another artist who takes thrift to a new level, Barb Blair of Knack Studios. In a guest post on The Good Life, Barb transforms these old chair spindles into the most incredible Christmas Tree ornaments around. What's more, she's allowing The Good Life to give them away a set of 12 in a contest on the blog's Facebook page as a way to bring more people who love the art of thrift to the blog.

(To enter to win these ornaments, just click on this link. Deadline is midnight tonight.

Maybe it's just the traditional feeling of goodwill (pardon me) the holiday season brings, but we're feeling grateful for so many things that came to Riggs Partners wrapped in the Year 2011—not the least of which is a wonderful new client and all the relationships therewith. We are truly grateful.

posted by Apprentices Dec 13,2011 @ 05:33AM

Publicité & Graphisme

"A poster, unlike a painting, is not and is not meant to be, a work easily distinguished by its manner—a unique specimen conceived to satisfy the demanding tastes of a single more or less enlightened art lover. It is meant to be a mass-produced object existing in thousands of copies like a fountain pen or automobile. Like them, it is designed to answer certain strictly material needs. It must have a commercial function."

-AM. Cassandre, translated by Michael Taylor

In a few days I will be traveling to Paris for a vacation and I wanted to familiarize myself with the history of French design, but I found no books or blogs on its history. This is, perhaps, due to France's overwhelming amount of cultural history in painting, cinema, food, and fashion. Though French design seems to play a smaller role in France's cultural history when compared to so many other facets of artistic expression, it's advertising (publicité) and typographic (graphisme) legacies are by no means insignificant to a broad popular culture. (1) Below you will find an assortment of beautiful French posters that represent a rich cultural history of French graphic design.



posted by Apprentices Dec 09,2011 @ 04:28AM

On billionaires.

Congratulations, you just won the hypothetical lottery and you're now a billionaire. What will you do with the money first?

Jody Piland

First I would buy this,

and then I would pay off my student loans.

Pete Anderson
Purchase a Major League Baseball franchise. And maybe the Jacksonville Jaguars, depending on how much of a billionaire I've become.

Julie Turner
Become an anonymous benefactor of as many schools, nonprofits and community groups as I can feasibly support.

Kevin Smith
I thank the lottery and get the money safely in the bank. I'd then invite my co-workers to my house for an offsite planning session (with drinks). Our session would be titled: "Finally rich, a strategy and implementation plan for Kevin." It would be based on a $1 billion budget. Riggs Partners' strategic planning fees would be 20 percent of my overall budget.

Ryon Edwards
$250 million spread equally between non-profits in our state (earmarked for marketing budgets, of course)
$150 million to invest, start a few foundations, etc. (through CCCF)
$75 million for a startup business
$25 million to share with my facebook friends
$50K cash just to carry around in my wallet.
$50K for a new car
Remainder would probably be taxed, and I'd probably be OK with that.

Kevin Archie
I would start an online film processing business similar to Netflix that would allow people to send in film and get awesome prints back for cheap. Either that or I would buy out Kodak or Polaroid and make them good again.

posted by Kevin Smith Dec 07,2011 @ 02:30AM

The New Art of Conversation

I’m in planning mode for several clients now, and McKinsey’s much discussed “customer decision journey” is dominating my thoughts. This theory holds that consumers hold a portfolio of brands, evaluate other brands constantly based on peer influencers and decide periodically which brands to add, discard or replace.

The customer decision journey replaces the old purchase funnel, rightfully acknowledging that spouses, children and friends influence our decisions more than advertising, public relations or social media.

It is worth acknowledging that consumers have denied the influence of advertising on their decisions since the beginning of market research. Nevertheless, Gallop’s poll paints a clear picture.

Peer influence and referral have never been more influential than before.

This dynamic is made all the more powerful by technology’s ability to offer everyone a voice, a megaphone and an audience. So what’s a marketer to do?

Start a conversation. Be bold and give consumers something to discuss.

Amidst all the noise about cyber Monday, Patagonia did just that.

There has been disagreement in marketing circles about Patagonia’s strategy. Some have questioned whether or not the approach was sanctimonious.

I love that the company has taken a stand against excess consumerism. Even better is the fact the company started a conversation about Patagonia. No doubt people are consuming less. So why not increase loyalty from current customers and attract new ones with likeminded values?

posted by Apprentices Dec 05,2011 @ 06:00AM

On theme songs.

What's the theme song to your life?

Kevin Smith

Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over," which just finished playing on Radio Paradise - wow

Julie Turner
Also Sprach Zarathustra

Ryon Edwards
"no time" by the guess who

Kevin Archie
"Either Way" by Wilco

Cathy Monetti
Unworthy, by Cheryl Wheeler

Jody Courtney
A theme song isn't enough, I'd need a whole soundtrack.


posted by Julie Turner Dec 01,2011 @ 12:14PM

We’re still sticking together.

The concept of community was very different in the 1950’s. It was a physical place where a group of people lived. It probably had sidewalks and a few white picket fences. But the most important feature was the cluster of people who interacted with each other to form this place.

Many of today’s most successful communities are nowhere to be found, per say. Their address starts with www but their sense of community is as strong and solid as a 1950’s ranch home.

It’s been an interesting evolution to experience. The shift from push to pull is a welcome change for most. Our world is more open. There are more people, more ideas and more opportunities than ever before. Especially when it comes to communities and audiences.

Love bacon? Handmade gifts? Restoring BMW’s? Knitting? Knitting clothes? Knitting clothes for dogs?

It’s interesting we now have so many more spaces to join with other likeminded people. We have professional and social sets we can select and sort at will. And always on our own terms.

The community concept hasn’t gone anywhere. Even better, it will continue to grow and evolve.

In short, the world is becoming more niche, and responsive brands have to embrace this. Differentiating, often to the exclusion of some, is paramount to relevance in today’s highly defined online communities.








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